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Rescue Dogs, How Do You Part

4876 Views 51 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  Timber1
This is very pre-mature, but I still need to ask. My rescue dog, Sheba showed up on Saturday from Alabama, and was scheduled to be killed a few days later.

The dog is a female, fourteen months old. She was shy with me and a aggressive toward my 2 year old GSD. But after only five days she has settled in and even on day one was very affectionate toward humans, including myself.

Just a few thoughts and comments. This dog was almost killed, but there is is no reason why she would not bond with a family or person. She is not perfect, but is so affectionate must would be attracted to her.

For the rescue folks, how do you let go. I want to keep her, but realize that stops me for helping another dogs.

Just a bit of a vent, because I assume there are thousands of other dogs in the same situation. So when you see rescue dog posts don't automatically assume they are difficult to deal with. I suspect the reverse is true in most cases. And in these cases trust comes first, not the Alpha Dog stuff. Most of these animals are grateful that someone extended a helping hand.
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I am the ultimate foster failure. Of all the dogs I have ever take in (all rescues from shelters or slated for euthanasia for other reasons) I have only ever had one leave me, for what turned out to be a perfect forever home.

I have 5 rescues in my house at the moment. All came with baggage, some adopted within hours of being euthanised. Do I have a perfectly behaved household - err nope - they all bark at strangers going past the house, training takes a long time, and my king size bed is considered fair game. Is it worth it - oh yes, I would never consider getting a puppy from a breeder, give me a "reject" any day - no dog is beyond hope.

I may not be able to change the world, but hope that I can make a difference in the lives of the few individuals I am honoured to share my life with.

Spirit, Eli, Duncan, Drift and Sam
Angels Bonnie, Shep, Bram, Caoimhe, Feidhlimidh and Jim
Joanne, I said it before and I will say it again You are an angel! I agree with you 100% Once they are in my house there is no letting go. Mine came with alot of baggage. Dogs that other people gave up on. You are so right no dog is beyond hope. I guess its something we are born with.These feelings that we can make a difference for the unwanted and abused.
I don't have any foster failures. I took them all in with the intention to let them go. I thought of myself as a sort of halfway house for them. I knew if I kept one then I couldn't save any more.

So that's my advice--love her and treat her well but remember that she's a foster dog. And don't think that someone else can't give her a good enough home. I think a lot of people get stuck in that mindset and can't give them up because of that.

I screened my potential adopters very, very carefully. All of my former fosters are living wonderful lives now!
sorry, another foster failure here. five dogs, three rescues, last one by default, but knew the minute he set foot in my house he'd not be leaving. live with baby gates, puppy pen fences, eat in shifts, out in shifts...don't recommend it cause then you can't help another one, but didn't seem to have any choice in the matter myself. once they enter my life they're mine. myoung says it's a control issue.
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Quote:I don't have any foster failures
I don't either - well, not officially. I do have a GSD boy who may not ever go anywhere but that's because of his issues, not because I decided to keep him.

It's not easy to let them go. In fact, it kills me. Each one that goes takes a little piece of my heart with them. Sometimes I'm mostly fine, sometimes I cry, I always worry. But I do it because if I didn't then the next little whoever that needed me would die, and I know she/he deserves a chance just as much as the one I don't want to give up now.

When I leave a placement, many of the adopters will ask "isn't it hard?" (This happens especially when the dog I just placed is wrapped around my ankles trying to go with me). And I have to admit that it's both the very worst and the very best part of being a foster parent.

Quote: So when you see rescue dog posts don't automatically assume they are difficult to deal with... Most of these animals are grateful that someone extended a helping hand.
You're right - there are many many many many dogs who just need a place to stay and an introduction to the good life and they're fine, perfectly placeable, minimal issues. They just need that chance, and that's what fostering gives them.

I'm glad your little girl is doing better and being such a good ambassador for rescue!
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They are guests in my house. That is my mindset when they come in. They are guests and when their new home comes along they will leave and after a while another guest will visit. There was only one who I seriously entertained thoughts of keeping, but he just didn't do well enough with my senior cats. I insist on meeting their new parents and seeing their new home myself before adoption. I don't think I could ever do a long distance adoption.
Oh now you post this. I too am fostering for the first time and I am 95% sure I have found his 4ever home. The first person I had a homevisit with my heart sank, knowing this could be it, teary eyed I went. I always have had the intention of taking care of his health issue and finding a home. That visit left me feeling no not a good fit, but I had to set back for a few days and go over every detail. Was I looking at it with clear eyes. I decided my gut instinct was right and we both mutually agreed it was not a match made in heaven.
This new family is everything I could want for him, yes I will have a heavy heart and cry but....he deserves the best and it is not here. My foster and my gsd do not get along.
I love my Harley, no one will ever replace his goofy antics and the love he gives me. But I can surely know what he will give his new family. And for that I am happy for him and happy for his new family.
Fingers crossed!!
Harley of White Paws GSD Rescue
Twice in 2006, my dog and I had the privilege of being a temporary emergency foster family for dogs rescued by our local GSD rescue (

The dogs just needed a foster home over the holiday weekends, until one of the more permanent foster families got back from their vacation. Because I knew that it would be a <u>very</u> temporary situation, I was able to prevent myself from developing any attachment!

So I loved and welcomed each dog as an honored houseguest, as has already been mentioned by ninhar.

My own dog Kukla had a <u>terrific</u> time--both of our guest dogs were friendly and <u>very</u> well-socialized!

Anyway, here's my point!
As I was getting each dog ready to be picked up by the transporter, I said to him, "You are no longer mine, but I will always be yours."

(It's prettier in German: "Du bist nicht mehr mein, aber ich bin immer dein.")
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I have to remind myself that I am helping shape a new family member for some lucky family. The foster home, in my opinion, helps a dog on its first step of recovery to become a loving pet for life....I know how you feel though. Your heart breaks when you see them, you cry when you think of what they have endured, you clean them, love them, teach them basic comands...nurture them back to physical and emotional health and then you have to let them go and trust that their new adoptive home will give them the love you know they deserve. But remember, most people are not prepared to deal with a dog that cries through the night......has accidents in the house or tears up shoes. They may not understand why it may cower in a corner or bark constantly. That does not mean that they could not do it, but sometimes a time out to recover is best for the animal AND the prospective adoptive home. A rescue dog may do all of these things because they have never been taught other ways. I feel I am able to have the patience and love to help take the rough edges off the poor baby. I am no expert, and I learn something new with every animal that touches my life. I feel I can help a family learn what an absolute joy a german shepherd can be. I love this breed.

Nothing makes me madder than someone who gets one of these beautiful animals because they think they are smart and somehow just magically come from their momma all trained. then they end up chained and neglected in a back yard, or just cast out to try and survive on their own...

A rescue looks at matching a dog to a family.......they are screened, the dogs are microchipped, the new families are questioned and asked again and again what it is about the breed that they feel they want one. It is not foolproof, but if I let a dog go to a home.......I do what I can to help this family understand what an oportunity they have and what a treasure they are getting. The whole rescue organization helps make the thing a success and ensure that only the best homes are chosen.

I know its hard..........and a little of you leaves with the dog you have loved and nursed.....but a life was saved and made better, and a family can be made complete with these beautiful animals....A little boy gets the best friend of a lifetime, a teenage girl gets the confidant she needs, a friend finds their home..For me it is the most rewarding thing I think I have ever done.
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oh maureen, i'm so happy that you think you've finally found that harley-boy his forever home. i've been lucky, my three rescues are much less demanding than the two shepherds. the shep-ster is the best, totally trained, bomb proof temperment, i simply cannot understand how his former mom could have dropped him off at the pound and walked away. he doesn't look for her anymore like he used to, i think he's decided that i'll do. soon as my old guy cinderfella (who is in what we call pre-hospice), goes to the bridge i'll have a spot open and will try the foster gig again, hopefully with more success.
Originally Posted By: Kuklasmom I said to him, "You are no longer mine, but I will always be yours."
That is so very beautiful.

My only experience is pulling and holding a dog for four days. (I had also visited him at the shelter for a month or so before hand)

I loved this dog even before bringing him into my home, but because of his medical issues I knew I could not afford to keep him.

I did cry for days when he left me but I know it was the best thing for both of us. There are so many dogs that need help, I hope knowing that you will be able to help many more dogs in the future will make it easier for you to part with this girl.
As an intake coordinator, this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

The two hardest days for fostering are the day they come in and the day they leave.

I have had over 30 fosters in the last four years, some for weeks, some for months (and a couple going on a year or more). I have never adopted any (yet). (Though I am considering it now, due to the fact that I have lost my two personal dogs to age related illnesses over the last couple of years - but I digress.)

Every time I adopt out a foster, I am asked the question, how can you let them go? I always ask, how can I not? There are SO many more out there to save. Every new foster dog I get that I fall in love with, I think, you would be dead if I kept my last foster and didn't have room for you.

The thing to remember is that the current foster in your house is not the only special dog that deserves a good home, many more are dying in shelters for lack of room. If you can find your foster a good home, you can save so many more.

I am an intake coordinator for a rescue. The biggest issue any rescue has is foster space. The main reason we lose foster homes is due to our foster homes adopting foster dogs and not being able to foster any more. If I still had every foster home that no longer has room, we would be able to save most of the white shepherds we are notified about.

So, I always have mixed emotions when I am told by a foster that they can't let this one go, and oh by the way, I don't have room for another foster. I know it means no place to go with future dogs. But I don't want to make them feel guilty and I want to be happy for them and the dog. It's especially hard when it's a very adoptable dog, let's face it, fosters often end up with long term fosters as it is due to some dogs not being as easy to find the right homes for.

Anyway, just my two cents as an intake coordinator. It is so critical to remember the role of a foster is to be a half way house for the dog as was mentioned earlier. That you are doing this for the dogs, even if it is tough on you to let them go. So, I guess I'm saying I try to put the good of the dogs over my own hurt feelings about letting them go.

I will say it gets easier. Once you find a good home and let your foster go and you start getting updates and pictures, it makes the decision easier to live with. And by then, you are knee deep in helping the next dog. And the more you help find homes for, the more you want to help, and it does get easier.

And as anyone who has done a lot of fostering will tell you, there are some fosters who are easier to say good bye to than others
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Thank you. I just got Sheba last Saturday and the dog has bonded so quickly I hate to think of letting her go.

But, being retired and reasonably healthy, I could foster many more dogs.
I was not sure where to post this, so figured I would with someone that has rescue dogs.

Was the following smart, stupid or you really need to decide based on each dog individually.


helping Sheba has nothing to do with how I feel about the dog, I love her but that is beside the point. However, it has everything to do with how Sheba feels about Timber and I, and you can tell by the affection and look in her eyes that she feels at home.

My oldest daughter stopped over this morning and after we played with the dogs her first comment was dad, you are going to keep this dog. I told her I couldn't because Sheba will make a good home for her adopted family, and I would like to help rescue more dogs.

I tried the long line stuff this morning, and all Sheba did was get horribly dangled up and upset. Well, darn it, I will be honest. I let her off lease, and just as I did that a coyote ran by. My neighbor's lab took off after the coyote, Timber stayed and so did Sheba. You may not approve of what I did, but Sheba is a homer when it comes to my house.

Anyway, there are so many books about dogs, and several about the German Shepherd breed. Most are contradictory and lord knows I read a few too many before I got Timber.

However, there is one that is quite different and I would like to send you a copy, if you have time to read it. The bottom line is no matter how much freedom you give a dog, the animal needs to accept you, not the opposite.
The title is "Merle's Door."

Please forward your mailing address, again, and you should receive the book next week.

I know I promised you I would not let Sheba off Lease without your permission, and for that I apologize. However, she wants to play just like Timber and Abby. And despite all the advice I have been given never to let her off lease, I know Sheba, and she will never run away.
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I am a new foster mom, In fact will be picking up my first foster today..

There was some great information here today. I will keep coming back to this post to re-read many times..My sister has been in rescue for over 6 years.
Yes she has kept a few..
Her advice to me was remember by letting them go, sad as you feel...You are helping save another life that would have been lost.

I look forward to fostering for many years to come. With this in mind I know I have to be able to let them go to contuine to help other lives be saved...

Oh do I have much to learn...

I love this place everyone gives such wonderful advice . Thank you for all the great information and point of views..
The kicker with my rescue dog is she is bonding too quickly and to closely to our family. No one, except the breeder I got my permanent GSD from, Timber, said it was OK to let the rescue, Sheba, off lease. My breeder, who also takes rescues told me 90 percent of the time, her rescues are allowed to run and play off lease.

Sheba, is my first rescue, so I suspect your sister and many other can provide more insight.

please send me a personal E Mail. I am also working with Nancy and White Paws rescue. On her summaries were are referred to as Sheba and Chuck. Not all rescues can be as easy as Sheba to deal with, so because I am a novice I think they gave me the easiest dog.

Anyway, would like to meet you.

One other note, Sheba will be adopted, albeit she will be hard to part with; but if she is ever returned she will have a permanent home with Timber and I.
I have had only one foster that I sobbed like a baby when he left. If I had had him for another week, I would probably never have let him go. I now foster Aussies, which I like, but they aren't my breed, so it's much easier not to get too attached. I'm lucky in that I get to meet the potential adopters and can say yes or no to them. So far, I've been very happy with the homes my fosters have gone to and that makes it so much easier to keep going.

I must say that my current foster puppy is very tempting. Here's hoping he goes quickly
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Originally Posted By: Kuklasmom...I said to him, "You are no longer mine, but I will always be yours."

(It's prettier in German: "Du bist nicht mehr mein, aber ich bin immer dein.")
Thank you, Kuklasmom. That's a great way to think about fostering.
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