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The Return of Hadley: Dealing with feelings of failure

This is a new guest post from Elisa Leyva-Guerrero about pet fostering and pet adoption. Read her very first story "Nolan Teaches us about Faith"

My last foster Hadley was quite the looker (she was my Cleo look alike!), on top of that she was a sweet dog. The leader of St. Louis Senior Dog Project had gotten her out of a local county animal control and everyone in the group loved her. She was thought to be around 5-6 years old at the animal control facility however with her spunkiness and high energy she was most likely around 2-3 years old.

I have never seen a dog that could run so fast for so long and still have energy. When we would take Hadley  to the dog park she would out run each and every time a large standard size poodle that was a very good runner, my two own dogs could not keep up with her at all. Yes, I was in love with Hadley, she was not without a fault mind you, she was not the perfect little lady and she would benefit from some basic training. She wasn’t destructive but as many a stray dog she would reverse to her past life and go through the trash. She did have a lot of energy and was a little too much for my dachshund Moxie,  but she was the sweetest thing and a great dog that would make a wonderful pet.

After a month or so a prospective adoptive pet parent came and it seemed to be a good match. My fiance and I conducted a face to face interview and a home visit. At the moment it all seemed fine. Unfortunately things quickly began going downhill, Hadley was not happy. She started being destructive and she was going potty inside the house (poo and pee!), behaviors she had not displayed in our house before. In the beginning her new pet parent seemed to be working with her with these behaviors. She might have been lonely or bored but I truly thought it would work out even after the complaints of the first weeks.  But it didn’t, after almost three weeks I got the email that no foster parent wants to get: Hadley was being returned. Her adopter was sorry but said she could not deal with it anymore.

Hadley was my first return. I was so upset and both my fiance and I felt that we had failed her. I kept asking myself what had I missed? what questions should I have asked? What requirements did the person not meet? As a foster parent in our group one plays an important part in deciding our foster dogs new homes and sometimes it is hard to find a balance between being too demanding and not demanding at all. Perhaps this time I was not as demanding as I should have been or perhaps I should have been more clear on Hadley’s energy. Whatever the reason it may be if our foster dogs come back although it is hard we need to convince ourselves that we all make mistakes, try to learn from them and continue to give our foster dog love and a good life until the right person or family comes along.

It took some time for me to stop feeling sad for what had happened to Hadley, for the stress and bad time she might have had in her previous adoptive home but happily she did get her second chance as within a week she found a new home.

To end this post I would like to give an update on a few of the dogs I have mentioned in my past guest posts. My first guest post here on Grouchy Puppy was about my foster dog Nolan (you can read it here), sadly his mom wrote to me to let me know that his vet found a malignant cancer tumor on his belly. The tumor was removed successfully and Nolan is currently recovering. We are all hoping that the cancer does not come back and that Nolan continues to enjoy his old age. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Another update is on Camille and Temperance, the chihuahua/dachshund girl power duo I wrote about on my post about dog bonding (you can read it here). Those two gals luckily just found a home this weekend and they are going to be together! Their foster mom Kathy was happy (and a little bit sad too!) to see them go, the picture below is of them in their new home.

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