Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Return To Foster (Instead of Sender)

Sad Charlie  :'-(
I had a foster returned yesterday, sweet Charlie, the awesome standard dachshund who was adopted a few months ago.      On  Monday morning I got an adamant text that Charlie was not allowed to stay in his home one more night.   They were having housebreaking issues and for some reason this came to a head on a Monday morning while I was at work.    Even though we just had a weekend where I was totally available, he suddenly had to leave Monday.   I was so aggravated - nobody wants a foster returned but it's really frustrating when people forget this is a volunteer situation and we sometimes need a little consideration.    At one point I asked "Why didn't you tell me Sunday" through text and I got a barrage of how this couldn't possibly be considered inconvenient if she was willing to come to my house.   Well, I have a little rule about telling people my address when they get all psycho on me.  :-D

One unfortunate thing I've learned when a person decides to return a dog they often have to demonize that dog in their mind to justify why they're giving up on them.   This dog has to be the WORST dog in the world so they're completely rational to return them.   Of course, when a dog is even close to this status in a person's mind I don't want them anywhere near that person.   And while I had every intention of making sure Danny was under a loving roof by nightfall, I wasn't going to help her feel ok for what was being done.     Is it terrible of me to be totally amused to know the straw that broke the camels back is that Charlie looked her right in the eye and dropped a big steaming poop on her carpet?

After all the drama was said and done I picked Charlie up last evening.    Of course, the person was 30 minutes late ... of course they were!    I'm sad to say he's a different dog.   He's not nearly as loving and carefree as he was when he was adopted.   My friends have reassured me that he'll come around and I sure hope they're right.     And I hope it's sooner rather than later.  This may not make sense, but not only does he duck when we go to pet him but he also seems frightened to show emotion.   He seems shutdown - not just depressed and his little voice is hoarse as well.    I was getting scared he had been debarked, but a good friend of mine pointed out he probably was kept someplace that he felt the need to bark.   Not good, but better than being debarked.  :-(

Returns happen quite frequently in rescue - sometimes they come back the next day, sometimes a few months and sometimes a few years.    Our group received a dog back that was adopted out as a puppy a couple of years ago and has come back as a frightened and unsocialized dog.   How heartbreaking ... Another dog came back after about a week in her new home right after recovering from leg surgery.    We really are glad they come back to us - in fact that's part of our contract.    If someone adopts one of our dogs and turns them into a shelter for euthanasia or because they don't want them anymore we can sue them for breach of contract.   We want the dogs back - we want to know they're safe and they're loved - but at the same time we don't want a failed adoption.

Danny and Charlie - brothers from another mother
I feel horrible about Charlie.  I feel like I let him down - like I should have known this would happen.   I did all the background work I'm supposed to do, they lived in a nice area, the husband was an Iraq war veteran, they had two lovely kids,  the husband was raised with dachshunds, and the wife didn't work but went to school.    Sounds perfect ... obviously not.        I've let Charlie down and I've let down the people he used to live with that trusted me to find a good home for him.      The funny thing is Charlie will probably forgive me far sooner than I'll forgive myself.

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