To all of the people asking if we are keeping our foster dog…
I have written once before about being a foster home for rescue dogs. It is incredibly rewarding but so very emotionally draining. I fall in love with each and every dog we foster. I want to keep every dog we foster. I anthropomorphically ascribe feelings to the dogs every time, wondering if they think we are giving them away or that we don’t love them anymore when we finally find them their forever home. Apparently I am not the only one though.
My family can’t have a forever dog right now, we don’t have the time or energy to give a young rescue dog the attention it needs for the long haul. This is not a secret, in fact, the whole point of fostering is so that you can temporarily take in an animal; otherwise, it would just be an adoption! Yet on Facebook every time we get a foster dog, and every time said foster dog is in our home for more than a few hours, inevitably on every post we make about the foster dog, friends and family comment “so you’re keeping her right?”. The longer it takes to find the dog’s forever home, the more people starting asking that question. At first it was kind of funny, and nice — I get it, we would make the perfect home for a rescue dog, it makes sense to those on the outside that we would just keep this little dog and give it unconditional love for the next 15 years. But after a couple years of fostering dogs and months of fostering our recent dog, it has ceased being funny and has become incredibly frustrating (and yes, I am talking to you Jen Leary!).
I love each of these foster dogs like they are my own — which is weird because I never thought I’d love any dog as much as I loved our dog of almost 15 years, Scout. But, alas, I can’t help but fall in love with each and everyone of these special, goofy, needy little pitties, and it breaks my heart every single time we find them their new homes. I tell my wife every time that I am not doing this again, and yet every time I am so glad we did, because each dog needs us more than the last. We rescue these dogs from the god awful city shelter, rehab them however they need, and give them much needed love and attention, something most of these dogs have never had before. It is our job as a foster home to make sure they are the best dogs they can be, so that they can find their best forever home — whether that takes 4 days, 4 weeks, 4 months or longer!
So please, when you see me posting cute pictures of our foster dog snuggling with my family on social media don’t respond with “you’re keeping her right?” or tell me “but she is thinks you’re her people now!” because these are things I have already thought about each and every day. These are things that tear my heart out and make me cry my eyes out anytime a new application to adopt is submitted, and every time the dogs leave our home for good.
But it is not about my feelings, and it is most definitely not about your feelings. It is about finding the best home for these dogs, the most successful home for the entirety of that dog’s life. So instead, help us help the dogs — tag someone you think might make a good home for the dog, or share our posts with your family and friends. The more people who see their pictures and read their stories, the more likely they will find their furever home! And remember, it is never the easy decision for us to not adopt our foster dogs but it is always the right one.