We have a new foster coming on Friday, and we are so excited! Stay tuned for updates on that.
The reason I’m writing today, though, is because I want to share my overall experience with fostering, so far. Though you can read through my previous posts to learn about each of the dogs we’ve had, I don’t feel they sum up my overall feelings about our fostering experience. That is what I truly want to share with you in this post.
I had thought about fostering dogs for some time. It was a thought that would flutter in, and remembering we already have four dogs, the thought would leave about as fast as it came. I am a teacher. Without getting into all the trials and tribulations most working people are experiencing, this year has been hard, to say the least. I can’t really put my finger on all the reasons for it, but I sunk into a dark place. A place where I was going through the motions. Survival mode. I didn’t feel the zest for life. I didn’t know prior to fostering how much it would save my husband and I. We were mentally struggling because of pandemic life. That much was certain.
Derek and I had long talks about fostering dogs and what that would look like for us, and our household. I felt confident I could commit to the greater good of the community rather than keeping all the cute dogs. Eventually, I just felt ready to commit. Derek was not there yet. He knows both our hearts towards animals, and he was sure we would walk away from the experience broken. He didn’t know how we were going to grow to love these pups and then hand them off to their forever homes. What I couldn’t exactly put into words, was how broken I was already feeling. Work wasn’t going great. I just didn’t feel passionate about it anymore. I wanted to give back to my community, and I wanted to feel good about it. We agreed to give fostering dogs a chance. We would have to see where it took us.
Our first foster, Iggy, went well (read more). Iggy was adopted within a week of us taking him in. We were feeling good after Iggy. We understood Iggy was not ours. He was just visiting. He wasn’t a member of our pack, not really. We were doing good work. We liked Iggy, but we knew our purpose was to get him adopted. It wasn’t as hard on our hearts as we thought it would be.
We had a week of downtime, and our next foster, Neville, came (read more). Neville was not socialized or treated well before the Humane Society got him. We quickly learned that, when given time to adjust, Neville is the embodiment of pure, happy-go-lucky, derpy love. This time, I knew I would be sad when Neville found his forever family, but I felt I had to be strong and prove to everyone I could do this fostering thing.
It was Derek that was the first to break. After just a few days, Derek could not imagine life without Neville. Of course I was okay with keeping another dog. I love dogs, but my feelings were mixed up inside me. What would keeping Neville mean for our fostering journey? Were we failures? I reached out to my foster support group on Facebook. My personal motto had been, “We are doing this to get dogs adopted, not to adopt them all ourselves.” A commenter in my support group stated their own motto, “I can fail, as long as it doesn’t keep me from fostering.” We foster failed and adopted Neville, but we knew we wanted to continue fostering. (Adoption update coming soon.) We now have five dogs. They are loved. They have a yard. They are well cared for. We work hard to give them better lives. Our hearts are in exactly the right place for this season of our lives.
We have definitely learned a lot. Not every day is easy. My muscles are sore, and my days are long, but fostering has been exactly what we needed. We thought it needed us. Little did we know how much we needed it too. I would love to encourage anyone that has thought about adopting or fostering a shelter dog to do it! Fostering dogs has been great for us, and I know it has been great for our local shelter. We recently learned that we are one of very few fosters for our shelter. They are incredibly short staffed, and their kennels are completely full. They are working off a waitlist for owner surrenders. Our community has a need. I am grateful to be doing something that makes me so happy, for creatures that are so pure of heart.
Find the light in your life! Do what brings you joy with the people that make you happy.
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