Tag Archives: critter harbor

Why I Won’t Foster Fail

15 Oct

For those of you that don’t know, a foster failure is a foster family that ends up adopting their foster.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing.  That dog ends up with a great home.  But what about the next dog they may have fostered?

There are many reasons why I won’t let myself foster fail.

Its true, I have ended up letting go of fantastic dogs, and I’m sure I will be forced to let go of many more who I have fallen for in the future.  I hear all the time, “oh, Chelsea, you love that dog, why don’t you keep him/her? They love you and you love them”, but I can’t do it.  Take a second to think about what would happen if everyone foster failed. There would be no fosters left.

Me saying goodbye to foster “Gunner”

Reddie, my foster coon-hound was rescued from a hoarding situation at 2 years old.  The rescuers had nowhere to put all of the dogs so after the miserable life he’d ALREADY had he ended up in the pound.  He had a bum leg, and was therefore not considered a highly adoptable dog.  Many of the other dogs were put into shelters and rescues where they had a chance to get adopted but Reddie sat in the pound for 3 months where his bum leg continued to deteriorate.  He was supposed to be put down after 30 days and was living on borrowed time.  Finally Critter Harbor found a foster, me, and he was rescued, after months, from his living hell.

Foster “Reddie”


Hank was found on the streets and brought to a pound.  Minnesota Pitbull Rescue needed a foster family in order to pull him from the pound and managed to find one, me, the NIGHT BEFORE he was put down.

Hank and Reddie are both fantastic dogs with great demeanor.  They are dog friendly, people friendly, and kid friendly.  They both needed some training, some love and some rehabilitation, but they adjusted to their new lives fairly quickly and their new owners are, and will be, incredibly lucky to have them.

This happens to SO many great dogs.  They are pulled in the nick of time because a foster family is willing to take them in.  But what happens to the ones that aren’t pulled in time?  They are put to sleep, whether they are great dogs or not.

Now, I don’t believe that I saved these dogs lives.   It’s entirely possible that another foster family may have stepped up and taken them in, but what if they hadn’t?

Me and Foster “Tigger”


I feel that if you believe in something, and you care about something, you can’t sit around and hope that someone else will take care of it.  I can’t rely on other dog crazy people to save all the dogs because there’s always more that can be done, and in order to do it people need to actually DO it.  You can’t sit around and have faith that other people will fix things.

“ When you find your passion in life… follow it, believe in it, fight for it… and most importantly: DO IT. That’s why you’re here.”  -Ashley Owen Hill www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com

Every single person on earth has the ability to make a difference, but few people actually do.  I refuse to foster fail because I couldn’t forgive myself for not trying to make a difference.  Because I refuse to foster fail I inevitably end up getting rid of fantastic dogs, and it kills me to do so.  However, I have two wonderful dogs already and I truly believe that my incredible foster dogs will make other people as happy as I am with Chase and Mylo.  NOT foster failing helps the animal rescue world go round.  If I can continue to be a part of that I will be thankful every day, even the days that hurt.  I will soak up the love from my fosters while I have them.  I will be hurt when they go, but I will snuggle up with my dogs for the day and know that another family will get to enjoy what I do, and another dog can be rescued because of what I do.

Me saying goodbye to foster “Ginger”

Foster failing would be the easy way out for me.  I think everyone would admit to taking the easy way out in life a time or two, but I know that the pain I feel from giving up a dog I love, and the constant worry that I have about their future, is NOTHING compared to what I would feel if I couldn’t foster anymore.  Every time I saw a sweet face that needed saving I would know that I’m relying on someone else to rescue them.  I can live with a little hurt.  I can’t live with that.




Just Me.

12 Sep Senior Chase

So, here I am.  Just little ole me, with my big dreams, and no good ways to go about achieving them yet.


Because of some fluke in my DNA I seem to care more about dogs than people.

Me and my boys.


I can’t get myself to cry at funerals or at my own wedding, but I tear up every time I see, or read about, a dog being abused, a dog starving, when a dog loses a loved one, when someone loses their beloved dog, and when a dog does something amazing.


When I first started reading about animal rescue I inevitably ended up reading about insane cases of animal abuse.  You can’t have one without the other.  The more I read the more I cried.  And I couldn’t stop reading.  I was addicted to finding out about all of the things that need to be stopped. I was addicted to crying for these dogs that I’d never met.  Someone should be.  Someone needs to care. What kind of sick people tie their dog to a bowling ball and throw it in to the lake JUST deep enough that the dog’s nose can stick out? Or what kind of person bothers keeping a dog in their apartment that they’re going to starve to death?  It takes a LONG time for a 55 pound dog to starve to death.  I read about all of the fighting rings and fighting busts.  I read stories about dogs who were saved in the nick of time but would have years of traumatic experiences to get over, and I read stories about dogs who were never saved.  I read all the stories that most people don’t want to read because they are so sad.


Many of the stories that I read are about pitbull type dogs.  They are often in the hands of the wrong kinds of owners, and often mistreated for the pleasure of sick people.   To me, there is nothing sweeter than pitbull eyes, and the large flat pitbull foreheads are perfect for kissing.  It’s so heartwarming to hear about pitbulls that come out of miserable situations and turn in to great family dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs.


After reading all these amazing blogs and stories about people who are rescuing, starting organizations, fostering, volunteering, ect I got all these ideas in my head about how I could help.  My ideas are big ideas.. So I started one step at a time, the only way I know how. Fostering is my step one.


I LOVE fostering dogs. It’s a great place to start. So far I have fostered Tigger, Ginger, Gunner, Romeo, Reddie, Emmitt, Izzy and Bubb.  Someday I’ll write more about them but for now I’ll keep it basic.  They were all different kinds of dogs, with completely different stories, that all ended up in wonderful homes, some that even keep in touch with me.


Now I’m taking another step.  Now I am fostering for a Pitbull Rescue; Minnesota Pitbull Rescue out of the St. Paul area(mnpitbull.com).  I’m so proud to be a part of their organization because they have incredible volunteers, and are incredibly dedicated to educating their area about the pitbull type dogs.  I hope that by taking this step I will discover ways to bring pitbull education to the Duluth area, and someday my big dreams will be even bigger.


On another note: I’m so lucky to have a man as supportive as Gene by my side.  He lets me bring strange dogs home all the time, and more than just letting them come in to our home, he also cares for them.   He frequently stays up late discussing ideas and plans that I have, regardless of if I can make them happen right now or not.  He also loves pitbulls (or we wouldn’t be married..), and he holds me everytime I cry my eyes out over some dog I’ve never met, even if he thinks I’m silly.

Our family on our wedding day.


Stay tuned for a post about Mister Hank, our first pitbull foster; a lovable and bouncy, short-legged, big-headed brindle pittie who was found on the streets covered in urine and almost 20 pounds underweight.


Hank at the shelter.

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