In my foster group there are about 15-20ish dog fosters and, I don’t know, probably some number of cat fosters. Out of all of these wonderful fosters, not a single one is a man. There is one husband who is supportive and very involved but that’s it. I don’t know why this is. What I do know is that in most cases…. a dog may be man’s best friends but men are the enemy of dog fostering.
“I’ll have to talk to my husband but I really want to foster the new Lab mix.”
“I really want to, but my husband said if I bring home another dog he’s leaving.”
“I love her but she peed on the bed. My husband says she can’t stay here anymore.”
“He says he hates having all these animals in the house but I caught him cuddling and baby talking yesterday.”
“My boyfriend says he won’t move in if I have more than three dogs.”
Perhaps men are just the scapegoats or the voice of reason when we can’t think strait. Those longing puppy dog eyes can make us do crazy things. If men are the sane ones who can resist a dog that is clearly dying when it isn’t in your lap perhaps it makes sense that they don’t foster. Fostering is insane. The dogs are completely unpredictable in most cases. They may come in with zero training and without the ability to differentiate carpet from grass. They may come in with strange objects in their stomachs that really need to be vomited on to your sofa. Or they may be ill. I made the mistake of letting a 9 week old puppy sleep in the bed with me. I rolled over into a freshly vomited pile of live roundworms. That was about 18 dogs ago.
Maybe the men have a point. Or maybe they are heartless bastards who can watch a Sarah McLachlan commercial without bursting into tears. We may never know.
How can you say no?
I have Rocko. He is my dog. Permanently. (Well… he might not be my dog anymore. He and my boyfriend have become quite attached. Especially since he moved in.) I am fostering Tori. She has no signs of getting adopted. Ever. This makes two dogs. I have been brought home a couple third dogs–small ones– to test my limits with the boyfriend. They have not been disasters. I wouldn’t call them successful, though. He would prefer I didn’t foster at all. I suppose I should take it as a sign of love that he moved in with me knowing I am going to bring strange dogs home again and again.
So the battle continues. We women desperately trying to help those in need and men ruining everything ever.
My first new foster of the year. 2015. It’s going to be full of dogs.
Mystic was yet another dog that was adopted from us as a puppy and returned a year later. This doesn’t happen as often as I make it seem. I suppose I just have a soft spot for the type.
This tiny monster is absolutely adorable. He looks like a tiny maned wolf. His legs are longer than he is! We know the mother was a chihuahua and by the look of him, daddy must have been an italian greyhound. The legs on this dog are just… I can’t even describe how long and impossibly thin they are.
Mystic has been a unique challenge for me. He is so very small and delicate. I am not used to a dog that could break. I sat on him the first hour he was in my house. (This little boy can scream, let me tell you.) I was kicking Rocko’s Chuck It Kickball the next day. As it wooshed by a mere foot from Mystic I realized that had it hit him the poor thing would have been crushed into a fine powder. My life is not set up for dogs that can’t handle being hit with a kickball. I find myself carrying him around like a wine glass while the other two dogs run around like, well…. dogs. Luckily the dog-sized dogs are gentle with Mystic. I don’t have to worry about them trampling or shaking him. (Not that I don’t watch them at all times to be sure.)
I am enjoying the novelty of a dog that could become lost in my purse, but I don’t think I will be taking in any more tiny dogs.
Two velcro dogs. Look at those legs!
Mystic in the car on the way to my house
I may never be able to get up again
I took a break from fostering last year. I was living in an apartment. I had a run of fosters that were very destructive. The last one I had before I took my break was with me for over 4 months and was very trying. She was a “velcro” dog. This term refers to a dog that must be near you (preferably touching you) at all times. There is no exception for sleep or cooking or using the bathroom. There was not a single night that dog wasn’t under the covers and between my knees all night. There was not a single potty break in which she was not trying to climb into my lap.
It was overwhelming. I was smothered.
So I took a break.
In November I moved into a house. It’s a smallish house but the backyard is huge. Well… compared to an apartment it’s huge. I now have about 0.2 acres surrounded by a 6-8 foot privacy fence. This yard is perfect for dogs. Well… almost perfect. They gate doesn’t latch and blows open sometimes. Also, it was filled with rabbits, squirrels, and birds.
The point is, this yard gave the me a good reason to start fostering again. So as soon as I was moved in I took in a dog. Tori.
Tori, like my Rocko, was adopted from the rescue I work with when she was a puppy. About a year later the woman who adopted Tori decided she didn’t want her anymore. The reasons are irrelevant. When someone wants to return a dog they will often make up reasons to rationalize and justify their actions. Sometimes they actually believe the reasons they have fabricated. I don’t mind because the dog is back with us and not being left outside or thrown out of a moving car.
Tori has a lot of energy. She sometimes resembles the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil. This dog looks a lot like a boxer that has been miniaturized. Imagine, however, that as her size was decreased her speed and stamina were increased. She runs at full speed all the time, she waves her open mouth around wildly, and she can jump impossibly high. She has caused minor injuries while whirling around crazily, but when she’s done she is the sweetest little lap dog. She just wants to cuddle next to you and sleep on the sofa while you watch tv. She doesn’t know she’s insane.
I’ve had Tori for 2 months now. I don’t understand why no one wants her sweet face in their home. She’s housebroken, has two eyes, and doesn’t chew on furniture. She even tucks herself in at night! I just don’t understand how any dog with those qualities doesn’t get adopted.
Seriously… look at this face.
Tori tucks herself in for bedtime
This dog has supermodel in her genes
Tori is an angel when she’s sleeping
I began my journey in dog fostering back in May of 2012. I was renting my parent’s house at the time which has a dog door built into the back of the brick siding. The door is large enough for an average sized human to fit through – a fact which was demonstrated when the front door knob suddenly stopped functioning one day. I went to the recently opened Petco one Saturday to check it out. (The new Target shopping center was a very exciting development for our town.) Outside was a small, local rescue with several sweaty people in yellow shirts holding dogs. I’m not sure how exactly it happened but I left Petco with a dog, a crate, and a bag of puppy food in my car.
This has happened again and again, more times than I can remember since that day.
I’m not sure exactly what number I’m up to now, but when I try to list them all I come up with 38. It seems like more. And less. I’ve spent about 125 Saturdays at Petco getting dogs adopted. I’ve had up to 6 dogs in my Civic at a time. I have been on television with a foster 4 times. I have foster failed twice.
I have one dog that is mine. He never made it to an adoption event. He bit me three times before I got him to my car where he immediately jumped into the trunk and wouldn’t come out. When we got home he watched me eat lunch on the sofa from across the room. As I climbed into bed for my post Panera food coma he jumped in with me and has followed me around lovingly ever since. His name is Rocko.
I hope I never stop fostering.
This is Rocko the day I met him — shortly before he bit me.
Rocko is now a happy dog with so many toys. SO. MANY. TOYS.
Rocko has become the most wonderful foster brother. He cuddles and wrestles and ignores them as much or as little as they want.