Ketchikan Dog Park
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|Posted on July 31, 2013 at 12:15 PM|
"Flunking Fostering." That's what it's called at the Ketchikan Humane Society when a foster family falls in love with their temporary pet and makes it permanent. How many people flunk fostering? It's probably about twenty percent. It's happened at our house. That's how we got Rocket Man, who was rented out here in town for stud services and whose primary value seemed to be the money he brought to his owners. Shut in a kennel almost all the time, he came to us emaciated, with infected teeth, ears, and nails, and urine scald all over his feet and belly. He was scared spitless of our other dogs, of feet, of hands, and most of all, of us.
We had no intention of keeping Rocket. Our job was to nurse him back to health, teach him about house training, socialize him, and then allow him to be adopted, where he would live out his life making some other family happy. One day, as we were watching him chase another one of our dogs across the grass in the sunshine, dodging in and out of the shrubs, ears back and tail out, and practically grinning from ear to ear, it hit us: We love this dog. This dog has already found his forever home.
Now, here's the thing: we have had ten dogs pass through our home since January, and probably about thirty in the last three years, and we have thought that about every single one of them at some point during their stay. You get attached. You can't help it. When you invest time and love in teaching these little strangers about living in a normal home and fitting into normal family life, you can start to think that they would really only be happiest with you. You look with a tiny bit of suspicion on the people who apply. It's hard to see them go to someone else. Even when you know that the KHS does a really good job screening applicants, even when you know that once an applicant has been approved, the home is going to be a good one, even when you know that your job is to help make a wonderful pet for someone else's family and there's no way you can keep them all, there's still that little hurt in your heart when you say goodbye.
But you know what? That's okay. That little hurt means you did a good job. You gave that animal love. You fed it the food the KHS provided, you took it to the vet for the appointments the KHS set up, you monitored its health. If necessary, you took it places where it would learn to behave properly around people and enjoy them. You taught it what it needed to know to fit into another home where it would be cherished and where it would give joy in return. You were a good foster parent.
We always need good foster homes. If you think you'd like to try fostering for the Ketchikan Humane Society, contact us via our website or email us at <[email protected]> and we'll tell you all you need to know about doing this most important job.
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