When a puppy named Maggie arrived in New York from Louisiana ready for adoption, she came with her medical records, photos and several charming letters of recommendation — written by a 6-year-old boy.
Roman Duncan, who recently turned 7, bonded with the pit bull mix while his family fostered her over the holidays and into the new year at their home in Louisiana. He knew they were helping the former stray by giving her a temporary home until she was old enough to be adopted.
In the meantime, he and his younger brother, Wyatt, enjoyed spending time with Maggie and cuddling with her.
When it was time for Maggie to be transported from Louisiana to North Shore Animal League America’s adoption center in Port Washington, New York, Roman wrote letters for her future adopters detailing all the reasons she’s “the best dog you could ask for,” such as being cute and potty trained — plus loving fetch, other dogs, kids and cuddles (spelled in a heart-tugging way: “cutelleyes”).
Then Roman slipped his notes and a few photos of Maggie into her paperwork for her trip to New York, a ride she shared with around 50 other adoptable pets, including puppies, kittens, dogs and cats in a professional animal transport truck.
Karla Agostinello, rescue team manager for North Shore Animal League America, was surprised when she opened Maggie’s file and found the notes and drawings.
“I was so touched,” she told TODAY. “It’s hard (for fosters) to put the animals on the truck. So I do get a lot of letters from adults — but children, not many. So this is why it touched my heart so much.”
Maggie has since been adopted into a loving forever home by people who were similarly touched by Roman’s letters. Agostinello is working to connect Roman with Maggie’s new family so he can know what a wonderful job he did in helping save her life by fostering.
“She’s doing great,” she said. “Her time with this family was very beneficial to her.”
Volunteers who foster animals are critically important to helping keep animals from being euthanized in shelters due to lack of space. They also prepare pets for life in a home.
Since 2019, 755 animals have been fostered and adopted through North Shore Animal League America, a nonprofit rescue organization founded in 1944, according to Jenna Martiello Jan, foster care manager for the organization.
She said there’s always a need for fosters, and hopes more people across the country will volunteer to foster pets in the busy months ahead.
“Foster families are so important because they’re the pet’s first stop — the first family. They’re instilling a foundation of love and care,” she told TODAY.
She said Roman’s parents did the “exact right thing” by telling their kids they were only housing Maggie temporarily.
“You definitely have to set the expectation before you even bring the animal home: ‘We’re not keeping this animal, but we can do it again and you can love another animal,’” she said. “I always tell foster families, ‘Goodbye is the goal.’ … They’re doing so much good.”
Fostering pets can help children learn responsibility and compassion, as clearly demonstrated by Roman’s touching letters, she noted. The nonprofit also runs a “Mutt-i-grees” program in classrooms to help cultivate caring for pets.
“The impact that animals have on children is honestly incredible,” she said.