The Unbearable Beauty of Foster Failures

We recently had the pleasure of asking foster parents from our #StayHomeAndFoster initiative to submit heartwarming stories of foster failure. For those not in the know, a foster failure is a wonderful occurrence when a foster parent falls so head over heels in love with the foster pet that they have no choice but to adopt. ❤️

Erin from Greenbrier, TN, told us about her three-month pup, Gibson:

Foster Failure #1: Gibson Gives Erin His Best Puppy Dog Eyes

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Erin and Gibson (©Erin Coughlin)

“I’ve wanted to foster for the longest time but was afraid it’d be too difficult to manage with work. Since I am working from home now, the perfect opportunity presented itself, and I jumped on it. I picked up Gibson when he was 10 weeks old and was in love immediately.

“I kept myself convinced that I was strictly fostering, not failing, but then I saw this timid little puppy who was whimpering and hiding come out of his shell! He became more confident and rambunctious, and now absolutely adores my other two dogs. They adopted him before I did! Before long, it became unimaginable for Gibson to be adopted by anyone but us. He is goofy and smart, and just what we didn’t know we were missing!”

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Related: Henry Golding Joins #StayHomeAndFoster

What a lovely example of just how quickly a foster parent can fall in love with a foster pet. We also heard from Sarah from Nashville, TN. She told us about her two-year-old cutie, Mama:

Foster Failure #2: Sarah Never Stood a Chance

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Sarah and Mama! (©Sarah Mynatt)

“I signed up to foster at the beginning of the pandemic before the stay at home orders and social distancing got crazy. A few weeks went by and I didn’t respond fast enough to get a foster animal. I was also laid off from my job (that I loved) in early April, which was devastating.

“I went back to Knoxville for a week to spend some time with my parents and had given up hope of getting a foster animal. The second day that I returned to Nashville, I saw Erica’s post with only a few remaining animals available for foster. All I knew about “Brandy” was that she had just given birth to seven puppies, weighed between 20-50 lbs, and that the shelter staff said she was sweet. Something in her sad little picture told me that she needed love. I picked her up the next day and renamed her Mama! I knew on the second day that I wasn’t going to be able to let Mama go.

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True love! (©Sarah Mynatt)

“I’ve had her less than two weeks, and she has made significant progress in so many areas. She was very sick during her first week with tapeworms, an infection, irritated skin, and diarrhea. I nursed her back to health, and she has so much more energy than before and looks 10 times better.

“She was terrified of men, extremely skittish, didn’t respond to toys or treats, and wasn’t eating or drinking much for the first few days. Mama is now a completely different dog. She loves to snuggle, isn’t afraid of people, has started playing with a few toys, and does the cutest 360 leaps when she plays with other dogs.

“I never thought I would be able to have a dog on my own because of my demanding job. Now, as I look for jobs, I think about Mama and how my job will affect her. The irony in losing my job is that I probably wouldn’t have fostered her or been able to commit to taking care of her post-quarantine. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know my lifestyle and career are now centered around Mama.”

Related: #StayHomeAndFoster – A Message From Our CEO

#StayHomeAndFoster is a national campaign to support pet foster created by in partnership with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters™ campaign and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. Their support makes this program possible.