I knew I couldn’t foster…

I knew that I’d be a terrible foster parent because I would fall in love with the dogs and never be able to give them up. I knew it would break my heart to let go of a little gal or fellow with whom I’d bonded, but I really wasn’t wanting to get a new dog myself, so I was better off not participating at all rather than being put in that dilemma.

So I tried not to think of all of the many dogs in need, knowing (or hoping) that other people would step up to do that work. Instead, I volunteered to do my part by helping with transports and home visits. And I participated in the fund–raisers to add my financial support. And occasionally I’d pledge money to help with the medical needs of some particularly poignant little dog.

One adorable little fellow named Frisbee caught my eye one day. He was in a shelter, unavailable for adoption because he was heartworm positive. I made a generous pledge toward the cost of his heartworm treatment, payable to the rescue organization that would pull him and give him that chance. I knew that Frisbee, being so cute and so young, would have a terrific life once the heartworm disease was resolved. I imagined the love and joy he would someday bring to his adoptive family, just as my adopted dog has brought to me. 

A few days later I didn’t see Frisbee on the website anymore so I called the shelter to find out which rescue group had pulled him, wanting to know who to send my money to. The shelter told me that Frisbee hadn’t been pulled. He had been euthanized because no rescue group spoke up for him and the shelter needed the space for other incoming dogs. He had been killed not because his condition was untreatable nor because of lack of funds, but simply because there was no one willing to offer him a small space in their home for the few weeks it would take him to go through treatment. Frisbee was just three years old.

I admit it. I cried. I cried for Frisbee. And I cried because I was one of the people who didn’t offer him a safe space to get well. I cried because I realized that my worry that I would love a foster dog too much was what ultimately killed him.

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From Confessions of a Former Ordinary Person, © 2017 New Rattitude, Inc.