Why I Keep Foster Dogs (Part 1)


Dog pictures motivate people. I’ve reconnected with a lot of friends through posting pictures of the foster dogs I keep. They want to know why I’m doing it.

The same question comes up with strangers at the dog park or on the sidewalk.

And as I’ve described my reasons in the midst of  frigid November evenings on the sidewalk and fumbled through them on Facebook, some kernels of truth have started to sprout in my soul.


I guess I got started fostering dogs because of my aunt. She adopted a golden retriever mix several years ago and made good friends with the lady who had fostered her. I hadn’t realized that people fostered dogs like children until they could get adopted, and I admired her for doing that, especially because Sophie, my aunt’s dog, was kind of a tough case, and still is, because of all the abuse she suffered.


When I moved to Nashville I wanted a pet and as I was looking around I realized that there is a golden retriever rescue here too that only rescues goldens. Since that’s what Sophie is, I’m kind of biased in that direction.

My first dog, Ginger, was about a month ago. She was awesome and I just got hooked on doing this, for several reasons:

Reason #1: Redemption These dogs, for whatever reason, have been neglected, abused, and uncared for. Ginger came microchipped, but she’d been running with a wild pack of dogs and caught by a shelter. Willow, who just got adopted after two weeks in my house, grew up neglected in back yard until she was surrendered at 11 months.


But they can be rehabbed into pets that will make someone else very happy. It’s also a good reminder of how God cares for us.I figure if His eye is on the sparrows (which Willow loves to chase) like it says in Matthew 6, it must be on these dogs too.

And the Bible says how much more He cares for us. It is so hard to the dogs go. I spent the weekend in a blue funk eating popcorn and frozen yogurt depressed that Willow is gone from my life.


It was hard to let her go. When Willow came to my house, she spent the whole first evening running around the house, scared to go through my door or up my stairs. She’d never been on a walk that I could tell, because I had to drag her around the neighborhood for three times  before she learned to follow me. She was afraid of car engines, my vacuum cleaner, and being left alone. In the days before she was adopted, Willow spent 8 hours in the crate with minimal fuss, went on numerous highly energetic walks, and played her heart out with some of her new dog friends.

It was hardest to let her go because I know how much time, energy, and love I poured into her. And it was worth it. It really made a difference.

From what I’ve heard, it only took that puppy one day in her new home to learn how to use the doggy door which, it was clear, she was terrified of before I left her there.

I want to watch her keep on growing. It was so hard to let her go.


But it’s also really neat to see a family so happy to get one of these dogs. Willow’s new family is really awesome, with another dog, a fenced in yard, and lots of love to give her.

And she’ll forever be a symbol of redemption in my mind.

Stick around tomorrow for reason #2 I keep foster dogs.



5 thoughts on “Why I Keep Foster Dogs (Part 1)

  1. Hi…I found you via Modern Mrs Darcy 😉. We Foster Labradors and Goldens, too! It was my daughters idea (she was 13 at the time) and it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. We started almost 3 years ago and have fostered 36 dogs. We had 3 Labs when we started and then were down to one when we began fostering 2-3 dogs a month. We adopted our 34th Foster last summer …a black male named Hank who will be 8 on February 15. I am like you after saying goodbye to a foster…guaranteed depression funk for 2-3 days! Thank goodness my husband stays strong, otherwise we would have ten dogs! 😀. Take care! Keep doing what you’re doing…everyone benefits!


    1. Meg that’s so amazing! I really admire your commitment! That’s a lot of dogs in a short amount of time! I’m on my 5th right now and am totally hooked. He came the same afternoon the last one left, so I had the illusion that the funk wasn’t as bat, but actually, it’s probably all a lie 🙂 Thank goodness I live in a tiny house and have an HOA with a 2 dog limit or I’d have 10 dogs too 🙂 Thanks for sharing, your story is amazing!


  2. Hi Bethany! Are you still fostering? We took a little break, I’ve been having some health problems, I really miss it, but we still have our two rescue Labs that I can love on every day 😉


    1. I actually just wrote a post on this on my new blog, bethanyrossbrown.com, but I adopted my most recent foster! He was Roscoe, now named Barlow, and after to adoptions falling through, I couldn’t resist keeping him for myself. As a result I’m taking a break too. I miss the rhythm and challenge of learning a new dog. But Barlow and I just keep growing closer and closer in the mean time and I get my doggie fix from him too! One day Barlow will be in a confident, secure enough place for me to go back to fostering. I’m sorry about your health problems, I hope you feel better soon!


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