Before Frankie came to live with me, he spent a good deal of time in the care of my friend Rebecca, who rescued and fostered him. As I’ve described in the introduction to my new book, AM I BORING MY DOG, she won the affections of the shy guy — to the point that he didn’t want to leave her. But that’s another story, one with a happy ending — if you consider having a nine pound alien take over your life a happy ending.
Today’s story also is about fostering, and it was written by Kyla Duffy who writes the Bill Blog and is co-publisher of “Lost Souls: Found!” book series. I love the fact that the book series lets people know that rescuing dogs and wanting a particular breed are not mutually exclusive — and that sales of the books help fund rescue groups.
In answer to the blog post title question, which she provided, Kyla writes:
No, your dog will not hate you for fostering — so long as your pup likes other dogs sitting on his head and taking his toys. At least, that’s what always seems to happen to my Boston Terrier, Bill, who started out as a foster dog but quickly became my foster failure… He never found his new family because I decided he was already home.
I’m a foster mom with MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue. Edie graciously gave me the opportunity to guest post today, and since fostering is something many people have asked me about, I thought it might be a good topic to cover here.
Foster failure is a common phenomenon with fosters, as it’s inevitable that a dog will come by who just touches your heart. But out of the 15 dogs I have fostered, I’ve only “failed” on one (I’d say that’s a pretty good rate). People always ask me how I don’t get too attached, and the truth is that sometimes I do. However, there are a few things that make the dogs easy to give up.
- First, I get to choose their family. I’m usually sent several applications to choose from, and after interviewing the interested parties, I get to decide who is the best fit for my dog. Knowing that I selected the family helps give me confidence that my beloved foster is going to a good home.
- Second, I appreciate the time that Bill and I get to spend together. Bill was a puppy mill breeder. It’s a long story, but after being adopted, returned, and then lost in the woods for three weeks, Bill came into my care. His rehabilitation (psychological and physical) was a loooonnng road, and through it we became very close. These days, I can truly say he’s my best friend, and there’s no one I would rather go hiking with. Having fosters around is fun, but when they go to their new families, Bill and I get to return to our old routine, which we love.
- Third, let’s face it – fosters can be difficult. They take a lot of time, patience, and understanding. We’ve fostered dogs with the following issues: mange, eye wounds, gastrointestinal disease, aggression, barking, biting, puncture wounds, insomnia, marking, emaciation… the list goes on. We’ve also helped perfect ones who simply needed a new place to live. Either way, there is always an adjustment period as the dog gets used to our home, which can be trying. This might sound bad, but by focusing on their more “challenging” attributes, I can easily let them go. The important thing is that their new families don’t see things that way.
Have you thought about fostering? I highly recommend it if you don’t think you’ll be overwhelmed by obligations and your family (including your animals) is on board. Bill doesn’t mind dogs sitting on his head. In fact, he likes the company, and I think he sees the hassle as a small price to pay. As for my cats, one could care less, and the other enjoys the entertainment of swatting at everything that walks by. My husband is supportive because he knows how important fostering is to me.