Monday, May 6, 2013

Best Year Ever

Today marks the one year anniversary of our first foster intake, Knucklehead with Chicago English Bulldog Rescue.  At the time we were quite nervous and unsure what fostering would require of us, how it would impact Oscar and our home environment, as well as our lives. Since then, we've welcome six furry friends, Knucklehead, Slater, Salty, Tiny Tim and now Bettina and Huey, into our home. Not only has fostering been one of the best decisions we've ever made, by far it's been the most rewarding.

Common questions we're asked about fostering:

Is it hard? How does Oscar do with it?
Yes, the first week is always a challenge.  We follow a strict protocol when bringing a new dog into the how to try to ensure that Oscar and the foster gets along. This requires separate walks, separate feeding, separate play time, baby gates and barriers.  But after the first week is up, we've been lucky to have smooth sailing and have our foster dog(s) and Oscar be in the same space without any qualms.

Is it expensive?
Not really, well not as expensive as one may initially think. Our rescue is a non-profit.  We sell items, host events and accept donations. All of that money goes towards our vet bills.  As a foster, we pay for food and items to welcome in our new friends, like collars, toys, blankets, etc. Medical bills/medications are payed for by the rescue.

How long do you have them?
Basically as long as it takes to get them adopted. When we signed up for fostering, we were told the average was 4-6 weeks.  Knucklehead we had 9 weeks, Slater 3 weeks, Salty 4 weeks and Tiny Tim was 12 weeks (although this was over the holidays, which we think added on some time).  Currently our "average length of stay" is 7 weeks.

Don't you want to keep them all?
So often people say they could never foster because they would want to keep their foster, and it's true, you do.  For us, especially now that Oscar has gotten used to these strange dogs in the house, we've found him more willing to bond with them, the goodbyes are hard. 

When we see the Osc and his new pal(s) together, it melts our hearts...but the fact of the matter is that if we kept one, then we wouldn't be able to continue fostering! (trust me, the three dogs we have right now are a handful, even though they are all well behaved.)  As long as our foster is healthy and has a family willing and excited to adoption, we will continue to adopt them out.

That's not to say I don't cry every.single.time. we have to say goodbye.  Part of it is tears of sadness, saying goodbye to this sweet soul you've opened your heart and home to.  But mostly, it's tears of joy.  To see the transformation, that we helped to create and impact, and to know they are going to a place where they'll be loved, just like they deserve.

I've learned two important things about adoption day:  1. Don't wear mascara on adoption day and 2. Bring dark sunglasses to hide the tears.

Such are the joys of fostering.

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