When I hear the term “foster failure,” I think of people gathered around in a circle at a community rec center room, taking turns introducing themselves, saying, “My name is Liz, and I’m a foster failure.” Which is not to make fun of groups and meetings — I used to attend weekly group therapy for people suffering from a specific issue (what that issue was is my secret to keep!) and it was incredibly helpful.
However, when it comes to dog adoption, as long as you’re not hoarding dogs, why put people to shame who simply fell in love with the dogs who were supposed to be only temporary? Why call it a foster “fail” and not, oh, I dunno, a “covert adoption success?” How anyone actually manages to part with a foster seems bewilderingly impossible for me — like, when you hang out with someone enough (especially a dog) you can’t seem to help developing some attachment, right?
At Dogster, we have our very own “covert adoption success” story, and that would be our Community Manager Lori’s story about the epic “foster fail” of Beasley. (Who I am dog sitting this week, might I add!) Inspired by Beasley’s story, I decided to ask Annie Hart of the Bill Foundation if she had any good covert adoption success stories to share. She laughed and told me has a “plethora” of them.
Meet Cooper and Teddy, who are dog friends to Emy. Emy offered to foster for the Bill Foundation as a way to provide companionship for her (intentionally) forever dog, Teddy. Prior to meeting Cooper, Emy had fostered two other dogs, providing a loving home until they were adopted. Cooper had been picked as a stray by the Bill Foundation, and after a week of treatment, went home to Emy.
The senior Terripoo was not fearful of his new human friend — he melted right into Emy’s arms and helped ease some of the anxiety Teddy had been suffering from. Joking that Cooper is her Benjamin Button, Emy observed that while the dog may be aging, in her care, he acts like a younger and younger dog every day, and he is totally bonded to Teddy. They’re so bonded that people often mistake them for littermates. After fostering Cooper for a month, Emy knew it was going to be forever.
This is Melody. Shortly after Eldad Hagar of Hope for Paws saved her, vets discovered that the abandoned dog was pregnant — very pregnant. In fact, she was ready to give birth at any moment. That’s when a vet tech named Stephanie took her in and fostered not only Melody, but her litter of six pups, yielding to their hourly feeding schedule and weening for the next three months. Not only that, but she found homes for all of them. But that’s when trouble started.
After her pups went home, Melody became really insecure, so Annie enlisted the aid of a Bill Foundation village member named Victoria, who also fostered Asha Attie. Victoria worked with Melody through her insecurity, despite Melody’s initial rejection of the dog and cat Victoria already called family. Despite the additional effort, when Annie got in touch with Victoria regarding an adoption for Melody, Victoria told Annie to tell the applicant that Melody already had a home — hers.
Annie’s own covert adoption success story revolves arund a dog named Arnold. Arnold was abandoned by his original family when they moved, and for three months the dog eluded capture, faithfully awaiting the return of his family. He was taken in by the Bill Foundation village, but it was not easy caring for him — his experience left him with severe separation anxiety. With his first foster family, Arnold bonded with a Chihuahua named Dearheart. However, Dearheart became frail with developing back conditions, and his foster family feared that Arnold, a Bulldog/Great Dane mix, would accidentally injure Dearheart. That’s when Arnold went to another foster family — and somehow managed to escape from their home.
After three weeks, Arnold was found, and a scan of his microchip reunited him with Annie to great relief. They began a course of intense training, and Arnold integrated seamlessly into her pack. It was actually Annie’s husband, James, who mentioned that Arnold was already home, and that’s when Annie became a “foster failure.”
Cooper, Melody, and Arnold … these dogs already knew they were home even if it took their human friends a little time to figure it out. We’re happy whenever any dog finds her forever family, so let’s revise the foster failure narrative — these were intentional adoptions. Intentional on the part of the dogs, that is!
What are your “covert adoption success” stories? Come on, we know you’ve got some! Tell us in the comments.
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