Monday, May 12, 2014

Letting Go of A Foster Dog

This was our latest Springer Spaniel foster dog from ESRA.  He was full of inexhaustible energy, constantly challenging our couch potato nature, but so full of joy.  How can I deny him one more walk?  Whew!  Every new dog is a learning experience for us and I'm grateful for each opportunity.  They all have different issues and personalities.  It's like earning merit badges.  With every foster dog, we grow in dog rehab skills.  

This gorgeous foster dog had me wrapped around his finger with those eyes from the very first day.  

He went to his new home last week and is doing very well.  I used to worry about my foster fur kids when they left.  They are always fine.  They have gained confidence and trust in humans, are finally in good health, and are happy, cheerful dogs when they leave.  I would fret only to find out they were blissfully content with their new lives.  Isn't that the goal?  

Is it about me? Or is it about saving a good dog?

It's like sending your children to camp.  You worry yourself sick all week while the kids are having the time of their lives.  The dogs don't leave here sick or traumatized as when they arrived.  I have learned to trust more in the dogs they have become, rather than dwell on who they were when we first received them.

Our dogs help rehabilitate too.  Charlie shows extra grooming love.  The fosters learn how to trust a stable pack.  

Letting go is sad.  But letting go is never as hard as I think it's going to be. *sniff* The building up to the good bye which I know is coming is what is so difficult.  *sniff* I keep thinking how much I'm going to miss them.  *sniff*  They look into your eyes with so much affection and faith and you feel as if you are about to betray them.  I wonder if Abraham must have felt this when looking into Isaac's hopeful face walking up the mountain.  But once they are given to their new home, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Plus I make my husband do it.  Bah!  I can't watch.

Barkley loved to sit with me while I sewed.  Those eyes!!!  You're killing me Barkley!  Look away.  
Letting go starts from the very first day they arrive.  I force myself to believe they are not my dogs. They belong to another wonderful family.  We just haven't found them yet.  And while we search for their forever home, I'm going to love the heck out of them.  When their forever home is found, it would be selfish of me to deny that family the love this beautiful animal has to give.  How many animals can I keep anyway?  Do the best thing for the dog and share the love.  Let the other family experience the joy too. 

I know, I know.  Easier said than done, right?  

Anyway, once they are gone, I'm fine.  I'm so good, I actually feel a little guilty.  "Shouldn't I be crying more?"  We have one less dog to trip over.  4 fewer muddy paw prints to mop.  The dogs are good.  The new family is good.  Everyone is good.  And we did a good thing.  Yay!  Yay for good things in the world! Let's all do good things and encourage each other in good deeds.

Barkley was the Eric Northman (vampire) of Springer Spaniels.  Looook into my eyyyes....Hypnotic....he could talk me into anything.  LOL  I really loved Barkley.  Such a sweet boy.  Of course I miss him.  But I'm not sad. Really!!!

I share this with you not to brag.  I'm so awesome!  I can foster a dog and turn it over and not cry.  Go me.  

I share because this is the #1 reason why people won't foster.  They know it will hurt.  And I wanted you to hear how I deal with it emotionally.  So.  With that said; GO FOSTER A DOG...OR A CAT.  You're stronger than you think you are.  And you are needed. 

Think adoption first.  

Have you ever considered fostering animals?  If yes, here are 10 Good Reasons to get the thinking process started

If you are a foster, how do you deal with letting go?  I'm very interested in this and am anxious for feedback and ideas.  Please (please, please) share in the comment section.  

Be blessed and be a blessing.  
Be kind.  
Encourage one another.  

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on 
toward love and good deeds."


Hampdenquilts said...

what a lovely post. I have been afraid to foster any animals for the very reason of saying goodbye. You have given me a LOT to think about. Thank you :-)

Michelle said...

I don't think it would be me that had a hard time letting a foster go. It would be my forever dogs we have now. I would be afraid for them. We did sort of foster a stray until we found it a good home and my dogs were pouting something horrible when we came back without their play mate.

April Dunlap said...

We have close-by family who foster large dogs; I admire what they do, but know I couldn't give the unconditional love it takes to be that patient and determined. I'm selfish. Your Springers are so beautiful! Great post. (and I'm commenting--the computer didn't eat it yet!) :)

Barb N said...

Our son adopted a dog that had been fostered for health reasons. Turned out the dog just had a horrid start to life, and the foster family enabled the animal center to keep him instead of the alternative. We are so grateful because that little critter is a joy for everyone who meets him. Thank you for what you do!

Jann Olson said...

I can see that it would be hard to let go. So easy to get attached in just a short time. Especially if you look into those big eyes! I think it's wonderful that you take them in and turn them into fabulous pets!

Brandi said...

You're awesome! I used to volunteer at an animal shelter and when I was a teen I worked at an animal hospital. Each week I saw a dog I wanted to bring home. Finally my husband agreed to our oldest dog, Princess then we adopted 2 more. I would love to foster, but I have a feeling I would have a house full of pets!!

Laura Lane said...

This is an intriguing idea for me. It concerns me because I have a cat and a chicken.

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