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Fostering 101: Why I foster January 16, 2013


I have only fostered a couple dogs and for about a couple months. So I am not an expert foster parent or dog trainer by any means. But being the Mum and anchor-point of my very emotional Brownie has given me considerable share-worthy experience and on how to deal with canine emotions. (Yes, I am of the school of thought that canine depression and canine emotions are very real).

N, a very good friend and a mum to a beautiful adopted Corgie, Bella recently pointed out that “I really commend Brownie that he lets you have foster dogs… If I ever do it, I am sure I am going to need a foster home after that;) She does not even let me dog sit…… The girl does not know what sharing means” I just wanted to hug N and say “Looky you! Bella is adorable and very very nice. I have seen her with strangers, she is confident and calm and a complete love and contrary to what you say, B does know how to share”
But, I also understand that it’s a tricky thing, to consider bringing in a 3rd wheel when the 2 of you are so complete–like Bella and N, like Brownie and me. You don’t know what she will do, how she will feel and you don’t want anything, ANYthing to jeopardize what you have, it is so precious. It is THAT precious.

IMG_3004So why do I foster?
Because I love dogs and because I have a sense of faith in them that I don’t have in humans (and this process is helping me with the human part too).
Because I want to help and this is the only way I can, for now and it fills up the void of helplessness,
Because I could scream at the top of my voice–“Adopt” or “breeds don’t mean that much”, but unless I am doing something more tangible, I don’t feel like my screams are being heard.
Because this helps me show that “there’s nothing wrong with shelter pets” and nice pictures + TLC can make them very adoptable.

Not just that, I like it that Brownie gets to socialize, even if it is supervised and limited.
You see, having Brownie is not an impedement to fostering, it is the reason I can foster and successfully let go of my fosters. After dropping off the happy, curious, somewhat anxious and upset pups in their new, forever homes, my car and my heart feels a little (read very) empty. But I rush home happy because I know my anti-emptiness drug is at home. He is sitting on a couch magically refueling my life with meaning and my home (and car and heart) with love; and as soon as I turn the key on my door, he will grab his squeaky toy and come to greet me. He will be a little curious to where his friend or frenemy went but he will also look a little relieved that I am home and with him. Within minutes, he will forget there was another dog, unless of course there is another dog.

But I didn’t get here in a day. Brownie was sad and distant when we first started fostering. He withdrew himself from everything that was his. I felt it in my core because that is what I do, when I am scared to lose something I love or when I fear something will change, I dissociate myself that something or someone. So when I felt the hugs loosen, I panicked. There were spells of barking, a show of stress and disgruntlement. There was agitation, cowering and bossiness. And I was doubting my decision to foster, scared of complaints from my neighbors and overall unsure of what will happen to the wonderful bond that is Brownie and me. I have a lot of good humans in my life– spouse, parents, friends. But Brownie and I have a bond like no other and I wasn’t going to risk it, for anything or anyone.

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