In any good relationship, you have to make concessions, foster dad Alex states, “and fostering is one that I’ve made for my wife.”  Teresa is passionate about helping animals in need and while it’s something Alex deeply respects, he feels nervous for the introduction of a new dog into their household.  Teresa and the Foster Support Team do their best to choose fosters that will fit in well with their resident dogs.  However, no matter how well-behaved the foster dog might be, it still changes the energy/dynamic within the household.

After about six months of fostering, Teresa noticed Alex was becoming more comfortable with it, and so she slowly introduced the idea of fostering a stray dog in need.  While Alex reports that he had no idea what to expect, he warmed up to the idea after Teresa shared Darwin’s story and showed him pictures of Darwin on the streets.  Darwin had been on GPG’s feeding route in East St. Louis for at least a year, and volunteers started to notice that his health was declining.  Alex agreed that they would take Darwin in when GPG could capture him, and so the process began…

It took about a month to apprehend Darwin; he’s a sneaky fella!  Finally, on a Saturday in early November, Darwin was successfully trapped.  When Teresa went to pick him up from the shelter, he immediately greeted her with a handshake and big ole puppy dog eyes.  His head was comically large for his skinny, underfed body.  Sores on his skin caused his hair to fall out in chunks, and his eyes and ears were infected.  Worst of all, he was heartworm positive.  The streets hadn’t been so kind to him.

Teresa and Alex had planned to wait several days before introducing Darwin to their resident canines, Bernie and Stella, so he had time to decompress.  Surprisingly though, within an hour of coming home, he was already roaming freely and making friends!  Later that evening, Darwin climbed into Alex’s lap on the couch, as if to say THANK YOU.  “I thought he was sweet,” Alex says, “but told myself to not like him too much.  This is my defense mechanism to not fall in love with every foster dog.”

Over the next few weeks, Darwin started to gain weight and continued to shake paws and cuddle in Alex’s lap.  He knew exactly who to target to break down that emotional wall!  A few weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day, Alex told Teresa that he wanted to keep Darwin.  She did not believe him and laughed it off as a joke!  When she realized he was serious, Teresa was hesitant as she wanted to continue fostering.  “I thought about it for a while, and agreed – I couldn’t let Darwin go.  He has the sweetest personality of any dog I’ve ever met.  He walks up to you with the softest eyes I’ve ever seen, sits down in front of you, and gently tries to shake your hand.  Darwin is also a very big fan of cuddling; every morning, he climbs into bed and cuddles with me after Teresa gets up.  How could I not be in love?”  Alex gushes!  Still, he didn’t think Teresa was going to go through with adopting Darwin, in part because he still didn’t believe she thought he was serious.

On Christmas morning, Teresa handed Alex a package with boundless excitement.  He shook it, and found that it was small and light.  He honestly had no idea what it was.

“When I opened the package, what I saw brought me to tears: a green collar with tags that had Darwin’s name and our contact information.  This was literally the most thoughtful and best gift I had ever received.  My wife adopted a dog for me for Christmas!”  Alex continues, “Darwin has become an integral part of our family.  Whenever people come over, he is always a favorite – offering handshakes and pulling at their hearts with his sweet and soft demeanor.  He makes fast friends with our foster dogs and loves to play with them (in between cuddle breaks on the couch, of course).  I wouldn’t take back adopting Darwin for a second.  He completes our family!”