I'm worried about one of my previous foster dogs. Gretchen was adopted out as a 10 week old puppy. I remember her well. She was part of a litter of 8 puppies, and she was the sweet, quiet, shy one of the bunch. She was more independent than the others, and was least likely to ask for attention or affection. I worked hard to get her over her shyness, and quickly became very attached to her.
Lizzy the Child-Eating Border Collie? Dogs like Lizzy and Gretchen, who show aggressive behaviors like growling or snapping because they are afraid, are very rewarding to work with. To watch them change and get over their fear, and to learn better ways to deal with fear, is amazing. But they're also very hard to find homes for. They usually need adult-only homes with responsible adults who are patient and willing to work with the dog. Unfortunately there aren't many people like that looking to adopt a difficult dog. So while Gretchen lives with me, it'll keep me from being able to save others. If I consider it by the numbers, it'd be better to spend the time and money that Gretchen would require on the five or eight or twelve dogs that we could save in her place. But rescue isn't always about the numbers - otherwise Ziggy wouldn't still be entertaining me with his antics and driving me crazy with his Ziggy ways. It is a fine line between using your head and using your heart when you do rescue. If you always make decisions based only on emotions, you become either a hoarder, with more animals than you can care for, or you eventually fill up with unadoptable animals and are unable to save any more. And yet if you only make decisions based on what is logical and economical, you will miss out on a lot of really wonderful, deserving dogs, and completely miss the point of rescue.
I hate these types of decisions. This one is made easier by the fact that I haven't moved yet and can't take in Gretchen right now, no matter how much I want to. I've asked the shelter if I can come evaluate Gretchen. I want to see her and get the image of her as a puppy out of my head. That will make it easier to accept whatever happens. I also want to see for myself what she is like, and whether or not I may be able to work with her and help her. Then depending on the evaluation, I can either beg some rescue friends to make room for her until I move, or let her go, knowing that I did all that I could for her. Either way, it will be helpful to see for myself what she is really like. I hope to go see her on Friday.
In other news, I found another home! This one is in Foristell, MO, on two fenced acres, and should be almost perfect for fostering. In fact a previous owner of the home fostered dogs there as well! It is very private and has no restrictions, so I don't have to worry if the dogs want to go outside and bark at the squirrels. It even has "in-law" quarters in the basement, which I could rent out for extra income, if I could ever find anyone crazy enough to want to put up with all the dogs and cats making noise upstairs. Okay, it's safe to say I probably won't be able to rent the downstairs out. But it's a perfect house for me, and I am totally in love with it. I will hopefully be closing on it at the end of the month if everything goes well.