It’s the best feeling in the world when you find the perfect home for your foster dog. Although you know that you’ll miss them, you daydream about the awesome life they are going to have with their new family. And most of the time that is how things play out.
Sometimes, however, unexpected things occur. Harriet the foster pirate is the perfect example of this. Harriet was adopted by a young man that lives in Philadelphia with a spacious apartment, a flexible schedule (meaning lots of daily walks) and a male dog that Harriet instantly fell in love with. I felt so good about them being a fit.
Fast forward about three and a half weeks. Harriet was great when she was indoors with her new family. It was on the daily walks that she struggled. She would fixate on people, other dogs, bikes and bark uncontrollably, almost as if she was in a trance. Her new dad hired a trainer and tried various tactics to address this behavior, but it got worse instead of better (we must keep in mind that Harriet came from the streets of Philadelphia where someone shot her in the eye with a BB gun, so the behavior wasn’t a total mystery). As much as he loved her, it hurt him to see all this anxiety and he knew she’d be happier in a quieter environment. So, he decided that it was best for Harriet to come back to me in the suburbs.
Harriet settled right back into my home as if nothing had changed – except for the fact that she now has a roommate. One week after Harriet was adopted I took on another foster dog, Farley. Farley and Harriet each have their own crate in my enormous upstairs bathroom. I crated and rotated them for a week so that they could get used to each other, then I introduced them face to face two days ago. They were instant buddies! Now they each have a new friend to get exercise with and that is one less group that I have to crate and rotate (I also have two dogs of my own!).
Having two foster dogs at one time was completely unplanned for me, but there was no way I would allow either of these dogs to go back to the shelter. I was initially stressed at the idea of Harriet coming back and managing four dogs myself, but I looked myself in the eyes and told myself “You will figure out how to make this work.” As soon as I made that decision, I was able to shed a lot of my stress. My love and passion for saving dogs is much stronger than that little voice in my head that tells me to give up. I now know that I’m even stronger than I thought I was before. I’m more confident in my ability to deal with foster dog related challenges.
I am currently caring for two amazing pit bull girls in my home until I find them forever homes where they will thrive. I have also acknowledged to myself that I am officially a crazy dog lady. And I’m ok with that.