Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Dog's Eye View of Foster Parents

Do you think dogs think any differently about their foster parents than those that eventually end up adopting them?

I can tell you without reservation that to them it doesn't make a lick of difference.*

Think about it: Just how many words can a dog learn in it's lifetime?

According to this article, the number is upwards of 160, but is "foster" and "adopt" really going to be in that mix?  Not likely. Let's break down some of the words and phrases that a dog picks up  and how many different variations of each.

fetch - 1
sit - 1
lay - 1
roll over - 1
heel - 1
no - 1
stay - 3 (stay, wait, hold)
come - 3
treat - 55
don't eat that! - 56

That's already 123 and we haven't even touched on names and places. I'm messing with you of course, but the distinction between a person who gives him/her care is irrelevant to a dog if that is the only person that they know who has recently shown it kindness.

I've talked with a few people and researched even more who have been old dog foster parents. More often than not they wonder if they could be doing more. My advice to those folks would be to do one or more of the following:

  • Watch the dog sleep restfully in the nurturing environment that you're giving it
  • Give them an extra hug or cuddle with them at the end of a long day and see how they respond
  • Take them on a walk to their favorite spot 
  • Surprise them an extra treat

All dogs some time to adjust, but I think you'll find that their responses are based upon how much love you've bestowed upon them and not some word that doesn't matter to them anyway.

This post is for a dog not adopted.  His name was Rufus. He was in my list of dogs to meet if Rusty wasn't a match. If you think dogs understand the difference between a foster home and a forever home, I'd encourage you to check out his page on the Puggles & Pitties Rescue site. The picture of him sleeping peacefully on his foster mom's couch is priceless. He's no longer with us, but I'm grateful to his foster mom for giving him his forever home.

Related posts:
Pet Foster Parents: Being there when it's most important

* - All puns intended and strictly enforced.

Photo by rikkis_refuge