Have you ever gone to a party and only hung out with the dog? To you, nothing is more entertaining than hanging out with your friend’s furry companion rather than your two-legged friend.
Caitie Evers was known in college as the girl who hung out with the dog at parties. Dogs were drawn to her and she had an unconditional love for each dog she met.
Evers was a senior in college at Texas A&M University studying to become a teacher when she received a call from a friend of a friend about a dog that she found in a dumpster close to campus. She had no medical background, was not studying to become a veterinarian, she was just “the person at the party that hangs out with dogs.”
“I got a call from somebody that was like, ‘hey I feel like you like dogs, and someone gave me your number … I found this puppy in a dumpster. What do I do with it?’”
Without any hesitation, Evers said she would take the puppy and so the Caitie’s Foster Fam story began.
“I took the dog to the vet and I was going to find it a home, but I had no idea that meant I was fostering a dog at the time,” said Evers. “I was 22 just trying to help out this puppy and ended up finding it a home.”
From that point on, Evers became that person people would call when they found a dog because they heard from someone who heard from someone that she would help. When she moved to Houston, Texas for grad school, the calls started to pour in due to the overpopulation of stray cats and dogs in the city and suburbs.
“I ended up taking a medical case on accident,” said Evers. “I got a call from a friend who was a firefighter and they had a dog that was tied up to the firestation.”
The firefighter went on to say that the dog looked sick and was acting really aggressive so no one wanted to touch him. Again, without any hesitation, Evers said, “I’ll take it!”
Evers may not have any medical or veterinary background, but she was determined to not let anything bad happen to that poor pitbull. The dog ended up having mange and that’s what sparked the medical part of her foster career, but reality quickly began to settle in; vet bills are expensive.
“I was like ok this is getting expensive, and I’m in grad school and I’m a teacher, so I can’t afford this. So then I started to look up rescues and realized that I was technically fostering, so the rescues would pay for the dog.”
Once Evers was situated with some local rescues, YouTube and vet technicians became her next resources in helping the medical cases she was taking on. When asked how she learned to deal with medical situations, she said it’s all “emergency learning.”
“I once took a dog off the streets that needed fluids or it wouldn’t make it, so I picked up fluids from a vet tech, and they taught me there on the spot. From then on I’ve been able to give fluids at home and do some other things.”
The city and suburbs of Houston have an estimated one million strays alone with several in life or death situations. Evers felt like she had to learn how to handle medical cases quickly because she could be the only option some of these animals have.
Evers considers herself a “yes ma’am” when it comes to fostering. Whether it’s due to self-doubt or time constraints, fosters often don’t take on medical cases, especially pregnant dogs, so this is when Evers steps in.
“There’s something so rewarding about taking these pregnant dogs from a medical situation, helping them through it, and telling them again and again that they’ll never have to do this again, once it’s all over with.”
It’s now been seven and a half years since Evers took in her first foster and she isn’t stopping any time soon. She’s continuously wanting to do more and have a bigger outreach whether it’s through adoption or teaching people about fostering.
“People think they can’t foster if they have an eight to five, but the option is the dog stays in the shelter or on the streets with even less care, and fostering is such a quick turnaround anyways, especially for puppies.”
When Evers created her social media page, she was able to build more relationships that led to donations and adoption applicants. Another reason why Evers started her social media page was to show that even with no experience, people can still take on medical cases. Everyone has to start somewhere, just like Evers, and she’s hoping to make it seem more approachable for people to foster medical and pregnant dogs too.
When Evers’ social media started to take off, so did her confidence in making a difference.
“The things that really encouraged me was people messaging me and saying, ‘I didn’t know this was happening, I just signed up to foster’ or ‘I’d always been scared to foster a pregnant dog, but I saw your post and now I’m fostering a pregnant dog.’”
There are still times where Evers has been pushed to step outside of her comfort zone, most recently with a newborn French Bulldog named Grogu. When Evers brought him in, he was only 10 ounces and had hydrocephalus. Most people told her that Grogu wasn’t going to make it with the condition he was in, but because of Evers determination and love, that sweet boy is now a happy go lucky 10 pound puppy.
Even as a busy full time teacher, it’s cases like this that keep Evers motivated and keep her focused on achieving her goal of building out her rescue and getting more fosters involved in the Houston area. Currently, she’s in the process of receiving her 501c3 so she can take on more cases like Grogu’s.
“This has helped me become confident in a lot of things. If you would have told me a couple years ago I could start my own corporation, I would have laughed.”
For people who are looking to follow in the footsteps of Evers, she recommends finding a support system of people inside the rescue community as well as outside. It’s important for people to not be afraid to offer help in any way they can, just like “the girl at the party who hangs out with dogs.”
“Fosters really are the backbone of all of this and the more fosters we can get, the more dogs we can save.”
To learn more about Evers animal rescue efforts in Houston, follow her on Instagram @CaitiesFosterFam.
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