Friday, May 14, 2010


Disappointment is a constant part of rescue. I hear it in the voice of people when I talk to someone who wants to turn in an animal and I tell them I don't have room. I see it in the eyes of the shelter dogs when I walk by their kennels without time to stop and visit with them. But more than any other time, I feel it when one of my foster pets is returned. It feels like I failed. And I know that returns are a part of rescue. We can't see into the future and know what is going to happen. We just have to do our best to place our fosters into homes with responsible people who are a good match for that foster pet. Unfortunately sometimes even when we do everything right, the home is still all wrong.

Six weeks ago I adopted out Casey Jones to a family who seemed perfect. They had another pet and were responsible pet owners. I did the vet check and the home visit and could not find any reason at all to think it wouldn't be a perfect fit. And for six weeks everything was fine. Then I got a voice mail message that Casey had attacked the other dog in the home, and he "had to go". I contacted them and said while I would of course take him back, I was willing to go to their house and evaluate the situation to try to determine what happened and if anything could be done to prevent it from happening again. They didn't give me details, but I don't understand how Casey could have lived with this other dog for six weeks without a problem and then just attacked him without provocation. Dogs have a reason for their actions, even if we don't know what it is, and I wanted to help them figure it out. I was very nice in my message, and was feeling bad for them that this had happened. Until I found out that instead of replying to my message they took Casey to the nearest animal control facility and left him there. And I am furious with them for claiming to love Casey and then doing that to him. Because if they had just called me and said "no, he has to go immediately", I would have left work and driven over to pick him up right then. Instead I got a call from the shelter just before the shelter closed, so Casey had to stay there overnight. It would have been so easy for these people to do the responsible thing and hold onto this dog they claimed to love for 24 hours while we communicated and worked out a plan to return him. The shelter told me the husband wanted to just open the door and let the dog run loose to get rid of him but the wife insisted on taking him to the shelter, so I guess I should be grateful for that much.
The good news in all of this is that Casey is now back with me, where he is truly loved, and he'll have another chance for a much better home. Hey Frankie Flirter Furter (sorry, Puddles is a bad influence) - today is the 14th and I now have 14 dogs and cats at my house. But I think we're going to try to reverse the numbers now, because otherwise I will soon be homeless with thirteen dogs and cats (my husband will keep Noelle and send the rest out the door with me)! And then we'll come knocking on your door - all fourteen of us - and your mom and dad might not appreciate that.


Leila said...

I had a great conversation last night with one of the directors of a pit bull rescue last night in our area, Ring Dog Rescue. It centered around this issue.

She had a foster dog with a gentleman who had a chow mix in the home. The pit was doing fine but the chow, who was the first dog in the home, was not what the home owner wanted in the dog. The behavioral issues could have been corrected with some simple training classes and some confidence building on the owners part. But the homeowner would have none of that. He got really riled when the rescue director told him that because he took the chow to the county shelter, she would now be taking the foster out of the house. Why he asked? Her response was that because he was unwilling to work with the dog that was his first family pet, she could only imagine that he would be unwilling to work with the rescue's requests on training and other well-being issues for the foster dog.

I just don't understand why people will not put the time in with the animals they make parts of their families. You did the right thing bringing Casey home. The house will clear out soon. If not you can run away to Richmond!


Anonymous said...

Its people like this that make you suspicious of everyone. Too bad they couldn't live up to their obligation to the dog and the rescue. Probably for the best though. People like that shouldn't be given the privilige of adopting a dog.

Frankie Furter said...

OMD OMD I was just kidding you about #14. I would never have pulled that out of my butt if I had even dreamed that something so awful would happen.
Sooooo to make up for that wish here is a new one.
I hope that you find a FOREVER home for one foster every day for the next two weeks!!! Casey gets to go LAST though, beclaws he needs a chance to recover from this awful thingy.

Remington said...

Don't get me started on that topic....I will just say I hope he finds a LOVING forever home! Some people....thank God for people like you....

Pibble said...

And thank goodness for people like you who are actually able to drop everything and run and get dogs out of these situations.

I know how you feel. You do everything you can to choose the perfect family for the dogs (or cats) and sometimes it backfires. Really badly.

But we don't have crystal balls, and all we can do is be thankful that Casey came back to you in one way or another. We can also reeeeally hate those people for not following through and giving you a chance to pick him up. Having the change to talk with them would have given you an opportunity to see if there was some work that had to be done with Casey or not. Jerks.

Ugh. Unfortunately, "ugh" has become one of my most frequently used words lately. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Mayzie's mom here. I am SO sorry to hear about Casey. But he deserves a home with people who will work with him - not someone who would even CONSIDER opening the door and letting him run free. Geez! The poor guy was still trying to figure things out. Being in a new home is scary and they have no idea what to expect or what the rules are. Why not at least let someone come over and assess the situation?

It just makes me so angry. I admit I had my doubts when we first adopted Mayzie but instead of just throwing in the towel, I started doing research on fearful dogs and working on counter conditioning and desensitization with her. (And how very glad I am that I did. I've rarely had a more rewarding experience in my life.) But that requires a LOT of commitment. And these people obviously have a problem with that.

Anyway, I'm so sorry this happened. But I'm thankful that Casey is going to be safe with you tonight. I know his forever home is out there. Sometimes it just takes a few pit stops along the way to finding it.


havetailwillwag said...

omg. poor casey! i am really angry and upset about what happened to him. what kind of stupid disgusting people were his adopters? heartless bastards. i hate them! they could have held on to him for a day. just pure laziness, irresponsibility and downright heartlessness on their part. the husband sounds like a total asshole and i would love to kick his ass. his wife is useless too for not fighting to just keep casey for another day. whatever happened between the dogs, they are both living things that deserve care. mannnn i am so pissed! this kind of thing happened to a cat i fostered before except they didn't even drop her off at a shelter. they left her in a broken cat carrier outside the house in an unfamiliar neighborhood. so she managed to escape from the carrier and ran away and it took me days scouring that neighborhood before i finally found her terrified and filthy inside a storm drain. poor poor casey jones. sorry this comment is so long. this just really hits a nerve. those people that adopted casey don't deserve to have pets. they don't deserve their other dog either. i hope those humans don't breed. they're too stupid to have children.

Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

That is unbelievable. It's always amazing to me that people can put on such a good face when they want to adopt a dog and then turn around and do something so cruel. Hopefully they'll never try to adopt again.


Amy and The House of Cats said...

Ok I am in a crabby mood already and reading about these people, well, I have a few choice words for them. But instead of saying what jerks these people are, and how it is people like this that are part of the reason I know I could not foster (I would be constantly second guessing myself - tricksters like this cause that), I will say that it is the good people like you out there that give me hope for humanity. People like the adopters, well, they make me embarassed to be the same species. I am sending Casey lots of love - give him some scritches from me ok (and throw in some for the other 13 while you are at it!)

msbone said...

How sad for Casey :( I'm glad that his is back where he belongs.

I have a rescued mutt who I saved off JCAC's death row last year. I also have an 8 yr old boxer who I've had since a puppy. They fight. Not a lot, but it happens more than I like it to. I have to take steps to make sure fights won't happen... like no peanut butter filled kongs or bones :(-boo. Dogs have a weird way of giving each other the "don't bother me or I will bite ya" signals. Even though I have to keep an eye on my 2, and it is a lot of work, I would never give either of them up. They both have their great qualities, and that's why I love them :) A little bit of management will go a long way in a multi dog house!

Too bad they wouldn't tell you what happened. And too bad they didn't hold up their end of the deal and give him right back to you. They took the childish way out taking him to the shelter. Maybe you can FYI other rescues and HSMO & St Charles Humane Society too... just in case they come a looking again... ???

pugsx4 said...

Wow! I just came across your blog for the first time and I just wanted to write that you're an incredible person and kudos to your husband as well. My husband and I have rescued 6 dogs over the last 18 years. I tried to foster but it was so hard to let go. You are really doing good works, please keep it up!

pugsx4 said...

I forgot to write that I just spent the last couple hours reading the blog back to last year!

3 doxies said...

Puddles mum here:
I don't even know where to begin with this. If you can believe I would have loved to have returned Puddles at one time because she was so stubborn. However, we are responsible pet owners and once a dog comes into our home it IS forever...regardless. And, they are loved unconditionally.
However, you hit the nail on the head about the dog living there and attacking unprovked...Personally, I don't believe it. I'm not sure I have ever heard a story like that ever happening. That being said, I'm not claiming to know everything either...I just doubt that was the actuall scenario.
But, do not be disappointed in yourself. You had no way of knowing what was going to happen in the end. Remeber you are only human...with a great BIG heart. We are sending you some comforting vibes and if you need us we are here.
Puddles here: well, I woulds just hunt those peoples down and gives them a peice of my mind, you know what i'M SAYING? You do good work Doggie Foster Woman so don't beat yourself up...I mean, you can't helpl it cuz you not as smart as doggies. Oh, and you is more than welcome to come to my house, I don't even needs to ask my mum...her is not da queen afterall.
Pees: Uh, would you so kind as to read my wed know, since I mentioned you in it.

Two Pitties in the City said...

That is so disappointing. I guess people just get caught up in the excitement and don't think about the realities of dog care. Does your rescue have a policy on only returning the dog to the rescue group? We had to sign something that no matter what, after any amount of time, we would only give up the dogs to the rescue and never return them to a shelter. I guess one set of dogs they adopted out was given to a shelter and fortunately the shelter contacted the rescue to keep them safe.

sophie said...

People are strange-there is no disputing that.It is annoying though when their strangeness affects the innocent.

I guess instead of believing you have failed somehow, you can view it as having a second chance to find a much more suitable home for Casey Jones.This family sadly lacked the patience and steadfastness to integrate a new dog into their home.

I foster cats and have five animals of my own (two dogs,three cats) and I know that there is always an adjustment period for each animal when someone new joins the family.At times that adjustment period can be a little shakey but it does settle if the humans are clear about their expectations of all animals involved.

Your work is invaluable and the animals need you.In the end, it is about helping animals and in Casey Jones case, his "rejection" is his ticket to a much better life with more understanding,compassionate and capable humans.You can do it! They are out there.Waiting.


Anonymous said...

listen here all you pet lovers, do you honestly believe this crap article? no, this is not what happened. Casey, who we had for 6 weeks, attacked my dog, which we have had for 10 years. WHY WOULD WE NOT GET RID OF HIM WHEN AN ACTUAL VET (WHO KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT) SPECIFICLY SAYS THAT HE WOULD DO IT AGAIN. unlike you, laurie, he knows how to answer a phone call. this dog attacked a dog that we have had since i can remember. we have spent 500 dollars + on THAT dog in the 6 weeks we had him. cage, medicine, toys, leash, collar, treats -REALLY SOUNDS LIKE WE ARE CRUEL DOESNT IT? you dont know what you're talking about, you are not the one who had to pull a screaming 10 pound maltese out from under a huge dog that is attacking. your lil casey isnt all you make him to be, which is why we took his ass straight to where he belongs. HMMM.. WONDER WHY THE PEOPLE BEFORE US HAD HIM FOR 6 MONTHS AND JUST GAVE HIM UP? I hope that you, laurie, keep casey. you guys are perfect for eachother! 3 nights ago casey was crying because of the storm, who do you think got up and let him sleep next to me in my bed? ME. stop saying we didnt love this dog-cause we did. we kept casey for 24 hours so you clearly have no clue what you're talking about. im the one who had to come home the next day and let them out seperatelty, cause geeze if we would of had them stay home alone together i probably would of came home to just fur! the point of the matter is that your blog entry is completely false and you make us out to be horrible people- which is not true.


I personally told this family to go check out the dogs at PetCo, and I'm also a part of the Humane Society family. I am extremely outraged by the false accusations, because I know, the REAL STORY. I don't even know why a foster mother would write an article in a negative manner, just to feed off complete bullshit? I think so. This article is completely ludacris, and really shows what kind of ignorant woman you are. I know the family, and I know that they went to the Vet with Casey and put much effort into making the dog part of their family. I also spoke with the vets, and he specifically told me that "CASEY WILL DO IT AGAIN".. stop acting like you are a professional and could analyze the situation. Obviously, you are extremely ignorant and nieve if you're going to post these lies. Casey was given the world, and still couldn't behave properly. I watched the family work with him while he would disobey, but they did not give up on him. Yes, OF COURSE, they're going to get the dog out of there if he is a threat to a dog and the family. Yes, casey is sweet but his behavior is unpredictable. Maybe, you should take time to take care of your fourteen animals, instead of sitting writing lies on your blog as well... guess you do have some time on your hands. As for the Animal Control, it was a no kill pet adoption center, and your name was given along with all the vet papers that showed hundreds spent. 24 hours later, he was taken there, because the AWESOME (NOT) foster mom wouldn't return a phone call, Yes, she did email later on, but there was a phone call left for you, WITH THE FAMILYS PHONE NUMBER, and you still didn't call. You should be so proud of yourself. You can go ahead and Blacklist them for adopting, but you're making a mistake, because they are great pet owners, and you wouldnt want one of those great dogs of yours to get let down in attacking another one, right? Just something for you to think about and always remember, HONESTY is the best way to go! :)
Peace, love, and ANIMALS

Dog Foster Mom said...

To Casey's Previous Owners and the fellow rescuer who responded that I didn't tell the truth - you have every right to tell your side of the story, but I can't let it go without leaving a response. I got your call while I was out to dinner with my husband for our 9th wedding anniversary. I'm sorry I didn't call you back at 10:00pm when I returned home, but as I told you in the e-mail that I sent at 7:30AM the next morning - I thought it was too late to call. Your message did not say "call us no matter the hour" so I never call people back after 9pm unless they explicitly say it is okay. I was going to call you first thing the next morning but I saw you had e-mailed me, so I responded that way instead. I got the message after 9pm - replied at 7:30am the next day (via e-mail because you contacted me that way!) and when I didn't hear from you, decided I would call you as soon as I left work that evening. Instead I got a call (while still at work) that Casey had been taken to St. Charles County Animal Control. I am glad there was a safe place to take him in instead of letting him run out on the street, but no you did not give me 24 hours, and as I said - if you had returned my e-mail or bothered to call instead, I would have gotten him immediately.

As for making him fit in - I am not angry that you returned him, I am angry you took him to a shelter where he had to spend the night instead of returning him to me. I thought I had made it very clear to you from the beginning that I was available any time to help with any issues that might come up. Instead the first time I heard from you was when you said "Casey attacked and he has to go!" So the fact that I was willing to help you work to keep him was not because I didn't want to take him back - I was trying to be helpful. I didn't know you'd talked to your vet already, or any other details. And finally, I'm sorry you had to keep them apart and let them out separately, and it was too much trouble to do that until I could get him - I didn't mean to put you out.

Kate said...

Laurie - you're an extremely gracious soul. I'm not sure I could have responded to such ugly words aimed my way with such aplomb and grace. You do good work, and I'm sure that every foster that has gone through your home thanks you for it.

Anonymous said...

I have to chime in. Dog Foster Mom - I have been reading your blogs for a while now, you are a wonderful soul and onbviously know yor stuff. For the other two posters regarding the statements a VET made that Casey 'will do this again': I work in the animal field and I can tell you that animal medicine and animal behavior are two different specialties. It seems counter-intuitive to many, but quite often vets can be horrible when it comes to behavior issues. Only a true, modern, educated behaviorist should be relied upon for such statements. Dogs do attack and sometimes quite viciously (stress, missed body signals, etc.)- it can happen after 6 days, weeks, or years. So, with that being said - I suggest nobody attempt to make a lifetime commitment to an animal until they know what they may be signing on for.
Do I think the adoptive family were 'bad' people? No, but they obviously don't have what it takes for a dog that is less than 'ideal' in their eyes.

Mango said...

This is a very complicated post so I am going to let momma respond...

I like to consider myself somewhat knowledgeable and patient when it comes to working through dog's issues. Even with all that, I make mistakes and I have my limits. I was told that adopted dogs go through three stages; honeymoon, settling in, showing their nature. It takes a dog a few months to feel comfortable enough in a new situation to let their personalities come out.

I can appreciate the terror felt by the owners when they witnessed their beloved pet being set upon. Could it have been avoided? Probably yes, but with what measures is unknown.

While the owners might not have done everything right, it sounds like they were reacting out of fear and panic. We don't all make rational decisions under those circumstances.

Good news is that he is back with you. Bad news is that two failed adoptions do not bode well for his future. He now has a criminal record which will need to be shared with any new potential families.

I recently visited a dog orphanage to help a friend choose a new pal for her dog. She is a good, loving dog owner. There were several dogs she considered, but as I listened to the subtext of the people in the shelter I could hear that most of the dogs had issues that were going to mean her having to be careful to work things out between the resident and the newcomer. Having worked in a shelter and gone through adoption, my experience is that many (not saying you) folks under represent the potential issues with dogs. Part of that is that when your heart is in helping out dogs with issues one sees the goodness and the progress and takes many of the training steps for granted.

My Mango is a great example. He is a sweet boy whom I love to death, but I think he is unadoptable for the average person and I have a deal to return him to the breeder if anything ever happened to me (it's even in my will).

Good luck to Casey and to you. I applaud your devotion to providing good homes to dogs and cats in need.

Mango Momma

Anonymous said...

To both parties... I am so sorry this happened. The trama inflicted on the adopters, their dog, foster Mom, Casey is a sad thing. I have been through the same thing with two of my own dogs and ended up having to re-home one of them. I am still devistated over the loss but it has been for the best. Laurie is an awesome foster Momma and told you everything we knew about Casey. I also know how you felt when you dog was attacked. I am SO sorry. Everyone please move on and put this behind you. There are more animals to help and we will have Casey evaluated by a behavourist. It is really the first time this has happened with him. He has lived with many dogs and something trigger him at your house for some reason. Jealously?Treats?We may never know?

Take care

The Two Country Poodles said...

I agree that they acted in haste....They could have seperated the dogs...kenneled Casey not just drop him at the nearest shelter. If the dog was with you for 6 weeks and never showed anything there was nothing to tell. You don't know what happened while casey was at this family home. So don't feel bad that you did anything wrong. Its tough dealing with rescues but you have to do the best you can with the situation given to you. Keep up the good work!

Wags and Licks,
Mollie Jo & Bobo and the momma!

Anonymous said...

I am truly ashamed at your behavior concerning this situation. I did call you, you heard how terribly upset I was by my voice on the phone. Thank goodness for veterians. I did receive the response from you by email which I checked at 7 PM the next evening. When I took Casey to the Shelter, I gave them your name and told them I tried to contact you w/o any response back from you.

I wished it was handled differently also, but you did not have to post the lies about my family and myself in your blog. How dare you. I think I will go and tell everyone that you are a terrible Foster Mom. Are you kidding me. I respect what you do. I would never ever say that. Hopefully you will learn to choose your words more carefully.

To Casey====I love you and only wish you the best. Whoever adopts him please remember that he loves to be touched. Special treats are Canine Carry Outs, storms, he is scared so snuggle up that night, remember Heartworm medication. A home with a big yard and no other dogs would be best.

I cannot express how upsetting this whole ordeal has been for me. I have adopted the best older dog before and it was such a joy and pleasure.

Bev, I do not know you but I thank you for your professionalism on the above comment. We do care.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed something in this whole blog. So Casey "attacked" the owner's other dog, but I didn't see what injuries the other dog received. I only saw that the Maltese was screaming, probably out of fear, not pain. So maybe they needed to be seperated and worked with, instead of just throwing in the towel? I know we have had many episodes between our two dogs where one plays too rough and the other gets scared, but I would NEVER consider letting either of them go.......

JackDaddy said...

I think you did the best you could do.
That's all I want to say!

Barb said...

Laurie, I think you should give prospective adopters typing and spelling tests first.

SwSmartie said...

WOW. I cannot believe people would come to your blog and make it seem like being a foster for a shelter is somehow shameful. "Maybe, you should take time to take care of your fourteen animals." Are you people serious?! You try to defend yourself by stating that you spent all this money blah blah blah, but money doesn't make you a responsible pet owner.
In closing, If people cared about the things you were doing with your lives, you MIGHT have a blog as successful as this one.

Julie said...

I wonder if people would surrender their kids if they weren't getting along??? I'm so sorry this has happened to Casey, I've met him before and he is such a sweet doggie. Thank god the shelter knew you and didn't euthanize him. It's a good thing they didn't dump him at another open admission shelter instead - he would be dead by now. I understand that things don't always work out with new pets and their families, but had they been patient and read their e-mail, they would have known that you would have gladly picked him up if they were that adament about giving him up. That would have spared him the stress and anxiety of sleeping in a cold, scary shelter. I don't know how many times I've received calls from owners panicking about a situation and once they have a chance to calm down, discuss things, and try some of my suggestions, everything typically worked out. Sometimes, people just aren't willing to invest the time, but animals, just like people, are not perfect. Perhaps it was meant to be, but I'm sure that Casey will find the forever, loving home that he deserves. Good luck Casey, we are all rooting for you!

Dog Foster Mom said...

Hey everyone, I appreciate the various thoughts and opinions that each of you has shared. However at this time I am shutting down comments for this post, out of consideration for the previous adopters of Casey. While I love to share with you all aspects of rescue - the good and the bad - I never intended to hurt anyone in the process. So while I am sure I will revisit the subjects raised in this post at some point in the future, I will do so when it is only about the subject (returns, sharing knowledge with adopters, returning to foster vs. returning to animal control facility, dog fights, etc) and not about one dog or one family in particular. No further comments will be allowed on this post, and any comments left on another post relating to this post will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding.