This past week our foster, Pluto, was adopted after five and a half months living in our home. Of the eleven fosters we’ve had, he was with us for 4.5 months longer than any other dog. The thing with fostering is that there are no days off from caring for your foster dog. That’s not to say we don’t love fostering, but it challenges you. Besides providing time, love, and supplies for an extra dog for 5 months straight we also had to try to get Pluto adopted.
Luckily for us, Pluto had an army of people who followed us on Instagram (@arielthebrindle) who fell in love and were promoting and networking him. Pluto’s amazing family found him because someone on Instagram shared him with them (networking adoptable dogs is free and effective). Pluto was by far our most popular foster dog, yet he was with us for the longest amount of time.
For five months, every day, we would receive comments and messages hoping for and encouraging us to “foster fail” with Pluto because he “fit in perfectly” with our pack. You will see this wherever you look when someone is fostering. I’ve been guilty of suggesting it myself to friends who foster. It’s so tempting to see a dog that is happy and loved and gets along in the household and think: that dog already has the perfect home.
People who may be considering adopting a dog often don’t feel pressure to adopt dogs that are already in a great home. The dog is safe, loved and cared for, has probably bonded with the foster family. It can almost feel wrong to break that up and it can feel daunting knowing that your new dog may be attached someone else.
And yes, fosters transitioning to a new home will come with challenges, Pluto already managed to break out of this crate in his new home. But the great thing about dogs is they have no limits on the amount of love they can give. Pluto was absolutely attached to us when he left, but that doesn’t inhibit his ability to grow attached to someone new. It may take a few weeks for him to settle, but it seems clear to me that Pluto already so loved by his new family and if I know Pluto, which after 5.5 months I think I do, he already loves them too.
Us adopting Pluto saves one life, his. If we had adopted Pluto we would have had to stop fostering. Not fostering means the rescues we foster with can’t pull as many dogs, and ultimately more dogs get left behind in shelters at risk for euthanasia. By fostering we have helped to save 11 lives (in addition to our permeant residents). We are probably the “perfect home” for a lot of dogs, but we can’t possibly adopt them all. But there are other “perfect homes” out there, probably including yours. To a dog, a perfect home is love, food, exercise, medical attention, and more food.
Of course, we’re going to miss Pluto, we miss every dog that walks out our doors. But goodbye IS the goal. Seeing our old fosters loved and getting to meet new foster fuzz butts is the most exciting part of fostering.
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