When to keep a foster you love?.. when you already have (multiple) dogs

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fast fast!
Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 4:33pm PST 
This is a question for all of you out there who have fallen in love with a foster, whether you decided to keep them or not, and had multiple dogs already.

What makes a foster a keeper or not? Have you every worried about the 'too many dogs' problem and if so how did you solve/rationalize this?

Any wisdom would be appreciated. I have never had trouble giving up a foster before. Now I have one that is different. But four dogs in the house 'sounds' too big...

Pocket Wolf
Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 5:30pm PST 
You just have to know your limits. Unless you are going to be up on chipin asking for donations to your independent rescue organization, or applying for your 501c exemption and applying to grants, it's probably important not to exceed the county limit for dogs. Just make it a hard limit. YOu can't make your living arrangements suffer because you can't give up fosters. Say, I can keep 2 and foster 1 but that's it. All dogs are going to tug at your heart the moment you put your life and attention into them. We really do care about the things we put effort into.

Just realize that it's like creating something unique and special. It might be a million dollar dog, but when you foster, you are giving worth to a dog that society has deemed worthless, and once it has that worth, it can go to a family and be priceless. We rescued a kitten recently right out of the street in all of this heat, but we have a hard limit of 2 pets. It was the cutes little black tuxedo with gray eyes, and it was just the kind that my husband always wanted, but we had to take it in to the HS for someone else to love.

If your decision is to foster, you make this decision that the dogs that come in and out are there to heal, to learn to live, to learn to love, and then to leave and enrich someone else's lives. Your love for the dogs will be sent along the line. If you decide to fail at that because you don't set that hard line on the number, you sort of rob others of a chance to continue that gift of love.

For me the dogs that I would keep personally, given the chance to foster, have to be of the right temperament. They have to get along with other dogs, they have to be well socialized and calm, leader dogs that can help me take that new soul to the next level. When you foster a dog, you need your permanent dogs to be willing to work with you. Fostering is frankly a full time volunteer job for the whole household. If a foster dog you are considering keeping is not like that, if the conditions are not right for you financially, physically, mentally, and you still want to foster after keeping the dog, you have to be tough. If you're not tough, you confuse the foster sending mixxed signals on keeping vs. not keeping, and you worry your permanent dogs. Dogs pick up on these sorts of things, I believe.

Long story short, realize at the beginning that the dog has a place to go, know your family and your permanent dogs, and know your situation, and you will know your hard limit. Stick to that limit and don't be impulsive about it.

Edited by author Tue Jul 24, '12 5:33pm PST


I'm Adopted!
Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 6:48pm PST 
Good advice Foxxy.
It would be nice to keep Duke, but even with only one permanent dog (Twister) I am at my limit. It really is about knowing your limits and not letting yourself cross them, even though it can be very hard at times. I do think of Duke as a 'long-term' foster, but I know eventually I will have to re-home him. Even if I had a two-dog limit, if I were truthful with myself, Duke does not fit into what I need my permanent dogs to be (ie, good with rabbits, as I have a permanent rabbit...that Duke nearly ate...yum).
Another thing to remember, if you like fostering, but decide to keep the foster...you may end up leaving no room for more fosters. I know how that felt the other day, I found a puppy dumped on a country road. It would have been nice to take it home and foster it, but we have three dogs at our house, and can't afford to take care of more. Luckily, the first door I knocked at on that street to see if she just wondered off was willing to take the pup in. If they hadn't, I would have had to take her to the animal shelter (which is still better then nothing).
So basically, it really is something everyone needs to decide for themselves...but again, you need to resolve to stick by your limit unless your situation changes.