I’ve gone back and forth about writing about this. The situation itself involves dogs but the underlying sentiment isn’t really dog specific. But it’s something that in some context has happened to most people and I’m sure at least some of you can commiserate.
Here’s the story: some time ago an extended family member was in touch with me. We weren’t particularly close (she lived across the country for many years so just major family events and holidays). She had lost one of her beloved dogs a few weeks prior and was starting to look around for a companion for her remaining dog. She knew I sometimes foster dogs and have a couple connections in the rescue community so she asked me to put out some feelers. A few weeks later I had a foster that fit the bill – the happy-go-lucky attitude she needed with the right “look” – so I told her about him. She did the application, they visited him a couple times, and he went to their house for a week trial (as is standard operating procedure for this rescue as they are based out of state).
The trial went wonderfully and my family member decided to adopt the dog. Great news!… except now said family member has dropped off the face of the earth without returning a signed adoption contract of paying the rescue’s adoption fee.
You might be thinking “oh no is she hurt?!” or “wtf?!”. And believe me, I said both those things in that order. I am still wrapping my brain around the fact that someone who, as far as anyone knows is perfectly fine, has essentially stolen a dog from a rescue. Add in the fact that I personally vouched for this person and that they are a blood relative… You can only imagine the dizzying heights to which my blood pressure is soaring.
I also know that there’s a lot of people who will want to play the blame game. I refuse to go there but I will say that I feel personally responsible. Did I follow protocol? Yes. Can I honestly say I would have made the same decisions about the quality of the home visit and meet ups if this person had been a stranger? Yes (I’m actually MORE critical of my own family). So why do I still feel so horrible?
It comes down to this: when you vouch for someone and they do something inexplicably shitty, it tarnishes your name, your reputation, your confidence. Your trust in that person has been violated, just as the trust between yourself the third party (in this case the rescue) has been violated. Put bluntly, when someone makes you look like and ass undeservedly, how you look at that person, how others look at you, and how you look at yourself changes for the worse.
I hope this situation is resolved and that there’s a reason and it continues to be the happy story that it should have been. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure I will ever foster another dog again. Or at least for a very long time.
I refuse to end on a bad, negative note so here’s a little photo update of Ernie. He’s HUGE – all legs and belly. He bites slightly less and runs a lot more. He’s wonderful.