We had 7+ weeks with our foster, Clarence.
Once on the euthanasia list down in Texas, then rescued by TracysDogs animal shelter in San Antonio and adopted up to the Virginia area, only to be "returned." This little man had been through a lot and is only 3 years old, but he has finally been adopted to a loving family!
Here is what we want you to know:
A note to future foster parents.
1. It is difficult. Embrace it. The pup is having a harder time than you. You will learn from each other and grow.
2. Love, love, love, but don't feel pressured to keep him forever. The numbers of animals in need of help is, essentially, limitless. If you keep him, he may not find the perfect forever home he is destined for, and having a dog (or another dog) may prevent you from fostering/adopting in the future. Fostering literally saves lives. There shouldn't be any guilt in what you are doing.
3. Don't get attached! This is the most difficult.
You want to be excited for him on his adoption day! He will miss you, and you will miss him, but the love can be just as strong, if not stronger, when unattached.
4. Sensitivity is crucial. There is no way of finding out what he has actually been through and how he feels. But hang in there and keep an eye on any concerning habits or quirky mechanisms. You will want to give him all of the security in the world, and this is a way to learn and help. Not to mention, keeping an eye on this will help the future adopters too! The more information, the better.
5. Take before and after photos. We had to take our foster to the vet almost immediately. He had health issues and a skin condition. Tracking his progress will only help him continue on a successful journey forward. His future vet will need to see his previous records, so keep those too.
6. Continue the conversation with the shelter you are working with. It is important for them to know everything. The details help everyone understand the next steps for the pup's future.
7. Be patient. It is normal to want to push toward getting your foster a great home, but do not settle. If you rush it, you won't get all of the information you need and you/the shelter may not fit him with the correct home.
8. Say goodbye so you can say hello. This relates back to #2. It is important to close the chapter once your little man gets adopted - if the future parents want to send you an updated photo then that will just be a wonderful bonus!
When it is time to say goodbye, embrace it. Stay open to questions that the future family has, and let them know to reach out with more. If you are not fostering, consider it! As said, there are many animals that need our help all over the world.
Good luck on your journey ahead, wherever that may take you.
Bon Voyage, little man.
xoxo, k & nymeria too