Why didn’t you keep him? He loved you … I get this question almost every time I post a video about a rescue or foster dog (ah! especially a foster dog) that was adopted. Today, I even woke up to find a comment in Christie’s video saying “she trusted you and you let her down!” WTF???
I am guessing that by “you let her down” they meant that she felt like she was at home while she was living with me, and after she was adopted, she felt betrayed. Well, guess what: she was never at home and I never considered keeping her. Never. The reason why she appeared happy and relaxed with me is because all dogs are happy and relaxed when their basic needs are satisfied, like eating, exercising and resting.
The point of fostering is preparing a dog for his forever home and that’s it. And when the right home comes along, we are more than happy to see them go so that we can take in the next dog in need – and believe me, dogs in need are plenty here in Greece (more than you can imagine actually). Besides, dogs live the present, and this is the reason why they are happier than we are; provided that their basic needs are satisfied and that they are introduced to a new environment the right way, they are happy – the “animal” way of being happy, not ours.
According to similar comments, I should have by now 12 dogs of my own – Billy, Sahara, Alma, Kallie, Christie, Petra, Marta, Blue and Bono (including the three I already have); in other words, I should be hoarding. Given the fact that there must be about 15 more dogs that I have fostered over the past three years that never had their video go viral, we are left with a total of 27 dogs in a two bedroom apartment, maintained on minimum wage – now that sounds like a hell of a life, doesn’t it? For all 28 of us!
Of course, our rescues love us – that’s the point. They are supposed to love people, be social, happy and adoptable. But the average of 3 minutes in an edited video that you get to see on Youtube does not depict the actual life of any of my fosters. The videos are not fake, but they are made this way so that they tell a story. My life while I foster is not as easy as it seems – in fact, it is very difficult.
Satisfying the needs of four or five dogs every day -walking then three times a day, cooking for them, playing with them, socializing them, training them and keeping them happy – is one difficult task, and that’s why I can only do it for short periods of time, and why after each foster dog that leaves, I need a few weeks to clear my head and rest. Having to care for more dogs than I have now on a regular basis would result in having a bunch of agitated, neglected, unhappy dogs, whose owner is just too tired to even walk them half a block.
I am pretty convinced that comments like “why didn’t you keep him/her?” etc come from people who don’t realize how the whole thing of rescue-foster-adoption works – and I don’t mean to be offensive. I didn’t know how it worked when I started, and of course I kept my first foster. So if you are wondering about all that, here is how it is:
– No, rescuers do not keep the dogs they rescue.
– For every video of a rescue dog that you see, there are about 100 more dogs that spent time in a the same rescuer’s house, and all 100 of them loved him/her.
– Dogs don’t feel let down or betrayed when they are adopted! – I mean, OMG – you managed to turn one of the best moments in animal welfare into something bad! Why would you do that? Why?
– Suggesting that rescuers and foster parents keep their rescues is spam. Don’t do it.
– The better the rescuer the better he is at letting go – that’s a fact.
– That one and only video of a rescue dog you got to see on Youtube does not make the animal unique to the rescuer, just because you saw this particular story. (that sounded a lot better in my head)
-Of course I cry every time I have to let go of a dog – I just never do it in front of the dog, because it will only fill the animal with unnecessary stress. I cry when I drive back home…for a while. Then I see another dog in desperate need of help and focus on that one.
– Yes, some dogs touched my heart more than others, but they may not be the dogs that you saw on Youtube. I mean, if we were friends and you suggested that I keep Christie for example, I would reply something like “no man, if I were to adopt another dog, I would have kept Sally – you know how much I wanted her”. But “Sally” was never on Youtube and you and I are not friends, which means that I cannot give you the answer above cause you won’t understand, and instead you are making me write this entire post so that I can copy-paste the link every time I read: “Why didn’t you keep him/her?”.