Dog Foster – The Story of Helen & Her Family


ARC’s long-time patron Helen and her lovely family fostered rescue dogs Lucky and Cherry. The family’s love and patience helped the dogs to trust humans more, and to be friendlier and relaxed when around people.

About the family

Helen was a Primary School Teacher at an International School in Phnom Penh through 2019-2021. She traveled to Cambodia with her husband and young daughter, temporarily leaving their Australian home to live an exciting adventure in a wonderful new country.

Now, let’s hear from Helen herself :-)

What inspired you to foster rescue animals?

My family has always only ever adopted rescue dogs back in Melbourne. In fact, we have had 3 rescue dogs over our time in Australia. It just made sense to foster these two gorgeous and very cheeky girls, Cherry (2 years old) and Lucky (5 years old) from ARC back in January 2020.

Keeping them together was important because they seemed inseparable. They clearly had a strong connection with each other. As soon as my family laid eyes on these two girls, it was love at first sight. We just had to take them both in. Cherry was very loving and cuddly immediately. Lucky was quite anxious and weary. It took us all several visits to reassure Lucky that she was loved by us and that we would only show kindness and compassion by these humans that were desperately trying to reassure her.

With so many animals we saw on the streets of Phnom Penh, there was no doubt that we wanted to help. My memories of Cambodia are ones of kindness and compassion from so many people. Especially the Khmer people that I met over my time there.

Saying goodbye to Cambodia and our beloved Cherry and Lucky was difficult. Over 18 months, we created an amazing bond and relationship. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take them with us to our next deployment destination. But there was a happy ending: Lucky and Cherry got so comfortable around humans that they finally found their loving forever homes and were adopted locally.

What is your best memory about fostering?

There are so many wonderful and rewarding benefits to fostering rescue animals. The biggest one is the love they return to you. From the streets of Phnom Penh, these animals endure so much trauma and hopelessness during that time.

Fostering them, even for a short amount of time, brings incredible respite and calm in their lives. But above all, hope. Fostering Cherry and Lucky for the time we were in Cambodia, brought immense joy in all our lives.

What did your foster days look like?

A typical day of full-time foster caring entails heaps of love and compassion above all! If you have that, then you’re already there. A warm dog bed with fresh water and two meals a day. Cherry and Lucky slept indoors with us in their own warm dog beds. They were part of our family.

We lived in a Borey, so we walked them every day. At first, they were unsure about dog leads, but after realizing that dog walks were so much fun, they loved their walkies around the Borey! They couldn’t wait to take a walk. Toilet training was a challenge initially, but we got there. We ensured that during the day if we all needed to go out, they were secure in the courtyard with security gates to keep them safe. A sheltered space outside would be beneficial if possible.

What’s your advice for people considering fostering?

I would advise them to show a great deal of love and patience with the rescue animal. The animal has most likely endured a lot of trauma on the streets, so lots of love and compassion. I would also advise them to allow the animal to sleep indoors with the carer. Animals only want to be close to their owner/carer. Just like humans, so a close connection can be built.

Also, be patient. For example, Lucky was an extremely fearful and anxious young girl in the beginning. So, it took her time to settle and become comfortable with us. She eventually got there, and it’s so beautiful to see her transformation.

Humans yearn for love, kindness, and compassion. We yearn to be with other people-to interact-to be close. Fostering a rescue animal is the one true gift you can give so they too can be with someone that will love them.

What’s Next?

Join our ARC family of FANTASTIC FOSTERS today!

Thank you for being so PAWESOME!