“Isn’t it so hard to let your foster dog go?” This is a question our adopters ask us all the time. As foster parents, the most joyous time of the journey of saving a dog is when we finalize an adoption. We really never “let the foster dog go”. Our foster dogs leave an indelible memory on our hearts and in our minds.
We always remember the first time we laid eyes on that dog. Sometimes they are shaking in the corner of the shelter kennel, or wagging at the front of the kennel begging us to take them out, or barking/growling in the kennel out of fear unsure of our intentions, or just from a shelter picture that speaks to you.
We remember carrying or walking them out of the shelter and putting them in the car for their freedom ride. Giving them their first hug, giving them a bath and waiting for them to discover the meaning of family. We never know how long each dog needs to learn to love, trust and discover the world is not as scary as they think. Some only need hours while others need months. We continue to take care of their health needs, watch their bodies get stronger, coat get shinier, eyes get brighter, strengthen their foundation of trust while we love them and yes, get attached to them. Thoughts of maybe keeping him /her usually will cross our minds because it is hard to believe anyone can be good enough for him/her.
Then one day, you chat with someone who is just “perfect” and they want to adopt your foster dog. We may shed a tear or two when our dog is delivered to his/her forever home. But we know it is the absolute right thing to do when you see the joy in the new family’s eyes. The memories of our foster dogs will stay with us forever. These memories can be comical, heartbreaking, frustrating and magical. Fostering is not always happiness. It takes patience and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want and we have to resolve unexpected challenges. We absolutely get attached to our foster dogs, but letting him/her go means we can go back to the shelter and save another life. The journey starts all over again.
Actually the most joyous time of the journey of saving a dog is not when we finalize an adoption. It is when our adopters send us a follow-up email, text or call with those magical words “WE JUST LOVE HIM/HER”.