I’ve been asked how I can possibly take in a rescue dog only to have it leave again. Here’s a brief explanation of why and how I do it, and why it’s important for me.
- I foster dogs because I can; I live in a house that I own and don’t have to worry about a landlord, what type of breed it is, etc.
- My house has a fenced in backyard, and there’s a doggie door in the back to access it, so dogs can come and go as they please and romp around as much as they want outside
- I have a “senior” beagle that isn’t thrilled when a new dog enters the house, but she tolerates them (she doesn’t pick a fight with them)
- Most importantly, it means I’m saving a life
The process isn’t easy; when I take in a foster dog, I’m careful to keep my dog as the alpha in the pack. She doesn’t like the intruders but she tolerates them because she doesn’t have much choice. Beagles are naturally good-natured and easy-going, as a breed, which is (unfortunately) why they’ve been used so much as lab testing animals.
I know that it’s short-term so I spend my time assuring the dog, so it knows it’s in a safe place. It can take a week for a dog to calm down and not be in panic mode all the time, especially if it’s been out on the street, on its own, or abandoned.
There’s also training involved; if they’re not yet house-trained, that’s critical. And there’s socialization with humans as well as my other dog. Often, when they’re feeling more safe, they push boundaries (a bit like teenagers) and need to be disciplined (saying no, making them sit, etc.). It’s not all happiness and dog kisses.
As its personality starts to bloom, it becomes quite clear that the dog isn’t a good longterm “fit” in my house, for any number of reasons. For example, a puppy that has boundless energy doesn’t work with my senior dog. So keeping the dog permanently isn’t in the cards and I’m fine with it moving on to its “furever home.”
As one of the plaques at my vet’s office says, “Saving one dog won’t save the world, but it means everything in the world to that dog.”
I’ve always felt an obligation to save animals, which doesn’t just apply to dogs. I donate yearly to many wildlife and environmental organizations, to save other species, too. Whether it’s preserving their habitat, helping to eliminate wildlife/human conflict, or moving animals from cruel situations to sanctuaries, I feel compelled to make a difference.
Why am I talking about this in a work blog? I know that Gen Z and Millennials want to make a difference in the world. They’re worried and concerned about the state of the world they’ve inherited, with global warming and other issues. I feel the same way; I always have. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons I can relate to younger workers and empathize with their concerns.
I hope that what I do for a living, creating marketing strategies for my clients and mentoring and coaching younger marketers, makes a difference. And I know that the fostering I do for dog rescue groups really does save a life. It’s something I can control and there are results that I can see, as dogs realize they’re “safe” and loved and are placed into loving homes.
I will continue to foster for as long as I can. And I’m happy to answer any questions about this process if it’s something you’d be interested in doing, too.