It irritates me when people find out that I foster dogs for rescue and respond by saying something like "I could never foster. It would hurt too much to let them go!" Most of the time I smile and tell them it's not that bad and the joy of seeing them find their forever home makes up for it. What I would rather do is smack them and sarcastically say, "I am lucky to be an automaton and have no emotions. That’s what makes it easy." The reality is that it IS hard and it hurts like hell sometimes. I have had a number of fosters that I so badly wanted to adopt but knew I couldn't because we already have five dogs and that would leave less room for future fosters. All of our fosters are hard to let go of and all of them are missed when they are gone. The bond that is forged with a foster dog is often as strong as the bond created with our own dog.
Most foster dogs don't come in all healthy and happy. Many of them are sick, starved and/or terrified. Some are close to death and others so scared of humans that they urinate or defecate when approached by one. As a foster home it is our job to nurse them back to health and teach them that not all humans are bad. There are nights that neither dog nor foster parents get any sleep because the dog's illness is so bad it does not allow for rest and sleep. Medications need to be administered or bandages may need to be changed. Hours can be spent quietly and patienlty sitting with a dog trying to coax them into trusting you and the rest of the human race.
We learn who they are and discover their quirks. Their strengths begin to shine through and we try to cultivate those to make them more appealing to a possible forever home. Some have to be taught how to play. Others have to be taught that not everything is a toy. We watch as they bond with our own dogs who sometimes get a bit jealous at all of the attention the fosters get.
These special dogs can spend weeks or often months with us. The whole time they are with us we know that all of the hard work we are doing is getting us closer to the goal of a forever home, which means letting them go. We welcome them, nurse them, hold them, help them, and love them all the while knowing that we will hand them over one day and often never see them again.
Is this hard? Yes! Does it hurt? Yes! Is it rewarding? Yes! Will we do it again? YES!
Why? Because of the next foster dog that is in line needing a foster home. You see, the line is endless. Dogs are put to death everyday simply because there are not enough people out there willing to love them and take care of them. Millions of dogs and cats are being put to death simply for being born. So, as we hand over one foster another is being handed to us and the cycle begins again.
Tiny Giraffe Kisses To Everyone!