One day I received a call asking if I would foster a young male dog who was not in a good situation. He was part of an unexpected/unwanted litter of puppies. He was given to someone but returned after a few months. Unfortunately, he ended up in a yard with older, big, mean dogs who were not kind to him.
The owner decided to remove Dallas, or he might be seriously hurt. He was in the process of taking Dallas to the Animal Shelter when I received the call. When he arrived at our home, he had scars all over his body.
Right from the start, we could see what a kind soul he was. And he was funny and would do the cutest things. He loved to chew up cardboard and thick paper. When I would bring in the mail, he would look at me with his puppy dog eyes because he wanted the postcards, magazines, anything that he could tear up. Picking up the shreds of paper off the floor didn't bother me, and it entertained Dallas and was better than him tearing up the sofa or a good pair of shoes.
I was responsible for the entire adoption process, which included posting his Bio and photos online, screening applicants, and meeting with potential adopters.
Here is the Bio that I posted for Dallas:
Meet Dallas! There's never a dull moment with this fun-loving guy around. He loves to play, follow you around, take your sock, and kiss you. Dallas was born to a stray mom and dad and didn't have a lot of human interaction as a young puppy. But he has quickly adapted and likes making friends. Very curious about the world around him and about discovering new things. He has a sweetness about him that is undeniable! He does the cutest things, although sometimes he can be sneaky! His foster mom has fallen in love with him! Age: 5 months old.
The first applicant I approved had recently transferred to Texas for a new job, and this was his first time owning a dog. He was so excited to adopt Dallas, and I thought that Dallas would be a great "man's best friend" for him. But the very next morning, my phone rang, and it was the adopter letting me know that he was on his way back with Dallas. His exact words to me were, "I didn't know puppies were so much work." No big deal, right? It happens, and it's better that he realizes that it's not going to work out sooner than later.
The next family to adopt Dallas was a family of four. A husband, wife, and twin boys. The boys were so excited about Dallas. The dad repeatedly told the boys to settle down. They were just happy, and Dallas loved it. They took him home, and I felt good about where Dallas would be living. However, the very next day, I got a phone call and was told that the dad was bringing him back because "the boys weren't listening."
This time his return was hard to witness. First, Dallas came in with his head down. It was upsetting to see him so sad. Then, slowly, he walked into his kennel and laid down. I brought him his blanket and a stuffed animal and tried to comfort him, but it didn't help.
The following week I received an excellent application for Dallas. The family wanted to meet him, but they made it very clear that they would also meet another dog; therefore, they would not be making their decision right away. The kids were calm and quiet. I couldn't get a read on whether they liked him. Dallas acted on his best behavior, which was usual for him during meet-and-greets. After a while, the family thanked us and left. I hoped they would choose to adopt Dallas, but I wasn't getting my hopes up. A few minutes later, our doorbell rang. It was the dad. He said that when the family drove away, everyone expressed how much they liked Dallas, and they didn't make it to the end of the block before deciding to come back and adopt him.
I was happy for Dallas, and I got a little teary-eyed as he jumped into the van with his tail wagging, plopping down between two kids as if he knew what was happening.
If you've ever thought of fostering, it's probably crossed your mind that you might not be able to let the pet go? It is the hard part of being a dog foster. First, you care for them, and then you watch them go. Sometimes I cry. I've learned to focus on the bigger picture, and that is, finding a home for a pet that might have ended up in the shelter and possibly euthanized.
It's been five years since he was adopted. I still check in on him, and he is looking great. Big (I think part Great Dane?), healthy, with a shiny black coat. He is wanted and loved.
The photo below is one that I took while I was fostering Dallas. You can see some of his scars. Fortunately, his fur grew and covers most of them now.