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.

Bill being sat on by Odie
Bill being sat on by Odie

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.
More evidence of Bill not minding other fosters (that's Camille with him)!
More evidence of Bill not minding other fosters (that's Camille with him)!

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.

10 thoughts on “Will My Dog Hate Me for Fostering?”

    1. Thanks! I contemplated trying to take a picture of Frankie guilting me out (the topic of my last post) but was too lazy to fiddle with my camera so was extremely pleased to have a guest blogger with a great topic and great pictures.

    1. I don’t think Frankie would be keen on sharing his home with another dog either, the little ingrate –ie., he has no problem eschewing the system he benefited from.

  1. I fostered four newborn kittens, and signed on to care for them for 7 weeks–until they were old enough to find new homes. We called them “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D” so we wouldn’t get attached. We paid off local neighbor kids with cookies so they would come over and play with the kitties. We taught the kittiens to use a scratching post so the next owners wouldn’t worry about furniture.

    When 7 weeks rolled around, we kept all four because we were unable to choose. The last one died at 22 years of age.

    Be forewarned!

  2. “A” became William Makepeace Thackeray (called “Thack”)
    “B” became Charlotte Bronte
    “C” became Willa Cather
    “D” became Charles Dickens

    They were my inspiration.

    Be afraid, Frankie. Be very afraid.

    1. Oh my, what literary kitties! No wonder that contest was so appealing. Were Frankie a puss, he would surely be shaking in his boots… (sorry, it’s been a long day)!

  3. I think fostering is the foundation for adoption programs.

    I know with rescued retired racing greyhounds — they don’t know from houses, tile, or TV (but are quick learners) so a fostered greyhound will have a better chance of staying in a forever home once he’s adopted.

    When I adopted my first greyhound Painter, he had already been fostered which was great for a then newbie like me. Then I foster failed with my second greyhound Lily. I would like to foster again but in Lily’s old age, she has become not dog friendly.

    A few years ago, I fostered Jose, a mischievious black greyhound (Lily bit him on the head because he wasn’t reading her cues).

    Later I fostered Louise, a stunning brindle. Painter fell in love with Louise and wanted to trade her in for Lily but that didn’t fly. Lily didn’t like another female and she growled at Louise constantly. I had to muzzle Lily; after that I decided not to foster as it was too stressful.

    Gordon and Godiva greyhounds visited and once again Lily had to be muzzled.

    So for now, it’s just dos bitches — me and Lily.

  4. One reason there is a constant need for new dog (and, I presume, cat) foster homes is that virtually all of us “fail” i.e. fall in love with a particular pooch, or wind up with one who is unadoptable-to-anyone-else. And another. And……Either spouse or Home Owner’s Association finally rebels.
    I first adopted a mini schnauzer from Arizona Schnauzer Rescue after my first mini, Cleo, died at age 13. I said of course I would take an older dog, so 10-year-old Benji (don’t blame me, I didn’t name him!) landed in my heart almost immediately. Then there was a poor little guy, terribly neglected and 9 years old, whose family deposited him at the Southern Arizona Humane Society just before Christmas. They didn’t leave any info about him, because they were late to pick up their new puppy! (There are times I would license shelter personnel to carry and use Uzis). Could I take him for a few days? Months? He did find a new home, but with my honorary nephew.
    And so I became a dog rescuer. Several years and dozens of dogs later, when I burnt out on visits to Animal Control, I somehow wound up with five dogs in permanent residence. Anyone want to give a loving home to a female pointer with cauliflower ears? Somehow, this small-dog rescuer wound up with one and she really takes more than her share of the bed!
    Seriously, fostering is great for someone who loves dogs, but is leery of taking on a long-term commitment i.e. if you travel too much to realistically take care of a dog of your own. It can be an excellent try-out to see if you and a particular dog match (although a reputable rescue will include a trial period in an adoption) and some dogs (with all due respect to Karyn’s greyhounds) enjoy having a new buddy come and stay awhile. Then leave.

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