When someone asks when or how we adopted our dog, Ginger, I usually start with, “she was a foster fail”!  #fosterfail

What does it mean to foster fail?

The term “foster fail” means when a person is fostering a dog they decide to adopt the dog for themselves.

I’m pretty certain that every single foster volunteer in the rescue I am with, has foster failed at least once. 

I’m not sure I like the term “foster fail”, because I love the idea of foster failing. It gives a person a chance to really get to know the dog before adopting her.

As a foster, you get to know the dog in a very personal and detailed way, including all her quirks. 

Foster Dog Ginger

Our foster fail story

We were looking to adopt another dog. So when I saw Ginger come up on the foster list she immediately caught my eye and I jumped at the chance to foster her. 

So her foster fail was expected. I had planned on adopting her from the moment I saw her photo. But fostering before adopting gave us a chance to learn everything about her before making a lifetime commitment.

You can read Ginger’s entire adoption story here.

Foster fail stories

I hear so many stories of foster fails through my rescue and on Facebook… some a happy and some are sad. 

Most people foster fail because they felt they found their perfect match, their soul mate, meant to be. 

“I couldn’t imagine life without him! That’s when I knew we had to adopt Blue”

“I knew from the moment I saw our first foster fails picture… he was never leaving.”

Others foster fail because they are worried the dog could never find a home that would accept their behavior issues. 

“We worked so hard to help our foster dogs severe case of separation anxiety. It took months to get where we are today. I just couldn’t bear the thought of her having to start all over. So she’s ours to keep and we love her!”

Whatever the reason, it should be a personal decision. Carefully consider why you want to adopt this dog. Is it the right thing to do for you, your family, and the dog?

How to not foster fail

If you are afraid to foster a dog because you don’t want to foster fail, then you need to go into the situation strong-willed. 

An easy way to keep your heart safe is to always remember that for every dog you let go, it makes room for another to save. If you foster fail a dog then you may not be able to continue fostering. 

I know it’s difficult when you see those cute brown eyes and soft ears. But stay strong! 

If you have family and kids have an open conversation to explain to them you are not going to adopt this dog. That you are a temporary safe home so he can find his forever home. 

Learn more about why fostering is so great >

Let’s hear your foster fail story… please comment below and tell me why you decided to keep your foster dog.

What’s Next?

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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