Friday, August 14, 2009

Emotional Disconnects

Walter is one of the sweetest kids I have ever fostered. He is a "please love me" kind of dog. Handsome, he is. He is colored like a Siberian Husky, but he is a chihuahua mix. I fostered him once before and he was adopted out. The woman who adopted him kept him more than a year and then called the ARF line and said she was ready to give him up. He had been climbing the fence and biting her neighbors. This meant to me that she had been keeping him outside most of the time by himself. He is a smart dog and he wants to belong to someone. Left alone, he would find an escape route and go looking for love. He might have been leaping on the neighbors and giving them love nips (sometimes he does that to me when he follows me down the hallway, but I have dissuaded him of this behavior). He is, in no way, a bad dog.

But some people give up on pets pretty quickly. I swear, if people could turn their kids over to agencies when the kids got just too irritating or time-consuming, the agencies would be overrun just like the pet rescue groups. "This is Mrs. Smith and I want to give John Junior to you. He keeps playing his music too loud and he has a smart mouth. I just don't have time to devote to him anymore. Can you come and get him or do I have to bring him to you?" That's the kind of calls we would get day in and day out, I can assure you.

When people want to adopt dogs they tell us how much they love animals and how devoted they are to the dogs they want -- even though they often haven't even met the dog; just seen a picture of it. They beg us for the dogs. They hound us. Then they get the dogs and some of them call us within days and want us to take the dogs back.

"The dog peed on the carpet."

"The dog scares my dog."

"The dog chases my cat."

"The dog chewed on my house slippers."

"The dog barks all the time."

"The dog growled at the postman."

Yes, people, dogs do all these things. Duh. They are animals that must be taught your rules, restrictions, etc. This takes time. They can't learn it all in a week.

Returned dogs are one of the banes of fostering and rescue volunteers. But we would much rather take them back than leave them in a home where they have become a problem instead of a family member.

I can't imagine throwing Walter aside after having him for a whole year as my baby. I am not made that way. I can't disconnect my emotions so effortlessly. I'm glad my heart isn't so hard and my psyche so jaded as that.

Slim update. He uses the doggy door now to go outside! Has not used it to come back in, but that will come in time. All good things come to you in time.

1 comment:

  1. Do rescue groups take husbands who misbehave? That would really be a growth industry.