The reason I most often hear as to why someone won’t or can’t foster is “It would be too hard to let the dog go. I couldn’t do it.” While there is no shortage of tears any time one of my foster dogs goes to its forever home, I know that space has been created in my home to allow the rescue of another dog.
I am a relative new-comer to the foster scene. I previously fostered one dog years ago and hadn’t done it again until right before Christmas of 2018. Since then, I have fostered two dogs.
That Saturday morning, pulling into the parking lot at Lowe’s, there was a gathering of people waiting by the transport truck. Robin and her team arrived to debrief the group, go over the ground rules, and to inform us what to expect with these dogs.
You can only imagine their potential confusion and fear after having been in a shelter setting or having experienced homelessness, to a foster home in South Carolina, and subsequently packed into a truck and shipped north over the course of 16 hours. It is traumatic.
While some dogs get off the truck with pent-up energy, tail wagging, ready to go, others are in the opposite camp. They want to retreat to the safety of the truck and are incredibly timid and unsure of what is going on. All three dogs I have had so far have been in the latter category.
The first dog I had was a little 20 lb peanut named Maggie. She was so shy and so sweet. She did not want to leave her crate, but would sleep in bed with me at night. She started to get more playful on walks, jumping up to meet my hand and wagging her tail. Marmaduke was next. While he was also very nervous getting off the truck, it was only a matter of minutes before he was sitting on my lap, giving me kisses, and being very playful with my roommate’s dog. He was adopted 8 days later, and I was inconsolable for the next few hours. But his adoptive family has sent me photo updates of him sleeping by the fire and assuring me how much they love him.
I can tell you there is nothing like the feeling of gathering with fellow dog lovers in a random parking lot, the feeling of camaraderie between you and these strangers. The feeling you get when that truck door opens and that first dog exits the truck and you know that they are safe because of you or someone else who is willing to care for them until they are adopted.
Of course, there is also always the possibility of a “foster fail”, when you can’t help but fall in love and decide this dog is the one for you. And I will continue to foster until I fail.