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What I have learned by fostering dogs

You would never imagine how much you can learn by the simple act of fostering a dog.

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I have been contemplating to start writing for a while, but I wanted my first article to be about something I’m really passionate about. Something that could add value, make a positive impact and most of all make people smile.

That is when this week while posting the cutest video of my current foster dog on Instagram I realized there is nothing I’m more passionate about than dogs, and in fact there is a lot I have learned by fostering dogs, that can add value, make a positive impact and definitely put a smile on people’s faces. 

That is when I got the idea that my first article should be about what I learned by fostering dogs. 

I can say without hesitation that the main lessons I learned while fostering dogs were selflessness, patience and the ability to let go.

Selflessness  

As a foster family, you give your love, your home, your time and you expect nothing in return. You are training that dog and exposing it to experiences that will make it more adaptable, while of course providing a loving home. And that is a very unselfish act because, besides all the work you are putting into it, the fruits of your work will go to whoever ends up adopting that dog. 

Being in the position of giving is one of the most rewarding opportunities we get and when you make giving a frequent part of your life you learn that the best of giving is the feeling that you don’t need anything in return to feel like you got something in return.

Patience

When you bring to your home, a dog that has either been homeless or in the shelter for a while you can’t have high expectations of that animal’s behavior. All you know is that you will need a lot of patience while teaching that dog what is expected from it. You know you will make sacrifices. You know you will be repeating the same things over and over again, ”Bella down”, ”Bella no”, ”Bella stop”, ”Good job Bella”… You also know you may lose some pair of socks or shoes along the way. But above all, you know that your work will pay off, not only because that dog will learn and improve but because you will also learn and grow from it.

Letting go

Most of my friends say they don’t know how I do it. They usually ask ”How can you keep this cute dog for so long and not to fall in love with it?” 

Well, the truth is that I actually fall in love with each one of them. But I don’t need to keep everything I love. I see it as a mission where my work is to love it, care for it and work on it until it is adopted. And when it is, I won’t lie and say I’m completely happy. Yes, there is a part of me that feels sad as I know I will miss that little creature around the house. But I know that by letting go of that one I can help another one. 

By letting go of something, we are creating an opportunity for something new. And when you know you have done your job well and you have made an impact on one’s life, all you want the most is to let go again, and again.

Selflessness, patience and the ability to let go are very important attributes to have and as I’m writing this article and I look around and see my two (foster failure) dogs and my current foster laying around me, I can say without hesitation that I am a better person because of them.

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