Garcias are ‘extreme’ pet foster parents
by Sarah Fay Campbell
When Patrick and Chris Garcia decided to take in a foster dog two years ago, the couple had no idea of the adventure that lay ahead of them.
Since then, the Garcias have fostered 103 dogs and puppies. The couple has eight dogs of their own. Some were rescues, some were abandoned in the area, a few swam across the creek and made themselves at home, and one is a “failed foster,” a foster dog the couple ended up adopting themselves.
Currently, the Garcias are fostering a litter of 11 puppies along with the mother, and three adult dogs. The Garcias recently sent a litter of puppies up north, where a rescue organization will find homes for the young animals.
“What the Garcias do with their foster animals is amazing,” said Jane Reed of Fayette Humane Society. “They take in puppies and dogs people will not typically take, and they turn those dogs around,” she said.
“They get the neediest dogs and find the best homes for them,” Reed said. “They’re an example to a lot of people. They are role model fosters.”
“They say they’re going to take a break — and then they don’t,” said Kenna Galloway, one of the dog foster program coordinators for the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society.
The Garcias’ current crop of puppies came from Cobb County. The animal’s owner passed away, leaving the dogs without proper care. Surviving family members were going to euthanize the animals, so instead a neighbor took them in temporarily and began calling local humane societies for assistance.
“After the last litter had gone, we planned to take a break,” said Chris. “But Pat and I went to see these babies and … I just couldn’t even talk.”
The puppies were undernourished, small and helpless. The visit was on a Sunday. The following Monday, Pat called Reed with a change of heart. “You bring those babies,” Pat said to Reed. The Garcias have a knack for raising puppies. “They get these dogs so socialized and healthy,” Reed said. “They make them highly adoptable.”
The Garcias fostered their first dog in March 2012. Pat Garcia came across a post on Facebook about a dog that was to be pulled from the Coweta County Animal Shelter and euthanized the next day.
At the time, the Garcias already had seven dogs.
Pat Garcia could not stand the thought of the dog being put down. He went to the shelter to retrieve the animal. While he was there, he found a business card for Good Shepherd Humane Society. He than called the number given on the card and explained to the woman answering what he had done. That woman put him in touch with Galloway.
“Then it exploded,” said Chris.
A month later, the Garcias were taking care of a pregnant female dog who eventually gave birth to 10 puppies. In July, the Garcias took on another dog and seven puppies.
Taking care of the animals is challenging for the Garcias, both retired from the government. Some litters have had to be bottle fed. And sometimes, the animals get sick.
“We’ve pulled all-nighters,” Chris said. “We do what we we’ve got to do.”
“We both love dogs. We want to give something back to the community. We have the time and the means to do it,” Pat added. “I mean, why not? They give you so much joy.
“I understand we are not the ‘norm’ but the ‘extreme,’ where we have sufficient space, time, resources and spirit to care for as many as we have,” said Pat. “Our goal is to encourage the Newnan community to help save just one life. That one life might enhance their own lives and will, undoubtedly, save one from an uncertain and often lifeless future.”