I squeal with excitement when I see a dog prancing down the sidewalk. I calculate the degree of lateness I will encounter if I abort the walking to my car mission and give a quick hello to the dog and her owner. It’s worth it, I conclude, as I square my shoulders, beam a welcoming smile, and say enthusiastically “Hi, would you mind if I say hello to that adorable pup of yours?!?!” Normally, the owner grants permission, and I get right to work showering my new best friend with love and adoration. Not to be rude, I initiate a conversation with the human at the helm of the leash. “What’s her name?” “Is she young?” “Tell me a little about your story!” The last question is usually a welcome surprise for the owner, and they normally wind up telling me about the origins of their lives together. While many stories have joy, I’m dismayed at how frequently the following occurs.
“She’s a foster failure.” The owner states, apologetically, as her eyes dart around, almost fearful of her admission.
I smile, and enthusiastically state “I’m so happy you found each other and are now each other’s family! Don’t ever feel ashamed by that. It just means you were perfect for each other!”
Now that I’m healthily late for work, I say my farewells and zip to my place of employment.
The term “Foster Failure” has always rubbed me the wrong way. Realizing that the dog you’re hoping to help has found a home in your heart has never earned the right to be deemed a “failure,” in my eyes. It is, in my opinion, the definition of success. You’ve opened your home in an effort to help, and have provided a forever home filled with stability and care. You should be championing that success.
It is in this light, that I think it’s time for a change. There should be a cultural shift around how we view those who have adopted their foster animal, starting with a new name. I need your help to decide though. What do you think is better?
What would you prefer? Do you have other recommendations? Comment below and I’ll let you know what the result is later on! If you are the proud owner of a pet who began as a foster, hug him or her closer and give some extra squeezes for me!