EDITED TO ADD: I started this post a month ago-3/19/12. I can't believe its been that long, I only had the pups for two months and now they've been gone for a month. Time flies, when you're having...hmmmm. New saying: "time flies when you're not picking up shit all the time." I only have adults right now. It's great!
Four of my babies (well, Brownie's babies, really) were adopted on Saturday. I think they all went to great homes, and I have already gotten emails from two of the homes telling me how well the kiddos are doing. They also said the pups are almost house-trained?...could have fooled me. And the rest of them are still doing a good job of convincing me they aren't house-trained.
The remaining three were almost adopted, but one fell through (refused to buy health insurance?!-seriously, $30/mo tops) and I told the other two they couldn't have my babies. Yup, I'm a hard-ass. But it really sucks to raise and love these guys and then regret/worry that you sent them to the wrong forever home. I've only done that once, but I still feel guilty about it and worry about her life. It'll never happen again, no matter how mad I make people who want to adopt. One person just gave me the heebie-jeebies, the other said she couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and let a puppy out at night, yet she wanted to keep the puppy in a crate. The general rule is that a puppy can be expected to hold it for their age in months, plus one. So my 8 week old babies would be able to go 3 hours without a potty break. Any longer than that is asking too much, and could force the pup to pee or poop in their crate. This goes strongly against their instincts, is cruel, and can set back house-training by quite some time.
One thing that is really great about the rescue I work with is that I get to interview people wanting to adopt my babies, and I have veto power. People often ask how we can let them go, saying that fostering would be too hard for them. Given that I haven't thought this through thoroughly or edited it very well, these are my answers.
1-I know from when they come into the house that they'll be moving on-it's a different perspective
2-I truly want to save animals, and I'm doing it. That has huge rewards. It brings a lot of meaning to my life, and that is very important.
3-I don't love all the dogs who come through the house. I mean, I care for them and give them affection, and I have compassion for them and want to help them but I don't fall in love with every dog.
4-I can save a lot more dogs by fostering than adopting. And, if I adopted all the ones I really like, I would soon be too full to foster.
5-Puppies, especially, are cuddly, adorable and fun to play with, but they are also messy, destructive and have not developed their full personalities. I find it easier to let (most of) them go than adults. There are also less people who will foster puppies because of the aforementioned mess and destruction.
6-There is a huge opportunity for education through meeting these dogs' eventual adopters and just talking to people about why I have so many dogs. I love to give people new information, and hopefully it makes their dogs' lives better
There's a beginning to why I foster and how I let the dogs go. I'm sure this list will be added to.