The Heat is On: Pressure to Add a Family Member

The Heat is On: Pressure to Add a Family Member

Dog lovers who can’t turn their backs on a dog in need, are faced with this pressure regularly. I am not talking about saying yes to every dog in need. I am talking about people who foster dogs for rescues or shelters and/or people who take in dogs they find wandering the streets.

Post a dog on Facebook that you have found, while you are trying to locate the owners and you will get the inevitable suggestion to keep the dog when efforts to find the owner are not immediately rewarding. The culprits mean well and they use smiley faces to soften their pressure. But pressure it is. Phrases such as “it’s meant to be” and “you found him for a reason” are intrusive and assuming. Assuming because the person applying the pressure presumes to know better than the person who is not ready to add to their household.

The same phrases can be found on threads with photos of foster dogs. Fostering saves lives. If foster homes keep every dog they foster, they typically can’t foster any longer. Foster failures are not a bad thing. Most people who have fostered have experienced a foster failure. Sometimes it is meant to be. But most times, it isn’t. The foster home is just a step along the path. It’s a very important and often life sustaining step, but a step nevertheless. It’s a wonderful thing.

Giving the resident dogs a break.

Giving the resident dogs a break.

Equally wonderful is taking the time to capture a lost dog or a stray in need. Some people will find a new addition to their household by doing this, when the dog in question is a stray. That becomes a joyous occasion for all involved. But it’s just as joyous when the lost dog gets reunited with his or her family of the stray finds a forever home once in safety.

There is no shame in not being ready to be the last step on their journey. Only the humans and the other canines in the home can make that decision. Others can’t make it for them. It’s very stressful to be pressured like that. Pressure can make some people make decisions that are not right for them. That helps no one.

It’s okay to be selfish in these cases. You have to be comfortable with your decisions. Don’t allow pressure from others to make up your mind about whether you add another canine member or not. Be true to yourself and what you can handle. Don’t let outsiders sour you on helping in your own way. Every little bit helps. It’s a wonderful thing to help an animal in need with nothing being returned but happiness in your soul. Don’t allow pie in the sky outsiders who have no concept of your situation to cause turmoil inside of you or sway you from playing your part in an animal’s journey. Play the part you want to play and be proud of what you have done. You deserve it.

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  1. Mary Withrow September 8, 2014

    Thank you for this article, I see it so often. I would also want to add, that part of the pressure to keep a dog that you have found should NOT include the reasons to keep being that the shelters just want to euthanize a dog. If that was the case I would have been in an asylum years ago. I work tirelessly for animals all over the country not just in rescue, welfare and care, but also in legislative efforts. I would ask that people who are out there give us just a few hours a week in volunteer time, the animals would benefit greatly and you would see what life is like in our shoes. It’s absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to save 13,000 animals a year and it is heartbreaking to see even ONE die. Our shelter is referred to as “death row” or “kill happy” and all sorts of other ignorant and yes, hurtful titles. Like it or not, we are all in this together, trashing, pressuring, name-callling and not productive and hurts no one but the animals.

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