Carabez fosters dogs through Young at Heart Pet Rescue

Madison O'Brien and Calli Haramaras, co-features editor, asst. features editor

This past week, Hector Carabez, special education teacher, opened his home to his thirty-third foster dog. As a member of the board of directors for Young at Heart Pet Rescue, an organization that rescues senior dogs and cats, Carabez both helps to make decisions for the organization and fosters animals.

According to Carabez, the dogs that Young at Heart rescues have to be over 7 years old and the cats have to be over 3 years old. Having three beagles of his own, he usually fosters beagles but has taken in many different breeds as well, Carabez said.

Around four years ago, Carabez was awarded “foster home of the year” by Young at Heart for fostering five dogs that “came in and went right back out,” he said.

Although the reason Carabez fosters is in order to find these senior dogs a permanent home, he explained how it is still hard to see them go.

“I will usually keep a dog for about two months […] and the ones that you have longer you get used to them and really [like them], and when they get adopted I do feel that sense of loss, but I know that, number one, they have a ‘forever home,’ and that two, I will be able to open my door to another dog for a place to stay,” Carabez said.

Carabez believes that Young at Heart Pet Rescue is unique because people looking to adopt one of the organization’s animals can talk to the animal’s foster parent and get a feel for their personality before actually adopting them.

Currently, Young at Heart Pet Rescue has around 32 foster homes and is in the process of building a permanent facility in Woodstock, Ill.

Looking further into the future, Carabez hopes to hold a pet food drive at South. Many of the dogs in Young at Heart foster homes come from people who leave their animals on the streets because they can no longer afford to take care of them, Carabez said. The food gathered from the drive would be donated to a pet food pantry and distributed to anyone struggling to feed his or her pet.

After adopting three senior dogs of his own, Carabez hopes South students will consider doing the same with their families.

“If you or your family is interested in adopting or wants to get a dog, or even a cat, think about adopting a senior dog,” Carabez said. “There is a great advantage to that. Puppies are as cute as can be, but […] they are unpredictable […] and definitely need more attention. A senior dog just wants someone who is going to show it love.”