Op-Ed: A Heartfelt Letter From an Adopter to a Foster Mom

Cover photo of Winnie taken at a Foster Dogs event. Photo by Leslie Leda @ledaphotography.

ARTICLE BY FOSTER DOGS BLOGGER AND FOSTER MOM SAMANTHA CHEIRIF

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The worst part of fostering is the best part of fostering: when your dog gets adopted. Saying goodbye is never easy, no matter how many you’ve had or how great of a home they go to. I still remember when one of my foster dogs, my sweet Winnie the Pooh, was adopted. Her new parents lost their own beloved dog a few months ago and weren’t ready to adopt—until a friend showed them Winnie's posting. They almost turned their car around from a vacation to come back and get her!

They ended up being the perfect home for her. The minute the three of them walked away, I felt happy... but I also felt the loss; when I saw only two furry faces, when I packed away Winnie's bed, when I found her giant hairballs under the couch.

I spent the day hoping and wishing I could know if things were going well, but I didn’t want to push. After a few hours, I received the comfort I had been waiting for—and then some.

Winnie's new parents sent this beautiful email to me and her rescuer, Julie, from Animal Lighthouse Rescue:

I hardly know where to start. Our darling Winnie is sleeping beneath my feet as I write this message. Our hearts are so full and we’ve just had the very best day with our little girl.

Thank you, Sam and Eric, for taking time to introduce us to Winnie and to help us learn more about her. You were so generous with your time and we were touched by your genuine affection for her. Thank you for taking such wonderful care of her these past few weeks.

As we left, Winnie looked back a few times, clearly a bit confused and missing you two, but she rallied (after being distracted by a few treats) and strolled to our car; that ended up being the biggest hurdle. She initially did not want to get in, so we took our time: we walked a bit (which was great, since she pooped), ate more treats, sat near the car, ate more treats, sat on the car, ate more treats, and finally, she was willing to sit in the car.

She was so cute and curious as she explored her new home. She seemed to take it all in with such positivity (constant tail wagging) and immediately ate all of her food. She already loves running down the long hallway from our front door to our living room rug. 

Winnie has had about 7 walks today, met a few of our neighbors (who all immediately adored her), took a trip to Petco (and now has a dog tag with our contact info on it), and, in subsequent car rides, she even fell asleep. Back at home, she showed a few bursts of playful, high energy (running back and forth, chewing on some new toys) and then took a few short naps. I can only imagine what an exhausting day this must have been for her and I know that it will take some time for her to feel truly comfortable.

That being said, we are completely amazed, bemused and delighted by Winnie's calm, sweet, and loving demeanor. None of my other dogs have ever been so patient and trusting this quickly. She acts as if she’s known us for awhile, warmly greeting us with tail wags, kisses, and cuddles. She follows us everywhere, lays on the kitchen floor while we cook, sits at our feet while we eat our meals, played with us and her new toys, and let us pet her for a half-hour before falling fast asleep. 

And thank you, Julie, for granting us the privilege of being Winnie’s new family. We both feel incredibly blessed to have this beautiful, tender, loving furry little soul in our home and in our hearts.  

We are so grateful to everyone who had a part in taking care of Winnie along the way. She has clearly been loved and treated with great kindness. I’ve never known a shelter dog to be so responsive or sweet, and this is clearly a testament to the love she has received from her previous caregivers. We will continue to bombard you with photos and updates. 

Fondly, Christina & Scott

 Winnie with her forever family, Scott and Christina @operayogadog 

Winnie with her forever family, Scott and Christina @operayogadog 

I will always miss Winnie (now named Millie) as I miss all my foster babes, but I know that she has the most adoring, doting parents and will have a wonderful life. I am so grateful that I got to be even a small part of her story. Making a family complete is worth any sacrifice, including the heartache of saying goodbye. Hopefully in this case, it’s just a "see you later"—her mom has promised to bring her back for playdates!

Note: The original version of this blog post was published on our website in July 2015