Fostering a Pet: The Joys and SorrowsPublished February 9, 2010
While I was online the other day, I received a very happy and excited instant message from a dear friend who recently lost "Doc", her beloved old dog at fifteen years-of-age. She had shared her heart and home with him from the time he was a young dog, and always took incredible care of him.
Over the past few years, as Doc's health declined, her attachment to him grew even stronger, and his devotion to her deepened as well. So when she knew that it was time to send him to the Rainbow Bridge, to end his suffering, in that final act of love that we can offer our beloved pets, she knew it was best for him, but a huge hole remained in her heart which she ached to fill.
While she knew that it was not yet the right time for her to bring a new forever pet into her home, since she is still grieving Doc's loss, miraculously and unexpectedly, she was offered the opportunity to foster a needy dog. It is definitely a win-win situation for both my friend and a homeless hound.
Her news got me to thinking about how fostering pets can provide us with the pleasure of the company of a needy animal, while at the same time affording the pet a chance to spend some time in a loving home, with someone who cares about them until a forever home opens to them. But are there any down-sides to fostering an animal?
What concerns me the most is how attached I get to any animal that enters my home and heart. At one time, in fact, I was giving some serious consideration about putting my name on a waiting-list to take a puppy who would eventually be trained as a Guide Dog for the Blind, but I was very concerned about how I would feel when that time eventually arrived when I would have to let this dog go; the one with whom I had been so connected with for over a year, and who had shared so many amazing and memorable times with me. Was my temperament suited to such difficult separations?
Personally, I don't think it is in my makeup to be able to part with such a puppy. So I decided not to apply. But I really do admire the folks that have the right disposition to be able to do so.
On the other hand, for some people fostering may be the perfect solution for them. While they do get attached, knowing deep-down in their hearts that a wonderful forever loving home is the main goal, since fosters are not permanently placed in their homes, they are able to offer many more needy animals the opportunity to find that perfect permanent placement.
Have you ever fostered a pet? Did you have difficulty surrendering them when a permanent home was found? Please share your experiences by leaving a comment.