My family gets nervous when I bring home a new foster puppy, and it’s with good reason. I kept Puppers (who I believe is really a kangaroo in a dog skin suit). I would have umpteen dogs if I could, and they know this, so they tend to get…nervous.
This last little puppy (the Lab mix) stole all our hearts. If we didn’t already have four dogs, we’d have kept her. She had a fantastic personality, a truly good nature, intelligence, and she just fit in seamlessly with all of us – adults, kids, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, etc. I knew deep down that she needed to go though. When my eight year old was pointing out that we already have four dogs, I knew it was apparent that I wanted to keep this one just a little too much.
My Dad asked me why I do it (foster). I do it because it’s what I CAN do. I can’t keep every dog I find that needs help. I can only be a forever home to a few, and those spots are already filled by Smidge, Cooper, DG, and Puppers. I CAN be a temporary loving home to the little pups who would be terrified to spend their 72 hour holding period in the pound. I CAN assure their new forever families that they won’t have parvo or kennel cough because they’ve lived inside at our house, and I CAN socialize them to other animals. I CAN stick my hand in the food bowl every single meal and make sure food aggression issues are worked out/nipped in the bud before they start. I CAN begin house training the puppy. I CAN bottle feed if I have to just to make sure a puppy gets the needed nutrients. I CAN, in short, give these puppies the very best shot at staying in their new homes by giving them a good, solid base filled with treats, tummy tickles, and best of all, love.
I will not lie. Had Ted shown the slightest weakness on that ride back to the pound to meet little Elsa’s new human family, I’d have turned that van right around and spent the past week posting about our newest furry addition. I fell in love with that little furball, and I fell fast and hard (that’s always the best way to fall in love, don’t you think?).
She did go to her new home though, and I know she’s very happy there and is rounding out their little family quite well.
In her new home
THAT is the hardest part of fostering for me, folks. It’s not the ones I lose (although my stats are excellent – I’ve only ever lost one kitten I was bottle feeding, and that was twenty years ago!). It’s the ones I fall in love with and have to give up.
If you’ve never heard the song “Do Something”, I encourage you to find it on YouTube. It speaks to the very core of me, and I’m sure it will speak to you, too.
After you listen to it, think about what you can do for whatever you’re passionate about, and then go do it…and know that there will be a hard part, but you will get through it, too, and the world will be a little bit better place if we each just do our part…the part that we CAN.