Caroline Ooms and her foster/ adopted dogs
Caroline Ooms has been active in animal rescue since she was a little girl. What started out as local initiatives (helping out stray cats and wounded birds), turned into fostering and adopting shelter dogs both in Belgium and in Spain. Read more about her and her life amongst (numerous!) foster dogs below…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Caroline, and I’ve been an animal lover since I was born. There were always animals around at home… mostly dogs & cats, but later also horses, chickens, goats etc. I had my first dog I was responsible for when I was 10 years old. It was a black lab my parents adopted from Veeweyde, our first rescue dog. As a little girl I was already very much aware that animals weren’t always treated well, and I always wanted to protect them. Even back then…
How did you get started in animal rescue?
I started pretty young at a very local level by helping out cats & dogs in the neighborhood. There was always a homeless cat with kittens or a bird in distress… This continued for some years. Later I adopted an old Border Collie from a shelter in Ghent, and a Spanish Galgo from a shelter in Madrid. This is how it all started with the dogs…
Can you tell us a bit about the dogs you share your home with? What’s their story?
At this moment I only have 2 dogs at home (I had 4 while living in Spain) One is a foster dog called Ula, she’s a Shepherd mix that was saved by Galgos en Familia in Alhaurin el Grande. She was very traumatized and I took her in to give her a chance to overcome her fears and lead a normal and happy life. Since Ula’s been living with me for quite a while I think she will stay with me. Saying goodbye to this sweet dog would be too painful for me, I guess. Then there’s Viggo, my Weimaraner. He is the only dog I got as a puppy: he moved with me to Spain where he became the ‘mascot’ of my B&B, together with some other rescue doggies that crossed my path and stayed with me until we found a home for them. During my Spanish years I had around 10 dogs & cats that stayed at my home, waiting for a better life.
Why is fostering rescue dogs so important?
There’s nothing more grateful or rewarding than fostering! Especially when you see what a difference you can make for these little helpless souls. I’ve fostered around 10 dogs for shorter or longer periods (also a cat!) and they all learned how to behave inside the house, how to interact with kids or people in general (some where pretty traumatized and afraid of about anything). To see these animals change and blossom every day… There’s nothing more beautiful. The hardest part is saying goodbye when they leave to live with their adoptive families… Some of them keep in touch and send pictures, which is great!
Are there any organizations you regularly work with, (and why)?
Yes! I am very fond of SHIN (ace) and Galgos en Familia. I know both their founders (Fabienne and Vera ) and I respect what they do enormously! This being said, I know there are many more organizations that do good and wonderful work abroad and in Belgium!
How would you convince people to adopt and/ or foster a pet?
There are so many dogs and cats that had a rough start in life! They were treated badly, some almost died in killing stations… These animals have been through hell. You can really make a difference by adopting or fostering a dog from a shelter abroad or in Belgium. These animals are so happy and thankful for the second chance they get in life. You won’t regret it
Thank you, Caroline, for this inspiring interview!