We know how fostering does directly save lives, but we also know that not all pups are going to work for all homes.
Even for us.
And it makes us feel like we’re letting everyone down.
During break, we were so enamored with little Jack Frost and his heartbreaking story we thought we could take him on while we were not at work. We have a soft-spot for older pups, and we thought this little Elder-Shi was the perfect fit. He blends right in.
But we didn’t follow our own rule. And while the dogs all get along amazingly, and we love having the little guy, we’re realizing we may not be the best foster fit.
Here’s our story about admitting when things aren’t working, and what we need to remember to continue having positive foster experiences.
Know what you and your pups can handle
Jack Frost is ‘Too Sexy’ for his Santa Outfit
We know fostering should be a positive experience for all the pets and people involved. We recognize the types of dogs that do and don’t work well with our own pooches. We do know Mr. B gets nervous if dogs try to play with him, so we don’t foster younger playful dogs or puppies. We also try to choose males who are more likely to get along with Miss M and her bossiness.
When we introduced Jack Frost to our pups we realized they all got along. He respected Mr. B’s space, eventually chose to lay with Miss M, and he enjoyed hanging out with the pack.
The biggest thing we always check before fostering is making sure we can crate train the pup. Mr. B is allowed to roam free when we’re not home, and we don’t like leaving pups who are still getting to know each other alone all day. In our excitement over having a smaller dog, we made the terrible stereotype that all small dogs could just be put in a crate or in a room. We soon realized how much our little Jack Frost was just like Mr. B. All he wanted to do was hang out in the house without being contained. And exactly like Mr. B, crates, closed doors, even baby gates made him nervous.
Realize What Can be Worked On…and What isn’t Working
We know foster dogs are adjusting to new experiences, and how important it is to help them through the transition. We did work on crate training and trying to see if there was a way we could partition both of the dogs while we were gone. Seeing how neglected he was, I’m guessing Jack Frost spent much of his life contained and even behind a baby gate he was completely miserable. Mr. B also gets anxious if he senses a dog in distress behind a closed door. We knew each dog was completely fine just hanging out in the house, and they had never had a single negative interaction, but I also didn’t want to take that 1% chance that unattended Mr. B could race down the hall and smoosh little Frost, or even accidentally sit on him. They are still in the getting-to-know-you phase also.
While we were working on all of this E, who is allergic to cats, realized he was allergic to Jack Frost. As Jack’s hair was growing back, E just kept getting more allergic. And we wouldn’t be able to have him in the bedroom where all the dogs slept because E was becoming so sick. While we struggled with trying to make it work, we realized the discomfort of E, Mr. B, and Jack Frost might not be worth it.
Work with a Rescue Group you Trust
We know there are some situations where once you commit to fostering, you need to make it work even if it is uncomfortable for the pups and people involved. We unfortunately know someone who was berated when they felt a foster they tested–and didn’t even begin fostering–was not a good fit with their dogs. We understand it’s disappointing, but it’s also not a good idea to force situations.
So many of our positive foster experiences can be attributed to Miss M’s rescue group, New Leash on Life Chicago. They recognize the importance of matchmaking–making sure it’s a good fit for both the people and the pups–rather than just trying to adopt out dogs. They don’t over-extend themselves and they really just want to make sure the fosters are a good fit and they are very honest with their fosters and adopters. They even become familiar with the foster homes and actively seek out dogs knowing what would be a good fit for that home.
While we were sad we couldn’t make it work, the rescue group has been working for another placement.
Right now he is staying with a friend, where he can just hang out all day at home. Since she travels a lot, we were hoping to find a more permanent foster home…or even better adoptive home!
We have had some weekend visitation, though we are beyond disappointed that we couldn’t see him through to his adoption.
Jack Frost is our 6th foster dog, and I guess we are still learning about what can work in our little home. (Ironically, it was our 90 lb foster pup who was our best fit).
We felt like we were letting little Jack Frost and everyone down.
How much our pups love Jack Frost
Working on Crate Training with a Foster Pup
How we choose Foster Dogs
Adding a second dog to your home