Today’s the big day.
In a few hours, I will deliver our foster puppy Zoe back to the shelter so she can find her new family.
Should I try to get in a few training sessions? Gently expose her to more household noises? Write a treatise on her personality for her new family?
Or is it time to just let it go?
When A Control Freak Fosters A Puppy
Would you be surprised to read I’m just a bit of a control freak?
Okay, a lot of a control freak.
Luckily I’m also incredibly lazy or I’d make everyone around me nuts.
Whenever we bring a foster dog home, I set up a mental plan:
- First 24-48 hours – help the dog adjust to our home by setting up a consistent schedule and allowing her to get used to us with no pressure.
- Hour 49 on – Focus on whatever this dog needs most to be adoptable (medical, house training, socialization, etc.)
- Final hours – Arrange an easy return to the shelter, which includes a bit of exercise and putting a rag into her car crate that smells like me, my husband Mike, and my dog Honey.
Every dog and puppy we’ve fostered has been wonderful.
But some dogs burrow into your soul. And that really brings out my control freak side.
Finding A Home For Zoe
Zoe is the first herding dog I’ve ever gotten to know well.
In truth, I was thankful for blogville friend Roxanne of Champion of My Heart who shared her wisdom about working with a highly alert herding dog. She set me on the right track to working with Zoe’s startling at loud sounds.
And once we figured out how to help Zoe feel more comfortable in a world filled with scary noises she had to respond to (hint: we found the solution in clicker training Zoe to touch our hand on cue), she blossomed into an absolutely perfect puppy.
I know the shelter staff and volunteers will find her a lovely home. But I want it to be perfect.
I’d love to see Zoe go home with someone who has another indulgent, older dog who can continue to teach her. This person should enjoy doing training or dog sports (Zoe could be an agility star). Oh, and they should have enough experience with dogs to appreciate what a special girl has dropped into their lives.
But even control freaks can’t control everything. In the end, I’ve got to trust the universe to bring Zoe her perfect family.
It’s time to let it go.
Everyone Has A Job
My job with Zoe is ending in a few hours.
It’s time to stop feeling responsible for her. It’s time to focus on Honey as she loses a playmate and to give her the attention she usually gets as a solo dog. And it’s time to bawl my eyes out as I drive to the shelter to hand Zoe over to the wonderful people who will love and care for her until she gets adopted.
Zoe will be fine. I have never had a foster dog leave me with anything but curiosity and interest in what’s happening.
I need to learn from dogs.
And understand how to just let it go.
Your Turn: Have you ever had trouble letting go? Perhaps when leaving a dog with a vet? Or when you’ve fostered or pet sat for someone?