Adopting A Fostered Dog
After many years of talking up the benefits of adopting a dog from a foster home, I finally had the opportunity to take my own advice. We had sadly lost a succession of beloved pets to old age and cancer, leaving huge holes in our hearts, but also an empty place in our home. After the loss of Finn, who started out as a foster puppy but ended up becoming my once-in-a-lifetime companion, I knew that my next dog had to be another pit bull.
The obvious choice was to check local shelters. We went to check out a pit bull at a local shelter, but the dog just wasn't into us and therefore wasn't a good match.
While at the shelter, we noticed a pit/lab mix that seemed sweet and good-natured. He was a friendly, wiggly pup who got along with other animals, so we decided to adopt. Oliver has become a well-loved member of the family, but he's very independent and just wasn't quite fulfilling the glommed-onto-me, joined-at-the-hip experience that I had with my previous pit bull.
After we lost our remaining senior dog at just shy of 17, I started cruising the internet and came across a listing for a young female pit bull on petfinder that looked promising. I initially shrugged off the application process and home visit as being too much trouble. (I know, isn't it ironic? I obviously would want all of that to be done if I were the foster home, but was turned off by it when the shoe was on the other foot!)
W encouraged me to move forward with the process, and in less than a week, we were approved and on our way to meet the dog that first caught my eye, as well as another contender at the same rescue. The person who runs the rescue felt that this second dog would probably be a better match. I was skeptical as I didn't have the "love at first sight" feeling that I had with my first choice, but he sounded like a really nice dog and potentially a great fit for our household. I especially liked the photos of him curled up with the other dogs and cats in his foster home.
It was quickly apparent that the first dog that I fell in love with on the internet was not going to be a great match for Oliver. Not only that, but she was very distracted by everything that was going on and seemed disinterested in us.
When dog number two was brought out, I was struck by how different he looked in person than in some of the photos I had seen. He seemed smaller, more gentle, quiet and sweet -- not the tough, bold, independent guy that I had imagined from the pictures. Funny how that happens. Pictures and descriptions can help to draw you in, but you never truly see the real personality until you meet face to face.
Although the play between Oliver and Quinn was more out of control than I liked (mostly Oliver's fault because he's a bit clueless although he means no harm), I felt that it would be possible for them to tone it down and play nicely together once they got to know each other better. And Quinn also showed that he was comfortable with us as well, sitting down and relaxing near us.
There was no question that we'd be taking Quinn home with us. While waiting to finalize the adoption, we had plenty of time to spend with Quinn's foster family. They let us know about his good points and quirks (like how he enjoys sitting or lying down right on top of you), as well as some issues to watch out for, such as potential food aggression/resource guarding, and slipping his collar. These are good things to know about ahead of time, and we were able to take appropriate precautions when we brought him home. They even offered to drive Quinn to our home because we didn't have a crate along and were unsure about putting the two dogs together in the car for the trip home.
Quinn has settled in wonderfully. He is so sweet and mellow and seems wise beyond his years. After W suggested the name Quinn, I found out that it means wise, so it definitely fits him. He's a quick learner and very well-behaved. He took to the Gentle Leader easily, walks nicely on the leash, waits at doorways, knows sit, stay and shake, is crate trained, housetrained, and is just a very easy dog to live with. He met our cat, horses, and poultry with friendly interest but no aggression or prey drive. He and Oliver love to play like maniacs, but they're also learning to relax and just hang out together. Oliver seems much more content now that he has a buddy to hang out with again.
Quinn is just the right energy for our household and walked right in like he's been here all his life. He is just exactly what we've been missing after the loss of our dear boy, Finn, last year to cancer. We have fostered many dogs before, but this is the first time that we've been on the other end of things as the adopting family, and I feel like we've been given this amazing gift from a family who loved Quinn enough to share him with us. To Quinn's foster family: Thank you so much for entrusting your boy to us. We promise to give him the best life possible.
Special thanks to Pitties Love Peace, especially to Laurie, foster volunteers Jes and Rachel, and Shay, who did our home visit.
Thanks also to York County SPCA, where we adopted Oliver.