I guess it’s time to talk about how we came to foster the little Princess. It was just another Saturday and we were doing assessments of some dogs for intake. Most were dogs whose owners had contacted us about surrender but one was from a shelter in another town. She was either the third or fourth assessment of the day and Asia, my daughter, was meeting people in the parking lot and getting paperwork filled out while getting some of each dog’s story.
Princess was on the E list at the shelter. We were told she was dog aggressive, had chased a cat and had busted through a screen (though no one could articulate why). Immediately I was on edge. Why would we waste a spot on a dog like that? Furthermore, she didn’t want to walk anywhere on her own, so there she stood with her head hung down mirroring her woebegone tail. No spark. She stood for all of the poking and prodding of the assessment with the stoicism of one who has seen it all and could no longer care about the outcome until the rawhide test.
We’d found something that she was interested in and she caught a bit of a spark and seemed almost alive. Then during the parallel walk and brief interactions we were pleasantly surprised that she seemingly had no desire to attack the other dog. It was during this time that between looking at this dog who still had a small spark and the pleading face of my daughter that the word vomit erupted. “If she passes assessment, I will foster her.”
She obviously passed but some of her backstory was emerging and I hated the name Princess due to our own over use. I was thinking of Cecilia but I didn’t want her to break my heart or shake my confidence so I settled on Bryn which sounded enough like the beginning of her “old” name.
She was presented to us as four, but her paperwork said five and she looks to be closer to six, is heartworm positive, has some broken teeth, skin tags and some suspicious lumps. That, along with an unknown level of “cat chasing” was going to make her a trial foster just to see if she could remain peaceabully at the assembly.
I can well imagine how this is going to turn out (I hope), but I am really disturbed by your choice of words “We were told she was dog aggressive, had chased a cat and had busted through a screen (though no one could articulate why). Immediately I was on edge. Why would we waste a spot on a dog like that?”
Our Ray was dog and human aggressive; hated cats (still does), and clearly had a mind of his own. Four months with a shelter trainer plus a year with us and he was reasonably social. Now he is generally one of the best behaved dogs we meet on walks, and is the most lovable “guy” one could imagine.
So is a spot really considered wasted on a dog like that? Shouldn’t even dogs with issues be given a chance at a happy life?
Absolutely. But we are a completely foster based rescue. Your Ray was being adopted by you and not displacing another dog, as in “If I adopt Ray then another dog will just have to take his chances in life.” We have no fosters who don’t have other dogs so she would definitely be going to a home with other animals if pulled. We typically have about 10-15 foster families (spots) at any given time, 6-8 requests for intake each day and a waiting list. Dogs that we intake truly need to be adoptable so that when they are pulled into one of our very valuable foster spots they can be moderately adoptable so that all of the others waiting have a shot.
That’s not to say that we don’t have some long term fosters and they are welcome to stay but our small group would not be very effective if all of our dogs were in foster care for 16 months.
An understandable situation. Thank you for the clarification. 🙂
Thanks for asking! I should add this- we try to mainly pull dogs from our municipal shelter for our foster homes and the majority of owner surrenders that are accepted into our program remain in the “owner’s” care. We arrange for spay/ neuter, vaccines, microchip, and food while working on finding a new home. On the day of this assessment, we technically had no open foster available for a shelter transfer.
Keep up the good work! 🙂