Local woman devotes her life to fostering homeless pets


Lucy Dias with some of her pets

Animal foster, Lucy Dias, shares her experience fostering animals while working a full-time job as a real-estate paralegal and part-time pet sitter. 

Dias started fostering for Toby’s Dream Dog Rescue in December 2017, with various cat rescues on her own because of her love for animals since childhood. She told The Greyhound News “Seeing them in the kill shelters about to be euthanized and hearing about them being neglected breaks my heart. Why not save them and care for them until they find a loving home?”

Toby’s Dream Rescue is in West Haven, Connecticut and saves dogs from all over the nation from being euthanized in kill shelters or puppy mills. They’re a nonprofit organization that runs entirely on donations. 

When Dias first receives a foster, some of the steps she takes are crate training them and potty training them. 

“I like to get them used to the routine I have with my own dogs. We take them out every two hours and they get indoor and outdoor playtime with my dogs. They eat and sleep in their crates.”

Dias says the most prolonged period of time she has held a foster is about three months, three baby kittens. “They could not get adopted because they hadn’t been fixed yet. I believe they didn’t get adopted for a while after I had to let them go.” The majority of rescues fix their animals before they are able to be adopted so there will be fewer unwanted animals desperately in need of homes. 

When asked if she had a favorite, she said “I have a few but the second one I ever got is named Daphne. I would say she’s a favorite. Daphne was just an amazing dog. She was still a puppy so she got her training done with me. She got along with my dogs and any dog she ever came across. I just loved her so much. She ended up going to an amazing home.” 

Dias currently owns three of her own dogs who are all rescues. Her oldest, Mason, is a five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. His owner surrendered him when he was one. Her second, Molly, is a mini poodle mix from Texas, she was also an owner surrender. She is currently four years old and was rescued when she was one. Her youngest, Kobe, is an eight-month-old Labradoodle. “Kobe is a much bigger dog than I’m used to but he is very well-behaved for a puppy.” 

She previously owned two Cocker Spaniels, Buddy, and Thacy. Thacy sadly passed away in November of 2018 from a medical emergency. “She was very gentle, any puppy that came her way she was so kind to. Almost like a mother. I tried everything I could do to save her but we just had to put her down.” 

Buddy passed in October 2019, nearly a year later. “I like to think that he passed away of a broken heart, I had just recently got Mason, it’s almost like he trained him and then realized he had fulfilled his purpose.” 

“The hardest thing about fostering is that you have to set your mind that you cannot keep them as much as you might want to. Trust me, if I could keep them all I would. You have to set your mind that you’re just helping them get trained and learn to be loved before they find their forever home. Once they do go to their home, I do feel sad but at the same time, I feel really happy for them because they’re being given a better life than they would if we didn’t rescue them.”

People always want “The perfect pet” but the truth is that those don’t exist, just like people, there is no such thing as perfect. They make mistakes just as we do, it’s just a matter of finding the right pet that you get along with. They are all unique and have their own personalities. 

“I actually had two that I thought were gonna have trouble finding homes, I got them from a site, not through a fostering agency. They were both bite risks, they had bitten their owners. So, I had both over a little bit over a month. I trained them. I found them both perfect homes and they’re very happy where they are now,” Dias said.

 “I find that many people don’t really think while adopting a pet, especially dogs. Often times dogs get returned after a certain period of time for various reasons. The dog doesn’t fit their lifestyle, it’s not a small puppy anymore, the dog is too high energy, etc. It’s very important to think about the future when adopting because this animal isn’t meant to be with you for just a week, it’s the rest of its life. It’s very frustrating as a pet owner and a foster to see how much this happens.” 

 “I love seeing the different animals and experiencing their different personalities. I love to play with them. I’m so happy that she does this” Said her nephew referring to his Aunt’s fostering experience. 

Lucy Dias said “It’s just as important to give animals a second chance as it is for anybody else. These animals get rescued because they were previously living a not-so-good life. It’s really important to adopt rather than shop because although most dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills, a couple of years later they end up owner surrenders, which is what I’ve been seeing lately.”

“My wish and dream are to one day be able to own a sanctuary to rescue all the older dogs and cats that are not adoptable due to health issues, disability or even just being overlooked due to age.”

Toby’s Dream Dog Rescue Website: https://www.tdrdogs.com/

Phone: (203) 500-0600

Email: [email protected]