I’ve Made A Huge Mistake.

If you follow TH,PL on Facebook, you already know the news: there is a family interested in adopting my Maggie.  And therein lies the problem.  She was never supposed to be my Maggie.  And at first, she totally was just my foster dog, but somewhere in the last year (A. Whole. Year!) she kind of just, well, wasn’t anymore.  Something changed and I started thinking of her instead of as my foster dog, but as my dog.  Have I made a huge mistake?


I know a lot of people that foster dogs create some separation between their permanent dogs and their foster dogs.  For some, it’s not allowing them on the couch or bed.  For others, it’s calling them by a different name or not cuddling.  I never created that division though.  Maggie was so scared and timid when I got her that I poured 110% of myself into working with her and making her feel, really feel that she was loved and part of the pack.  I wanted her to feel just the same as my dogs so I could work to overcome her other fears.  And I don’t regret that because she has done damn near a full 180 in the time that I’ve had her.  But for my sanity, should I have?  Have I in fact made a huge mistake?


After saying goodbye to my first foster, Dash, I wrote this post about how you really can do it.  You can say goodbye to your foster dog that you have grown to love because it is for the greater good, and that is why you foster in the first place.  But now I’m not so sure.  Can I?  Am I strong enough to trust someone else with her?  Ever since I spoke to the family that is interested in Maggie I have felt like I’m going to vomit at any second, had a giant lump in my throat, my heart has been beating faster than a hummingbirds, and I’m pretty sure there has been an invisible elephant sitting on my chest.  Because it feels like they want my dog.  And to make it even worse, they sound perfect.  Yes, that is worse.  Because when I meet them and they are in fact perfect, how am I going to make an excuse to justify saying “no” to them so that I can keep Maggie all to myself?


I know that I might be getting a little ahead of myself here.  First the family has to meet Maggie (tentatively scheduled for tomorrow) and they have to like her.  And Maggie has to like them.  And then there will probably be a trial weekend or even week.  And then the final decision would be made.  So there are a lot of things that need to go right before I actually have to make the decision to say goodbye to her, but I’m already dreading it.

Snuggle Monkey

And here’s the thing: I am dreading it more for Maggie than for me.  I know, you might not believe me, because it’s painfully obvious that I love her dearly, but I really am more scared for her than anything.  I know saying goodbye to her is the right thing for me to do, because it would allow me to save so many more and help them the way I’ve helped Maggie.  But I have a paralyzing fear that Maggie will get let down again.  I don’t ever want her to feel, even for one tiny second, scared or alone or confused again.  And if she stays with me, I can guarantee that that won’t happen.  I can guarantee she will always be understood.  I can guarantee she will never be put in a situation that might not set her up for success.  I can guarantee her weird quirks will be adored.  I can guarantee she will be protected.  But I guess I just have to have faith?  Faith that this family will love her as much or even more than I do.  Because isn’t that what it’s all about?  Without trusting adoptive families to treat our fosters as well as we do and just keeping them ourselves, our efforts would essentially come to a screeching halt.  And then what about all the future dogs that need us?

FUR 007-(ZF-1860-91697-1-002)

So, while I have probably in fact made a huge mistake by allowing myself to think of Maggie as my dog, I will swallow that enormous lump, and say goodbye to her if everything goes well.  Because this is why I foster.  So I can take the broken dog and make it whole again.  I can teach them to love and trust.  I can do that so they can complete a new family.  And I can repeat the cycle.

FUR 035-(ZF-1860-91697-1-007)


31 thoughts on “I’ve Made A Huge Mistake.

  1. My heart aches for you ❤ if anyone knows what you're going through, it's me. Particularly when it comes to being worried about letting your girl down. All I can say is that I know, with 100% certainty, that whichever decision you make, will be the right one. Thoughts and prayers and hearts are with you & Miss Maggie Moo! xoxo

      • Sure feels that way 🙂 I hope Maggie’s fate is clear soon. I kind of feel like the family would have called straight back if they were right for her. When I went to visit Bella for the first time, they had to ask me to leave three times … and because the rescue organisation I got her through have a 24 hour rule to give you time to really think about it, I had to sit outside their house the next morning and count the minutes until I could take her home!

      • That is absolutely the sweetest thing I have ever heard! I have not shared what happened with Maggie yet because I am trying to figure out a tactful way to do it :/ It did not go as well as I had thought to say the least!

  2. Hang in there, mama! When I was saying goodbye to Lola, a friend said “Gosh, I really hope her new family loves her like you do.”…all I could do was hope that that would be true, and look how awesome her life is now! Like I told you yesterday, we just have to have faith. Before you say goodbye, be honest & tell the family everything you need them to know about Maggie….and then, just cross your fingers & trust that the right thing will happen. That’s all we can do! {{{hugs!!!!!}}}

  3. WOW. This brought SO many tears to my eyes. I know exactly what you’re feeling right now…and I couldn’t let go. I wrote a blog about how I failed fostering my Ollie a year ago. I did a home visit for another rescue and took him with me to see how the kids did around a puppy…and then to my shock (and horror!) they wanted HIM! He wasn’t ready for adoption yet, but the family wanted updated. I cried the whole way home. Ollie kissed my tears away, as if to say “mama, I’m home, you’re just now realizing it.” Needless to say, a year later, I have the most amazing story to tell. You’ll know when you meet the family if it’s right or not. And from the sounds of it, you’ll cry a lot, like I did. And hopefully, you’ll realize that Maggie has been home all along…and it just took you a year to realize it. 🙂

    • What a great story about Ollie! If Maggie does get adopted, I will undoubtedly cry a whooolllle lot, but it will be ok because I will take that sadness and direct it towards helping a new dog!

  4. You are a stronger person than I am! Sometimes there is that one (or two or three or four) special dog that you mean to let go of but in the end, find it is too hard. Yes, fostering is about caring for a little soul until he or she can find their perfect home, but it is also about knowing what the perfect home might be. This could be her chance for that perfect home, but in the end if you feel you already have her in her perfect home, is keeping her or thinking of her as yours really all that bad? Playing devil’s advocate, I know, but really what I mean to say is that either way, you really can’t go wrong. Either this is going to be great match or it isn’t, and if it isn’t, she will continue to be safe and loved with you. Maybe you shouldn’t listen to me, though, as my last foster ended up sticking around. You will know the right decision to make for Maggie when the time comes!

  5. Great post! This may be the exact reason why Boogie was a foster failure. Which makes me wonder if I am every suited to be a foster (of course, due to Boogie’s issues, that won’t be any time soon!). Thank you for fostering. The world needs more people like you!

  6. Oh goodness, such a truly hard time. Every now and then, a particular animal comes into your life that tugs at your heart in a way no others can. I feel for you, having to try and make this decision. There is no advice one can give at this point. You have done a marvelous thing for Maggie, helping her to feel safe and secure and happy. We will be waiting to find out how the meeting goes and what your feelings are about the people who wish to adopt her. Wishing you all the best.

  7. I’m glad I’m not in your shoes! I remember the first time I saw Maggie when I went to pick her up from the Good Sam. She was so pitiful, just skin and bones. I had to carry her to my car she was so frightened. She used to sit and shake uncontrollably, she was scared of everything. Looking at how far she has come with you, it is hard for me to imagine her with anyone else. Maybe you and Maggie are meant to be together. As you already know, there are tons of other ways to help beside fostering. You are smart and have many wonderful talents that you can continue to use to help other pits in need. When it comes to educating others about pit bulls, the relationship you share with Maggie is a perfect example.

  8. Absolutely you have NOT made a mistake. As you said yourself, there are lots of other dogs out there that desperately need your special touch. You will have the opportunity to tell Maggie’s potential forever family all of her quirks. I have enjoyed reading all about Maggie’s progress and she has come so far. Walker and Minnie are keeping all paws crossed that the meet and greet goes well tomorrow.

  9. The hardest part of fostering is letting go, and my heart went out to you when I read this. That heart-rending feeling at the prospect of saying goodbye is so painful! Sometimes a dog feels so ‘right’ that all you can do is listen to your heart. I managed to say goodbye to most of my fosters, but ended up adopting Charlie, our feral dog. At the time the decision meant a probable end to fostering, but he’s so happy around other dogs now that we have another foster arriving next week. Best of luck, whichever decision you make – Maggie has already had a wonderful start to her new life!

  10. We had Rusty for 9 months, I had a very strong connection with him, and he was terrified of everything and everyone except other dogs when we got him. Alone, I think he could have been my dog if the timing was right, but unlike Gambit, he wasn’t my husband’s dog too. Realizing that he had a great potential adopter and her willingness to stay in touch helped ease the transitions. While he took some time to come out of his shell for her, he became much more comfortable over the course of just a few days and she’d e-mail me with updates and for troubleshooting. Gambit and I run into her and Rusty from time to time at the dog park. Now, although I would love to have another one of his overly excited cuddle sessions, I’m thrilled that he went to the right person.

    What I’m trying to say is, if it is supposed to be Maggie’s permanent home, you’ll be more at ease with the idea than you are now – sadness and nervousness but not a huge fear. If TPHL is supposed to be her permanent home, you’ll figure that out too.

    • Thank you for the kind words! I absolutely new as soon as I got to the house what was right, and I will share that soon in a new post. Kudos to you for being able to say goodbye to Rusty!

  11. I know how you feel! Please don’t let anyone else persuade you. I came to my decision on my own after LOTS of thought. In the end, I had known my answer all along. Just look inside and you won’t regret your decision. I know I don’t. Best of luck in your decision!

  12. You will know what is right for Maggie when you and Maggie meet the family. Your new life is so close to starting with a new home, more room, and a yard that if Maggie is really meant to make you a “foster failure” you will be able to continue more fosters with ease! Whatever decision you, Rich and Maggie make will be the right one for her, believe in yourself. To the moon…..

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  14. Great post. Even though I just started fostering (on pup 2), I treat my fosters just like my dogs, I too want them to feel safe and welcomed. My foster gets to snuggle in our dog piles, gets lots of love, and I call her my Meme. When I let first foster go I cried and cried, but I wouldn’t let myself be a foster failure with my first. I firmly believe Blinky was meant to be my dog and I miss her everyday. I knew we couldn’t continue to foster if we kept her, I felt like I would let the rescue down so I bucked up. Blinky went a better home, a home with children. After watching her with the children I knew it was best to let her go. Good luck with your decision, you will know what is right for you and Maggie.

  15. What a tough decision. I think most anyone who cares for a dog for a whole year will consider them their own. I took in a stray last summer who had some serious human fear issues and I was terrified that she would not be able to adapt and be happy with someone new. I was lucky enough to find someone whom she adored and gave her the perfect life. That being said…I still wish she was mine:/

  16. Awww why didn’t I see this post until now?
    I get what you mean. I tried to have Link sleep in the living room instead of the bedroom, until about a week before he left. Sierra is still the only foster who has been allowed on my bed. I didn’t even let Brody on the couch until Saturday. Barriers do help, but for me they always dissolve. However, I’ve never fostered a single dog as long as you have Maggie, so I know I can’t even imagine the struggle you faced.
    I’m proud of you. And I’m proud of Maggie. Both of you are so strong. ❤

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