A Post from FosterDad – December Edition

Juliana recently had her 1 year anniversary of fostering. Zabora, Baxter, Otis, and the occasional short term visitor have made this past year much different than the first few years we were together. Juliana loved all of the dogs that passed through her door. Some she handpicked, others picked her.

None of them picked me.

Don’t take this the wrong way, because I love dogs and have had a great time helping Juliana take care of these pups, but I never felt connected to these dogs at a deeper level. Juliana would have the first few days with the dog and because of our schedules we wouldn’t have much time to see each other. By the time I was able to interact with the dog, it was as if there were two sides and the dog had already chosen Juliana’s. I honestly never felt included.

And that was mostly my fault.


This changed when Juliana brought Charlie home for a week. I was able to be around the first days he was in the house, but I was also able to hang out with Charlie alone. We spent a morning together working on his hesitation with basements. We built trust and team work (AKA I gave him a lot of yummy food), and this made it easier for Juliana since I was actively engaged with the dog (not that I completely wasn’t with the others).


My point is, taking care of a dog is a group effort. From picking out a dog to training a dog everyone needs to be involved. With Christmas coming up here is an important reminder: it can be okay to give a pet as a gift only if you let the receiver pick out which pet to adopt rather than letting it a be a surprise. As much as we love to relish in the excitement of a surprise, an animal should never be a surprise. And after welcoming a new member to the family be sure to involve everyone. It’ll be better for the pet, and better for everyone else.


10 thoughts on “A Post from FosterDad – December Edition

  1. Karen Wagner

    Hey FosterDad! Glad you and Charlie were able to hang out for awhile! Thanks for helping him with his hesitation with the basement steps…you’re awesome!! Very good point about the group effort too when getting a pet…thanks for the great post! xoxo

  2. I couldn’t agree more! Most of the time, I spent the first few hours with our new foster dogs and Alex wouldn’t meet them until late in the evening after work. Not to mention I work with dogs and could bring them to work with me, and almost all of my hobbies (events, hiking, parks, etc) include dogs. It has been hard for him to build strong bonds but it’s definitely gotten better.

    • (It’s Juliana) Wow, it’s nice to hear another couple has the same sort of issue! It makes sense, it’s just hard for me to relate sometimes because I spend SO much time with each dog and fall in love with them, so I wonder why he can’t. Glad to hear it’s improving!

      • Agreed. It’s so easy for me,but I do know that he WANTS to bond with the dog, it’s just more of a challenge. When we decided to adopt Rufus, they were still figuring each other out. They definitely love each other, but it’s just a different relationship.

  3. DrW

    Great advice, Foster Dad! Pets should not be a surprise. The pet needs to pick you, as much as the new owner needs to pick the pet – excellent point. It does take a village to keep a pet happy and healthy. Thanks for being such a good Foster Dad.

  4. This is such a great reminder and thank you for sharing your point of view. Bonding takes time and I know it took me several months before I felt attached to my dog. I am so glad I stuck it out though as she has become one of my most important relationships. It’s wonderful you experienced this with Charlie!

  5. Great advice, couldn’t agree more! I’ve always thought a pet can be a gift, so long as the receiver chooses the pet, as well as everyone is on board, as foster dad suggests.

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