From former RAGOM chair, Mark Crellin
After I announced we had found Gabe his forever home, a very kind volunteer sent me an email asking me, “How do you feel?” I thought that this was such a perceptive question. As many of you know, the adoption of your foster brings on many mixed emotions. Here’s the reply I sent back:
“Thanks for asking. It’s funny, but I was thinking about this now over my morning coffee. Over the past few years of fostering, I always find that I run through a mix of emotions during the first few days.
First, I love our mission and my role as foster when we believe we found a great home that suits our foster dog’s needs. Seeing that wish confirmed by the reactions of the dog and the adopter toward each other -what comes to mind is that love, at first sight, is possible for dog and human. I saw that with Gabe and his adopter.
Second, I always have a bit of anxiety about how things will work out. In my experience, if unexpected things pop up, you’ll start to see signs in your communications within the first few days. Historically, I believe that RAGOM has a return rate of less than five percent. Fosters should still prepare themselves for a possible return. When the phone pings with a text message from the adopter, I do feel a mix of anticipation and concern. So far, all reports on Gabe are super positive.
The third thing we almost always experience is that our house always seems too quiet. Gabe hung out in the kitchen, usually strategically napping either in front of the stove or in front of the fridge, so he didn’t miss out on anything. The empty floor seemed cavernous. Gabe was with us for almost seven months, far longer than the typical foster dog’s stay. We definitely bonded, so I do feel a loss for me, but joy for Gabe.
Lastly, we always experience that feeling that it will be good to take a break from fostering for a while. Fostering takes dedication—not just working with a new dog and their medical, emotional needs, but also working through the RAGOM role: reviewing and assessing applications and interviewing potential adopters can be time-consuming, and you want to make the best match.
With us anyway, our feeling of needing a break has seldom lasted more than a couple of weeks, and then a dog always seems to show up on the plea who pulls on our heartstrings, and here we go again! Fostering for RAGOM has been such a joy for us, and we look forward to our next adventure.”