How Dog Fostering Can Break Your Heart!


Knowing that I’m in and out of my local shelter, a friend of my husband asked me to keep my eyes peeled for a “cute little dog for a cute little girl” – his five-year-old daughter. I spotted a great candidate, and brought her home to foster her until I could evaluate whether she would be appropriate for a family with young children.

I know that any dog I bring home from the shelter is going to live with me until I find him or her a perfect home. I knew it wouldn’t take long to find this darling girl a home, even if she didn’t work out for the family who asked me to look. In addition to being smart and confident, she is affectionate and snuggly. I gave the family my evaluation – that she would make a great little family dog – and they agreed to take her. But the custody change would take place in a couple of weeks, so she could be spayed and recover from the surgery, and so they could take a week-long vacation.

But oh my! How difficult it was to actually hand her over to her new family! I’ve fostered about five times now, and I’ve always been happy to see a dog go to a terrific home. But somehow, this little pup pulled my heartstrings like no other pup has so far. We really bonded, and I adored her. I spent almost two hours at the family’s home, going over all the things the puppy knew – the things I had taught her! – and making sure they had everything she needed to be safe and comfortable. Then I had to practically run out the door and drive quickly away so they wouldn’t see me burst into tears! I cried for an hour after leaving her, stopped long enough to have a nice phone conversation with the dad about how things went after I left, and then cried on and off again for the next two days. I miss that pup!

Happily, her new family seems to love her as much as I did. The little girl named her Belle, after her favorite Disney heroine, and Belle sleeps on the little girl’s bed. But I still don’t think I can foster again for a long time.


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