Guest Post: “What Fostering Has Taught Me About Dating”

As if you didn’t see this guest post coming from my friend Sarah as she cares for her first foster! She’s sarcastic, funny and a great writer, so I left the topic up to her. Check out what she’s got to say.

Hi all! Sarah, foster mother of Jack, stepping in for a guest blog. As Juliana has mentioned before, not only is this my first time fostering, it’s my first time taking care of a dog period. I grew up in a household obsessed with our cats; they were given complete lay of the land as we watched their little personalities with amusement. I’ve always loved any and all animals (I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with pigs, goats, monkeys, sloths and most of all, sea otters), but specifically have always envisioned myself with both cats and dogs when I moved out of home.

The decision to foster didn’t take much time or hemming and hawing. I knew I wasn’t quite settled enough in my life to adopt a dog and make that 15-year commitment, but I was settled enough to provide a loving temporary home for a little furball who needed it. I live in a clean, big apartment in the very dog-friendly area of Arlington, VA. My apartment building has multiple dog parks around it and even in our lobby there is a bowl of mints for humans and a bowl of dog treats next to it. I work as a journalist, which affords me a reasonably
flexible schedule, including working at home occasionally. With my schedule, living conditions and desire to take care of a little one, fostering was a no-brainer.

My experience with Jack has been interesting so far. I joked with Juliana the other day that fostering has taught me a lot I can apply to my dating life, but it’s surprisingly true. Being single-ish in a big city like Washington DC, you experience a lot and meet many
people. Here are some of the biggest dating/relationship tips fostering has taught me:

Actions don’t always reflect feelings

I fell in love with the little Jack Rabbit the minute I saw him. He’s such a handsome and sweet little guy, it’s impossible not to. It took a few hours for him to warm up to me, but once he did, I was his. He follows on my heels when I walk into another room and will happily jump up and curl his little body next to mine when I sit and watch hours of Law & Order:SVU…errr.. I mean when I’m researching political trends throughout history for my upcoming book.

However, if I had my druthers, I’d want him to be a snuggle monster 24/7 and that just isn’t the case. He likes to have his time to gnaw on his antler or repeatedly break the imaginary neck of his elephant. No matter how much I cajole, sometimes he just isn’t in the mood for the whole cozy thing. In similar situation with human males, I’ve been known to over-analyze, worrying that even though they seemed to like me the day before, this one instance clearly shows their feelings have changed. However, with Jack, I know he still adores me, he just wants his alone time.

Love really does mean letting go if it’s in their best interest

I think the most difficult part of fostering is inherent: you will eventually have to let them go. I came into this knowing that part of the fostermom description, but specifically it’s taught me that, like in relationships, you should cherish every moment with that other half. You never know when it will eventually come to its natural end, and when that time comes, instead of wallowing in the feeling of loss, it’s better to focus on the fact that it’s for their own good.

PATIENCE

You all said it well in your tips you wrote on PL&F’s facebook page. There is an incredible amount of patience needed to take care of and love another living thing. Jack may be wonderful most of the time, but he doesn’t always do what I want him too, nor can I expect him to. I’m not a morning person (not as in I dislike getting up at 7, more along the lines of anytime before noon gets me extremely hostile), however for Jack’s well-being, I need to take him out much earlier than my normal wake up time.

Also being a dog, he doesn’t have as much control over situations, or his body. Can I get upset with him if he pees on my carpet because he’s nervous? Forgiveness is key when paired with patience. I can instruct him to not do so in the future and provide incentive and praise when he uses the bathroom outside, but I can’t get angry. This carries over to dating too. If a guy is wonderful most of the time and screws up once due to things out of his control, there’s no point in getting upset. Even the most wonderful guy, human or furry, sometimes pukes on your carpet, and love is what makes you clean it up at 4 am.


“Take me out to the ball game” – Baxter

Some might say the perfect day would consist of a ball game, a beer, and your favorite dog. Last Saturday, I got the chance to live that perfect day. Every year the Washington Humane Society teams up with the Washington Nationals for a ‘Pups in the Park‘ event where people can bring their dogs to the baseball game. Yes, you read that correctly. People are actually allowed to bring their dogs inside the stadium to watch the game! Each dog needs a ticket (at a reasonable $8) and all the proceeds from the dog seats go to WHS! How cool is that!?  And would you guess who I went with.

I was able to go with Baxter’s whole family! Big Bruno, Baxter’s long time buddy who first helped him in the shelter, and I met up with Bax and company at the game and spent the afternoon there together. Since the last time I visited Bax, his family has added a new furry member! Meet Didi, a “pit bull” dog that seems to be mostly jack russell terrier judging by her spring board jumping abilities and her need to smell absolutely everything.

It was a good thing there were four of us, because these three pups are quite the pack together. They were all on their best behavior for the game though – I was very impressed.

There were a ton of people and dogs there, especially since the Nationals have been having such a great season.  Baxter, Didi, and Piggy all pretty much minded their own business when it came to other dogs, but the people were another story. The pups were making smiles every where they went – especially with kids!

It was a great afternoon, with the icing on the cake being the big win by the Nats.  Can’t wait to bring my own foster dog next time around!


A Capital Adventure

With the unusually warm temperatures last weekend, we decided to take Baxter out on the town Saturday to try and get him some visibility.  My boyfriend and I love DC and haven’t been in a while, so we headed out for some sightseeing. The wind made it a little chilly, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time.

We started out at the White House, and Baxter of course looked for Bo! He was a little bummed when we didn’t catch a glimpse of him.

Then we headed down past the Washington Monument. Baxter was happy to know we would not be climbing to the top.

Our favorite route is to then walk over past the WW2 memorial to this area called Constitution Gardens – a cute little pond and island located sort of away from the main tourist hubs (during the summer at least). Now the gorgeous willow tree is just branches, but the island is still as pleasant as always! Can you tell Baxter didn’t exactly appreciate the breeze coming off the water…

We ended at the Lincoln Memorial, where Baxter and I broke the rules and ran up the steps to snap a few super quick pictures.

Baxter proved to be quite the disinterested tourist.

Although I do think he left with slightly more appreciation for such historic significance a nice long walk outside.

Maybe he’s got some city dog in him?

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.