How Do You Let Them Go?
It’s the first question everyone asks about fostering rescue dogs.
The answer is with great difficulty and sometimes we fail and end up adopting the dogs ourselves.
When a dog leaves it feels like a bereavement but there is the knowledge that the dog has gone to the perfect home ,possibly even better than what you can offer him/her.
Of course its impossible not to get attached to a dog who lives in your home 24/7. They become part of the family and you start to wonder however you will cope when they leave. It’s so hard to imagine your foster dog curled up with someone else, will the new owners be able to find the tickle spot? or remember that there’s always a treat just before bed? Such mundane things but they mean such a lot at the time. Of course it’s the main things like diet, exercise, health that matter most but dogs are so individual and sometimes its the little things that mean a lot.
You learn to put the dogs needs before everything else and spend time getting to know that dog so well that they will get the perfect forever home that they deserve. It would be pointless rehoming an energetic young collie with an elderly person but that person could provide a loving home to an elderly yorkshire terrier. How does the foster dog get on with other dogs? cats? children? all questions a fosterer will assess and the person wanting to adopt will find invaluable.
So, a fosterer doesn’t just give a rescue dog food and shelter , by assessing everything the right home for that dog can be found.
In my opinion the main reason we can let the dogs go is because there are hundreds of homeless dogs in kennels and by letting a dog move on we have a space for another.
I always ask the new owners to keep in touch. I would never contact them but the odd postcard or email means such a lot and reaffirms that the dog is in the right place. I keep a scrapbook of all cards, letters and photos sent to me.
As for now, my foster place is being taken up by a permanent fixture ie Darcy the miniature dachshund who has such behaviour problems (not his fault) that he can’t be rehomed. When he bites me, totally unprovoked, I say “its a good job you are cute young man” and remember that it is his insecurities that make him act this way.
As for the future I would love to think that there will be no need for me to foster again but that’s probably too much to hope for.
I am a frequent foster for my local Humane Society. Every time I foster I promise myself that I won’t get attached…and every time I break that promise! Some dogs are harder for me to let go than others, but every single one of them have a very special place in my heart
I know its so hard to part with them but then you can go on to save another life.