When is the right time to foster another dog?

Since Cosmo got adopted, we are back to three animals at our house. It’s peaceful. Quiet. Simple.

It’s not that Cosmo was a problem (far from it!). It’s just that I had two dogs requiring attention. Two dogs to walk. Two dogs to feed and let outside.

I love the challenges of fostering, of training a new dog and helping him be the best he can be. I love caring for animals in general, but it’s also tiring.

A huge amount of my energy goes towards taking care of my animals. I want it to be that way. Much of my energy is also spent towards my dog-running business and maintaining this blog. I love all these parts of my life, but it’s also nice when I don’t have to think about dogs 24/7.

Ace and I are enjoying our early morning walks without Cosmo. It’s fun to walk two dogs, but it’s nice to focus my attention on my own dog – he certainly deserves it!

Morning strolls with Ace are casual and stress free. No tension in the leash. No freaking out over a kid waiting for the school bus. No growling at dogs along fences. Just a slow-paced walk to start the day.

Josh and I are always trying to simplify our lives. We look for ways to subtract stress rather than add it.

There will be another foster dog in our future. Probably a foster cat, too. But for right now, we are enjoying the benefits of being a one-dog family again. And Ace is soaking it up!

Just as obtaining a new pet should be a decision the entire family agrees upon, fostering an animal should also be a family decision. If I had it my way I would probably always have at least one foster animal (probably two). So it’s good I have my family to keep me grounded.

I interviewed each family member and asked the question, “Do you think we should foster another dog right now?”

Here’s what they said:

Ace:

“Well … OK.”

Black lab mix wearing an choke collar

Ace is very patient. He puts up with any animal we bring into our home. He hides his stress well, and he is the best foster brother ever because he leads by example and shows the other dogs how to act. He shares his dog bed, shares his walks, shares his toys, shares the attention.

This is a lot of work for a mellow dog, and I know Ace needs a break.

Josh:

“Let’s wait a couple months.”

Man reading while wearing a hat

Josh loves animals, but he does not believe in changing his life around to meet their needs. That’s not such a bad way to look at animal care.

Josh is extremely tolerant of our foster animals. He works from home quite often, and this is extremely helpful when a new dog is adjusting to our routine. Josh has gotten used to sitting at his desk with a dog or two at his feet. This means there has been some barking while he was on a call. It even means there has been an accident or two in his office (like, a major diarrhea accident!). Josh never complains, and I am grateful for that.

Scout:

“No!”

Gray tabby cat playing with a pink feather toy

The slightest amount of change causes major stress for Scout. When I moved some books from the downstairs bookcase up to my closet, Scout was convinced the world would end. When we got our first foster cat, Scout was in puffed-up mode for about two weeks. He’s better with dogs, but still not a fan.

Scout has been through a lot with me. He’s basically seen it all by now, but change still bothers him. Scout was the first pet I adopted on my own. I think back to when it was just Scout and I in my Jamestown, N.D., apartment, and I have to thank him for putting up with my craziness. He’s a good sport.

Beamer:

“Whatevs.”

Orange tabby cat lying in the sun

If something does not directly involve food, then it does not even register on Beamer’s radar.

Out of everyone interviewed, he is the most supportive about fostering because he is so indifferent to it. He could care less if another cat is in his territory. He is not fazed by an old American Eskimo or a hyped-up pitbull. He can hold his own. If he wants the couch or the dog bed or access to the water dish, he just takes what he wants. He’s like the Honey Badger. Gotta love him for it.

So there you have it. It’s time for our foster break.

We have been fostering full time since March when we took in a little black kitty from the pound. We even had two foster animals when she and Cosmo overlapped for about two weeks.

I can’t wait for our next fostering experience. But for now, I am going to enjoy some downtime.

20 thoughts on “When is the right time to foster another dog?”

  1. This post articulates so well what I struggle with all the time! I know I will be relieved, but also sad when my current fosters go to their forever homes. They are so sweet and wonderful to have but walking three reactive, strong dogs is a much different experience than walking one!

    More than anything I feel for my own senior dog, who just wishes they would all go away 🙂 I think I am going to grant his wish for a while once they get adopted and just volunteer at the shelter a lot to get my dog rescuing fix. I always say that though…and always end up taking on a foster or two! They are hard to resist!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Sounds like we are on the same page! I do think it is important to give our own dogs some time without foster dogs around.

  2. This is so fun. I can imagine what my dog would reply with… “PLAY?!” (picturing the backyard rottweiler from ‘Over the Hedge’). Panzer is a puppy (under 2)… he needs some mellowing time.

  3. I’ve been thinking about fostering for a while and especially after we lost Image(horse) but then I was reading your blog about introducing new dogs and I realized that I have been very lucky with the dogs I house sit and bringing them into our pack and house. I’m sure it helps that I have their scent on me but still I’ve been very lucky.

    Enjoy the quiet time and also thank you for all the work you do to make dogs and people better!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      The thing with fostering is sometimes the dogs come directly from the pound and you don’t know anything about their energy/personality/or how they will react to people and dogs, etc. If your own dog/s are at all reactive, it can lead to some problems. I’m very lucky that my dog is so laid back and mellow.

  4. “Josh loves animals, but he does not believe in changing his life around to meet their needs.”

    I’m very, very new to your blog so I apologize for not knowing your history with fostering. That statement really stuck out for me, though.

    Helping others – two legged or four legged – is about making sacrifices. Sometimes you sacrifice a day, sometimes you sacrifice an hour or two of TV time, and sometimes you sacrifice a little sleep. But in the grand scheme of things, those are all very small things to sacrifice to help those in need – whether they’re four legged or two legged.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m the one who fosters. My fiance Josh goes along for the ride. He is more of the cat person. I’m the dog person. So although Josh doesn’t do much in the day-to-day care for the dogs, he is home with them when he needs to be. He puts up with the barking and the accidents and me constantly walking them and so on. That’s why we take “foster breaks.”

      Josh believes animals should fit into our lives and adjust to our schedules, not the other way around. This isn’t such a bad way to look at it, and most animals have an amazing ability to adapt.

      Still, I’m the one who feels guilty if my dog doesn’t get a daily walk.

  5. Great article! I love when someone else posts about fostering animals or the importance of adoption. Fostering animals is something I wish a lot more people did, and getting the message out is very important. It definitely takes the right person or family.

    Keep up the good work.

    Brian

  6. I’ve always wanted to foster but find the idea of not becoming too attached very difficult. Do you end up with many ‘failed’ fosters?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      The only foster I came close to adopting was my first and only foster cat Ninja. I loved her immediately. It broke my heart when she went to her new home, and they ended up giving her back. My parents ended up adopting her after that so I get to see her from time to time and I know she’s in a good home. If they hadn’t adopted her, I don’t know, I might’ve kept her! I don’t get as attached to the dogs because I know how much work is involved with two dogs. And I would not want to foster a dog if I had two dogs of my own.

  7. I love the interviews with your family members!! Very funny! I thought it was interesting that the first one you “interviewed” was Ace. He’s such a good foster brother. I’m sure he’s enjoying the extra time and attention.

    You’ll probably know it’s time to foster again when you come face to face (or see it on the internet) with that special animal in need and something tells you “this is the one.” Until that happens, enjoy…!

  8. Loved the interviews..Ace reminds me a little of my daughter’s dear departed dog, Dasia.
    We had a cat named Casey that looks just like Beamer. He was very laid back too. Scout reminds me of Wild Otto. My son named Wild Otto when he was about 6 years old. Wild Otto lived up to his name. Unfortunately he got out when company came. He was about one years old and ran out into the street and someone drove over him on purpose. A neighbor saw it happen. We never found out who the saddist was. So we didn’t get to enjoy Wild Otto for very long, but he had a lot of personality and was a joy for his short life.
    Enjoy your time without a foster.

  9. Lindsay Stordahl

    Scout can be wild at times, at least way more crazy than Beamer. Scout will get in these crazy spells where he tears around our apartment and then takes a flying leap onto our highest cabinets. Then he jumps from cabinet to cabinet. He’s a bit younger than Beamer, and definitely has a lot more energy! We like that about him, though. Just as we appreciate how docile Beamer usually is.

  10. This is exactly how I feel about fostering! I am currently on a “foster break” myself. We have two medium and large dogs and a cat and it can sometimes get a little hectic. My boyfriend feels the same way as your fiance too (it’s seriously like I wrote the post…). I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog because I sometimes feel a little guilty about taking a break, but it looks like my feelings about fostering are shared by others. I LOVE fostering, it really is so rewarding, but it can be disruptive. I still plan to foster more though! Thanks for sharing and letting me know i’m not alone. 🙂

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Whenever I’m not fostering, I wish I were. And whenever I am fostering, I think, why do I do this to myself? Because it’s worth it! But sometimes we do need a break. I’m glad you feel the same way. I admire the people who foster all the time, though.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *