Bittersweet

I typically do not post on the weekends, but since I skipped out yesterday, I figured that I owed you all one today! 🙂

I will keep it short & sweet, but I wanted to let everyone know that Georgia has her very first meet-and-greet tomorrow! We will be traveling a few hours away to do a home visit simultaneously, so Georgia will have the opportunity to meet the family’s 7-year-old son, female pit bull, and cats as well! I am very excited, as the family seems to be a wonderful fit for our girl. They have experience with pit bulls and the fostering process, and they live on a very large piece of property… perfect for long hikes and family time outside!

Blanket-head

At the same time, I need some help here. I have to admit that I am also a little bit nervous! I have never done this before, and I want to make sure that I show Georgia in the best possible light. For a pooch that can be easily overwhelmed by new situations, how do you other fosters approach introductions with prospective adoptive families? Georgia still has a tendency to jump on new people, although she has improved dramatically in this area. The family is aware of that, and told me that they have the same issue with their other dog! Nevertheless, it still takes Georgia a bit of time to trust, and to really let her guard down. I am worried that she won’t be able to relax enough to show this family her huge heart and sweet personality, which would thus make them fall desperately in love with her! Any advice?

Every day I’m snugglin’

Finally, I am starting to have foster-doubts. You foster families out there have got to know what I mean… she is our first foster, and of course we are attached! However, I find myself worrying more about her than I am about myself. Of course I will miss her, but what concerns me most is the level of trust she has built with us. It took a few weeks for her to truly let down her guard, and now that she has, she is flourishing. I know I may be anthropomorphizing here, but I am just so worried that she is going to feel abandoned by us. That she is going to wonder what she did wrong to make us lose interest in her. More importantly, will this make her take longer to trust her new family? Georgia has been bounced around so much (we are her THIRD foster home!) and I worry that this might be the final straw for her.

I hope that I am just being overly dramatic and reading into this way too much. In fact, I would love it if you would tell me that I am being crazy… Georgia is a fabulous dog, and if she had become best friends with Tonka & Gaige, I’m pretty sure that there is no way we could have given her up. But while they all get along well, and there have been no scuffles, it just does not seem to be a love affair between any of them. I want Georgia to find the perfect home for her, and I do not believe that we are it. I just hope she can find a family that sees her for who she is: perfections, flaws, and all. I hope that they will love her for it, and embrace a lifestyle that can ensure her success.

I could really use some advice from our blogging family right now! How difficult was it for you to give up your first foster? What was your most heart-breaking goodbye? Do you have any tips for successful adoption introductions? And please, tell me that she won’t miss me…

17 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. I’ve not fostered before but I’ve seen more than once the pains and joys that foster families experience when they find the right home for their pet. Based on that alone my advice to you is to try and be as relaxed as you can and let Georgia be herself and shine in the spotlight. (I know this is much easier said than done.)

  2. I would recommend asking them to have all their dogs crated or away while you bring Georgia in to do the home visit. Either that or leave her in the car while you get the tour and talk to the family. But let the people met Georgia first and give them some time to bond. Then have everyone regroup outside for a long pack walk. The most important thing to remember is don’t rush it and don’t be nervous. The meet and greet is very important and that’s my best advice. Take your time and tell them what you want to happen first.

    Your first foster will always be special. If the adoption goes through, most people exchange numbers and become facebook friends so they receive regular updates. Don’t feel like you’ll never see her again, you’ll see pictures of her enjoying her new life and that will make it all worthwhile.

    And she will miss you, but only for a short time. She will have years and years with her new family. She will become happy, comfortable, confident, and know she is home. ❤

    • This is wonderfully said. I am always a disaster when I lose fosters, but things return to normal shortly after and I receive updates from a few of them. It’s always worth it in the end. I wll try to remember your words when I start meeting families for Sophie!!

  3. I started fostering when i was 13. Obviously the foster dogs came to my parents house where there was already 5 other kids, 2 adults another dog & the family cat. Not all the dogs felt comfortable being thrown into such diversity right away, but they had no other option but to accept it. I remember bringing my very first foster home. I was so excited! His name was Fox & he was a 2yr old neutered gsd mix that was picked up as a stray from center twp. He didn’t trust people that was for sure. He instantly glued himself to the family dog Major. Major was able to show Fox not all humans are bad. Slowly but surly, Fox learned to trust me & our bond was one that could not be broken. Over the months I feared that Fox wasn’t going to be adoptable. Yes he trusted me, but that was it. By the grace of God I found Fox the best home a foster mom would want her dog to go too! I’m not going to say it was an easy process. There was many tears shed, but I knew in my heart once Fox had a permanent home that would make room for another dog that could be taken off the streets & another life saved. Although so much has changed with me since I had Fox 8 or so years ago I was actually found on Facebook 2wks ago from his mom. She invited me to visit. I was extremely nervous & anxious hoping Fox would some how remember me. Needless to say I had major butterflies!! Once i saw Fox walk towards me I could tell he was a little hesitant but he inhaled my scent like he had a brief memory. He didn’t get excited& run around, he didn’t start whining, but he so calmly climbed up in the couch beside me licked my face 2-3 times then laid down. As I tried to hold back tears I turned to his mom & her mouth was wide opened with the look of disbelief. She then preceded to tell me for as long as Fox has been with them he has NEVER even let another stranger pet him!! I felt my heart pounding with pride. Fox did remember, & it was like he was saying thank you friend. Steph, what you’re doing for Georgia is saving her life. Fostering isn’t about us. Its so hard not to get attached to everyone you bring home. Its ok to cry when you see her walk away from you. Just no she is starting her new permanent home thanks to you. Ive had many many dog/puppies walk through the same door Fox did entering into the unknown. All 26 of my fosters were successfully adopted. However Fox will always have a special place in my heart, as will Georgia with you. I hope everything works out for her & this new family is hers forever. Good luck& I’m looking forward to reading about a new foster soon!!!!

    • Gina, I had no idea you had done all of that… that is wonderful! I agree that fostering is not about us… that’s why I said that what I am more concerned about is whether or not she is going to feel abandoned. Of course I will miss her, but what is hardest is that I cannot truly explain to her that she has been nothing but a wonderful foster pup, and that us leaving her is actually a gift, not a punishment.

      • Ugh that is always my biggest fear. I’m so glad that there are people that understand. My friends that don’t understand always just say “Chelsea why don’t you keep the dog if it’s hurting you so bad” but it’s not that easy. They may be scared for awhile, but they will soon be a family dog for EVER 🙂 (I know I’ve already commented, but I totally understand your pain. Its nice to know there are people I can talk to next time I’m dreading meeting a family- even tho thats what a foster parent should be wishing for!!)

  4. We have not fostered because mom can’t imagine giving a dog up, even to a good family, but I know fostering is a wonderful thing to do. You just have to use your best judgement and if the dog that the family has now is happy and healthy then they are probably a good family and if Georgia likes them and their dog you should give it a try. That would be our advice.

  5. Definitely have the dogs meet on “neutral” territory first. No matter how dog-friendly a dog may be, sometimes meeting in their home can lead to issues. As for her jumping issues, I really wouldn’t worry about it. Most dog savvy people can handle an excited dog and they seem like they already totally understand this behavioral “issue”.

    Also, I totally understand your feelings about Georgia feeling abandoned. I foster the most wonderful pit/pointer mix and that was fearful of everything. I was so nervous about bringing him for his meet-and-greet and leaving him there! I thought for sure he would have a mental breakdown as he was my shadow for a good two months. However, it took less than 24 hrs for the handsome dude to bond with his new mom, haha. That’s the wonderful thing about dogs – they have so much love to spread around!

    Good luck on your meet-and-greet. I’ve read so much about Georgia through your blog, and I’m sure she’ll be a hit 🙂

  6. I was in a similar position with Shaka because she showed lack of trust with people I feared she would not bond with another person. And she adored my dogs so much, I did not want to let her go. But she did fall in love with her new person and the happy look on her face made it all worth it.

    I would recommend going on a nice walk with the family and their dog before just having her go right in the house. You could ask them to ignore her at first if that would help her ease in. Or you could ask them ahead of time to have a handful of treats each and they could ask her to sit to help with the jumping.

    I brought my dogs when Shaka me her new momma because she was very dependent on them, but it does not sound like Georgia is this way. We went on a walk and she gave Shaka treats along the way…I was completely ditched as her human confidant:)

    I hope it works out, good luck!

  7. My sister had to give us her dog that was utterly devoted to her, he would cry when she went into the bathroom… the dog is a male older lab, had been with her for several yrs after she took him in from someone else, He was and is a neurotic dog and definitely ( or so it seemed a one person dog). She had some circumstances where she was moving and couldn’t have the dog. We have 2 other labs, one old, one young and a cat. When he first came to live with us, we thought he and she would never get over the separation and we worried he wouldn’t adapt to our wild animal household. Well, 1 and 1/2 yrs later, the dog is flourishing here, no longer a one person dog, he even has come to love my husband (prior to this, the dog had a reputation for just liking women). My point here is of course, most of the times, the animals adapt, when there is so much love surrounding and acceptance surrounding them. I also know the people that this dog is possibly being adopted to, I have actually worked with her and find them to be wonderful loving responsible respectful citizens who love God, country and animals.

  8. Looks like you are getting great advice already. Hopefully this home is a suitable match for Georgia but, if not, you obviously love her and she’s happy with you, so nothing worse than a good day trip and a visit to a new place. Don’t put pressure on yourself. If this home isn’t right, the perfect one will come along.
    I see earlier comments suggesting the people meet Georgia first, without other pets and then introduce the other dogs outside of the house, on neutral ground. I would go with this option. I might also suggest that, as Georgia has trust issues, you encourage the potential adopters to simply talk to you, in her presence, without paying her too much attention. She might feel crowded and over-whelmed otherwise. If you are simply chatting, with her nearby, there should be less to frighten her.
    Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to the updates, no matter what they may be. Trust your gut with the potential home.

  9. The hardest part of fostering for me is the self doubt. I always feel like they’re going to feel abandoned and confused. You will have to have faith that if you pick a great family she will flourish with them as much as she has with you. And this will be her last move. It’s hard and scary. I always wonder if I’m doing more damage than good, but that can’t be true. You have helped her grow and you will have helped find her her new home. People always tell me that on some level the dogs will feel this. In end I always force myself to go thru with it simply because I want the opportunity to help another, and 3 dogs is our limit. Someday she will thank you 🙂 I hope her meeting went well!! I find that I algae too judgemental with families, and that’s hard, but in the end I have to look at whether they’ll love my foster baby, and whether it will be a good life for the dog. If so, then it will all work out :-). Also ask if they will send you updates. That always makes it do worth it for me. Good luck!! I’m with ya. I always bawl my eyes out.

  10. Hope it went well! Meeting on neutral territory is best. We try to tell the potential adopters a lot about the dog – the good and what they need to work on. If it is the right home, the dog’s imperfections won’t scare them away. I did also direct his adopter to my blog so she could get a better picture of what he was like on a normal basis. If it is a dog that is slow to warm up, sometimes you just have to explain the dog really well – their initial hesitance, warming up process, and especially what they are like once they settle in. Rusty is slow to warm up to people, slow to trust, and we had him for a very long time, so his owner and I e-mailed about once a week when he was adopted to discuss his progress and ways to help him overcome little obstacles he faced. We have gotten to see him again but waited a couple months until he was fully settled and by that point he had definitely made the transition from shy and nervous to his usual happy self. The important thing was finding someone who could see through the nervousness, was willing to give him time to warm up, and would enjoy his personality once he spent some time getting comfortable.

    If we are meeting at a park and not at the vet, my preference is to go for a walk while we discuss the dog and have the potential adopter be the one to walk the dog. I also try to show any commands or tricks the dog knows, since key words and hand gestures can vary. Gambit goes along for the actual adoption if the foster is his playmate – we didn’t do that with our first foster and he got very mopey. He seems to do better if he can see that his buddy is being handed off to another person than when a dog just leaves with us and never comes back.

  11. Pingback: One-Year Anniversary | And Foster Makes Five

  12. I have a meet n greet for my first foster dog tomorrow. Don’t think I’ll get much sleep tonight. She was so scared when I got her a month ago and her sweet little happy face makes me cry as I write this. Why does something good have to be so painful?

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