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Will I get too attached to my foster pet? What if I can’t let go?

Will I get too attached to my foster pet?

That is completely natural – you are fostering because you love dogs, and you will probably become attached. It would be strange if you didn’t! But when you meet the perfect family that will give the dog his permanent home, you will be more than happy to see him go.  That’s why you fostered in the first place!  It is a wonderful thing to do to make sure that a dog in need will find a loving home and be a part of that process.

Ironically known as “foster failures” in the pet rescue biz, these are animals that started out as fosters and ended up being adopted by their foster family. Adopting your foster can be a hazard of the job, and getting too attached to a foster pet is probably the most cited reason for not wanting to foster.

“It’s not unusual for a first time foster to keep their foster pet as their own. We [Kim Croom, volunteer of the Pet Foster Network, and her husband Jim] did keep the first three, so we know all about that. At some point in the fostering process, you get to the point that you realize you can let go. Truly, I think they’re just moving addresses,” she kids.

Indeed, Ms. Croom describes regular fostering as a happy addiction. “You get excited about the cycle. I have talked to people who foster who have children, and the kids are more excited about it than the adults.  After a while you get to where you don’t feel empty, after each adoption, you just feel full.”

As a veteran of fostering, Ms. Croom  has learned to consider the alternative when letting go of an animal seems hard. “I’ve learned to put it this way to people who are afraid of getting attached to an animal: my withdrawal symptoms are not not nearly as bad as the dog dying at the shelter. Fostering and pet rescue is about placing animals. You love ‘em enough to let ‘em go.”

There are some great articles on this topic on the internet as well.


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