Tag Archives: foster fail

The One That Got Away

8 Apr

One year ago I was 3 months pregnant.  My husband and I had also recently had a stretch of foster dogs who were all around 1.5 years old.  As far as I’m concerned a 1.5 year old, untrained dog, is just about the hardest foster dog.  You don’t know their history. You don’t know if they are misbehaving or if they simply don’t know better.  They have SO MUCH ENERGY.  Let me stress this again.  1.5 year old dogs have a LOT of energy!!  Especially pitbull-type dogs because they are an active breed. So, we took a mini-foster-break until we could get a foster puppy.  Puppies are not especially relaxing either, but they have their pro’s.  Mainly the fact that they are just so stinking cute.

Enter Rory. A tan, wrinkly-faced, wiggly-bottomed, puppy with oversized feet and a couple of adorably-white toes.

Rory.

The day we picked him up.

The day we picked him up.

Rory was beautiful, handsome, precious. I could go on and on.  Just look at him. He’s one adorable dog.  He also reminded me of my first-true-dog love, Hartley.

So cute.

So cute.

The first night we had Rory we had him in a crate in the room next to ours.  He cried ALL night long.  My husband and I took turns sleeping on the floor next to the crate.  My dog Chase occasionally got up, walked over to Rory’s kennel and nudged it.  I don’t know if he was offering sympathy or telling him to be quiet so he could sleep.  It was a long night.  We were clearly delirious from listening to the whining and from lack of sleep, because not once did it occur to us to move the crate in to our bedroom.  When our brain faculties returned to us the next day we tried this, and it worked like a charm.  Rory wanted to be near us.

Rory was a people dog.   He like Mylo and Chase, but his strongest desire was to be near his people.  When I let him out of his crate when I got home he would quickly potty, and then cling to my leg.  If I walked he walked as close to me as possible. He begged, with the cutest face and wagging tail, to be pet. He simply wanted to be adored.  He would eventually go play with the dogs, but he needed me first.

Rory was also a quick learner.  Because he wanted attention SO bad he was initially a jumper.  He learned that I wouldn’t pet him if he was jumping so as I walked around he scooted along on his butt trying to stay attached to my leg.  How cute?

Pet me please?!

Pet me please?!

Rory became very happy in our little family and I fell in love. Chase and Mylo liked him. Gene liked him. He was perfect.

Rory and Mylo

Rory and Mylo

Rory and Chase

Rory and Chase

The only thing that wasn’t perfect was that we had a baby on the way. Three dogs is always hard, and three dogs and a baby? I didn’t think we could do it.  We wouldn’t even all fit in a vehicle together.  How would I walk all three and push a stroller? Our house is so small, there wouldn’t be room for everyone.

I also struggled with the fact that Rory was SUCH a people dog.  Would he do better as the only dog in the house? He would certainly get more attention. Even before the baby, with three dogs, there was always a struggle for attention.

I knew that I couldn’t be a very good foster parent for Rory.  I wanted him too bad.  Even if, rationally, I knew that we couldn’t keep him, I wouldn’t ever think another family was good enough for him.

So, I made the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking decision to give him to another foster family.

I cried the entire 2.5 hour drive to drop him off with his new foster mom.  I remember my husband asking me “Do you really love the dog this much, or are these pregnancy hormone related tears?”   I wasn’t sure. I knew that Rory was perfect.  You don’t come across such a wonderful dog very often.  But I was pretty sure we were doing the right thing for everyone.

Last day with Rory

Last day with Rory

Rory’s new foster family also fell in love with him, and considered adopting him, but ended up letting him go to a wonderful couple who had no other dogs.

I’m happy he was adopted. And I hope he has an amazing life.  But I don’t think I’ll ever stop being sad that we couldn’t keep him.

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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.

 

 

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