The muddy throw rugs are coming out of the laundry. The dog toys are back where they belong. I’m taking down the temporary crate Bandit slept in.
Things are getting back to normal.
But Honey is still sad.
Hard to Give Up a Foster Dog
I’ve never written or read about fostering without hearing someone say they could never return a dog they were fostering. They’d fall in love every time and end up with a house full of dogs.
But what about the dogs in a house that fosters? What does fostering mean for them?
Fostering From a Dog’s Point of View
Honey is pretty mellow. She takes what comes.
When we foster a dog who doesn’t like other dogs, Honey reins herself in and lives peaceably beside a dog who wants nothing to do with her.
Controlling her urge to play is stressful. And when the foster dog leaves, we see the stress leave her body.
But when we foster a dog who loves to play, Honey has a blast.
For the past week and a half, Honey and Bandit have spent hours each day wrestling in the yard. Ever since we came home from returning Bandit to the SPCA Adoption Center, Honey’s been sad.
So if living with a foster dog who doesn’t like to play is stressful, and losing a foster dog who’s playful is depressing, why do we subject Honey to the pain?
I don’t think raising a puppy is like raising a child. But they share one thing in common.
Good parenting and good puppy raising both encourage resilience.
Good rearing gives a safe base while encouraging independence. A puppy, human or canine, gains resilience when he faces challenges successfully.
Honey is resilient. Her mother and her breeders gave her a wonderful home while supporting her in socializing to new people, places, and things. We continued her resilience training by encouraging her to try new things in a safe way.
And fostering is about increasing resilience too.
Every time we foster a dog, Honey shares the gift of resilience with the pup we’re fostering.
It’s our job to shore up Honey’s resilience so we can continue to foster.
Getting Ready to Foster Again
We have a break in between foster dogs.
Time for me to find Honey some playmates, build in some fun, and help her rebound from missing Bandit. Time to shore up Honey’s resilience. So we can do the same for our next foster dog.
How resilient is your dog? Would he be a good foster friend? Would you?