(NOTE: This story was edited from it’s original version. I had speculated on Bindi’s history in Georgia, and luckily was updated by her former fosters and caregivers at Humane Society of the Southeast. I don’t have to speculate now, and get to report on how Bindi is just a crazy, happy-go-lucky puppy!)
Raising a puppy is hard. Sometimes days go really smoothly, others go downhill fast. But all along the way you learn plenty of life lessons, and hopefully a little about yourself.
A great way to test whether you can actually have a puppy is to foster. Puppies usually go fast, so fostering a puppy usually only lasts a week, and you get the full experience of raising a dog without the commitment of keeping it.
The natural response I hear is “Oh no, I could never foster a puppy, I’d never be able to give the dog up.”
Yes, it’s hard to imagine spending time with a puppy and wanting to part ways. But I’d challenge people to spend a week, just a week, with a 9-week old puppy and then make that decision. Like I said before, puppies are hard work, and sometimes raising one into adulthood can be a daunting task. But for one week, you’ve provided a loving home and helped lead the dog to a forever home.
Kira, Pickle and I recently welcomed in our first foster puppy, Bindi. She’s not a 9-week old puppy, she’s actually a 6-month old Hound mix that Georgia Peaches Puppy Rescue brought up with a load of other puppies last week. The paperwork said Bind got along well with not only dogs and cats, but with pigs, too! She’s house broken, not territorial over food or toys, and was super friendly. Since I work in socialization, and since Pickle is so well-adjusted to having strange dogs at home, having Bindi was sure to be the easiest foster ever!
Well, let’s back up a second.
Paperwork is great, but it only tells half the story. Despite all those wonderful things, she’s still a puppy. She still likes to jump up on tables and counters, is terrible on leash, and just an hour or so ago snuck a chicken tender out of my lunch (not blaming her, I should no better!)
Bindi unfortunately was bounced around a bit while she was in Georgia. Originally adopted out at 11 weeks, Bindi’s family soon realized that they could not sustain having a puppy in their lives. Bindi was returned to her original fosters, and was eventually picked up by Georgia Peaches and flown out to Seattle. Somehow this wonderful, charismatic dog had fallen through the cracks and into my arms! (I had originally posted that Bindi was bounced from an adoption event to multiple shelters, and luckily was corrected by her former caregivers in Georgia.)
I wonder how many surrenders could be avoided if people were able to ‘test-drive’ a puppy before they adopted. Well, that’s what fostering is, giving a home to a puppy until they find their way to someone that can assure them a happy life. Bindi is an example of how even great dogs can just get unlucky, whether through bad timing or just getting dealt a bad hand. It’s no fault of the dog, and the owners often have the best intentions, but if you’re unsure about actually owning a puppy, maybe give fostering a try.
The beautiful part about fostering is that now I have a hand in making sure that Bindi doesn’t have to worry about moving around too much more, and soon we will be able to find her forever home. She is building confidence, and her character is shining through! Bindi is incredibly loving, playful and smart (dang she picks up on things fast!) In the words of someone who knew her from HSS, “Bindi has never met a stranger.” She truly melts hearts!
I know that saying goodbye to Bindi will be rough. As I write this, she’s resting peacefully after a long day with her head on my foot. I already feel an attachment to her, and as she learns to respond and respect Kira and I, I know it will get tougher and tougher to let her go. That is the risk of fostering, finding a dog that will break your heart when she leaves. But in the end, I know that for a short while I have made a difference in this dog’s life, and that is good enough for me.
Don’t let your fear of falling in love with an animal stop you from fostering. If we had not made the decision to foster Bindi, we would be missing out on all the crazy, wacky things she is doing, and all the love and morning snuggles she loves to give! Fostering is such a rewarding way to spend some time with an animal and see if you can make it as a pet parent, and it can have a huge impact. Whether it’s for a couple days or a couple weeks, even a little time can make all the difference in that pet’s life!
If you are interested in fostering and making a difference in an animal’s life, please contact your local animal shelter or rescue. For more information on Bindi, please visit the Georgia Peaches website.