Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Falling in Love

People often tell me that they couldn’t foster because it would be too hard. But really, the fostering part is not hard at all. It is very rewarding and fulfilling. It’s the giving up part that is hard. Would I pass up the 6 months of joy that I’ve had with Lilly because I’m about to have 1 or 2 weeks of sadness? No way! And really, when you think about it, isn’t the best part of any relationship the “falling in love” part ? So yes, I will cry for three or four days and probably my other dogs will go off wondering where she went. But, in the big picture, Lilly will just be gone from my house and not gone from the world as she would have been had she not been saved. She will not be gone from my heart. And my heart and home will be opened again to meet the next dog I’m destined to fall in love with. Unless I give up this foster, my home can’t be open to save another dog. I really do fall this much in love every single time.

Mallory and a past foster

Sometimes I can fall in love with just a photo. It doesn't take much at all. Trust me, I always wonder if this is the one I’m supposed to keep. I always think “but this one is special”. I wonder if they will feel like I abandoned them. I wonder if they will love the new people as much as they love me. Sometimes I know for sure that they won’t fit into my home forever – Ferbie doesn’t like them or they have a habit that’s a deal breaker for me - but I find that I am always head over heels in love with them anyhow. I’ve discovered that when they leave, they do bond with the next people as much as me; they don’t seem to feel abandoned; their recovery time from the transition is a few weeks, but they do recover and they do love, and they do make the new place their home.

I typically keep in contact with all the adoptive families and I’ve been lucky to be able to meet up with many of my foster pups after they’ve been adopted. I see the joy that this dog I've loved brings life into their lives and I always know that I’ve done the right thing. Someone told me a long time ago, before I fostered my first dog, that if you can give up your first foster, you will learn that you do survive and that it is ok even though you cry just a little bit for a short amount of time. Truly, I would rather cry than know that an animal died because I was afraid to cry.

The most common excuse I hear is “But I’m afraid I would be too much in love with them and keep them.” Wow, is it really ok with you that there is an animal out there that you think you could fall that much in love with that has to die because you are afraid you will give them a forever loving home?

Many dogs are put down for no other reason than to clear space for incoming animals. Maybe they have medical issues the shelter doesn’t have the means to treat, or a behavioral issue that just needs a few weeks that they don’t have time or staffing for to correct, or there is simply too many of one particular breed in that shelter at the time. Maybe on the day that behavior evaluations were happening, and that particular dog or cat was scared or lonely or just cold. For most dogs and cats, they only get that one chance to prove they have a right to live. Rescue organizations give them a second chance – a voice where they have none. One of the biggest reasons that most rescues cannot rescue all the needy pets out there is a lack of foster parents.

So that is why fostering and falling in love is okay, and why people should consider opening their home and their heart.

1 comment:

  1. so true!!!! i love all of my foster babies and while it is so hard to give them up---knowing what wonderful homes they are going to and knowing i know have space to save another dog makes it all worth while! great blog Mel!!