- Over the past week since my latest foster dog came home, I’ve been bombarded by eager friends, coworkers, and complete strangers who want to know if I’m keeping her. When I tell them that no, she is just a foster and will not be staying, the tone inevitably turns from excitement to dismay. Based on their reactions, you would think I just told them that I stomped on a kitten, not that my end goal was to find a great home for my foster.
Up until last night, I hadn’t really let it get to me. And then…..I went to puppy playgroup with my foster. Enter holier-than-thou crazy dog lady (I could write a whole blog entry just on her…hell…I just might) who literally said to me “Oh, I could never foster dogs like you. I have too big of a heart to give them up.”
So apparently I’m heartless because my end goal is to send my fosters to a forever home that isn’t my own.
It seems that a lot of people don’t seem to understand the point of fostering. As a foster, I am the gateway between the shelter and finding a forever home for dogs who need a little extra time and attention. Do I care deeply about the dogs I care for? Yep. Does it hurt when they leave? You betcha. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Sending a successful foster to a new home is one of the most rewarding things in the world.
Now, I do realize that most people who have given me a hard time about not keeping fosters are well-meaning. They see how far the dog has come under my care and how bonded we are, and think that staying together is best. I also think that a lot of these people would foster fail themselves and can’t fathom how others don’t. But please don’t try to guilt/shame/beg me to keep my foster.
Just because I follow my head doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart. I am in no place to take on a second dog right now and frankly, I’m perfectly happy just having Mr. T in my life. I know people find that hard to believe, but one dog is plenty for me. If I followed my heart and adopted every dog I fell in love with or bonded with at the shelter, I’d end up on the 10 o’clock news as that “crazy lady” with 200 dogs in her 1 bedroom apartment. No one wants that, right?
Look, I am not saying there is anything wrong with foster failing (heck, some of my best friends have foster failed and got some great dogs out of it). I just wish more people would understand that there isn’t anything wrong with NOT “failing”.
So with that, the next person who suggests I’m in any way a bad person for not keeping my deliberately temporary dog, just shut it. I foster succeeded and you’re welcome. Hopefully your next shelter dog will be fostered by someone who cares as much as I do.