Foster Fails and Wins

This was Wilson. He’s Badger now.
 I am a foster failure. 

Look at that pathetic mutt up there. Poor thing barely had any hair and was recovering from mange when Pet Pal Animal Shelter asked for foster volunteers to take care of him while his hair grew in. The shelter was no place for a little guy like Wilson to relax.

Chris was reluctant to foster a puppy. He was far more interested in helping problem dogs, but we hadn’t fostered any dogs yet, and I wanted to get established. It would be a month-long commitment. 

Wilson was fascinated by Charley’s huge tail.
Charley mostly ignored him that whole month. Shiner, however, who had been adopted from Pet Pal a year earlier (his name was Joe back then), played with the little dude constantly. He had endless patience with Wilson, who sounded like a crazy dog when he played. 

We talked about what Wilson’s name should be, though we refused to change it. We weren’t going to keep him, we said. 
Then we got the call from Pet Pal. They wanted to see him for a checkup and see how his hair was growing in. He was becoming a little fur beast, and he loved me madly. He would cuddle up with me on the couch. He would always come when I called him (though I most often called him Tiny or Little Buddy or Tiny Turd). 
I couldn’t give him away. Everyone else knew long before I did, that I wouldn’t be able to give him back. I couldn’t bear the thought of him sitting in a cage waiting for someone else to see in him what we already saw. Pet Pal had several other puppies available at the shelter at the time. Would those other ones be adopted first? Would my buddy have to sit and wonder why his mama didn’t love him anymore?
Yeah, I’m a sucker for a cute face.
We renamed him Badger immediately. That’s what he sounds like when he’s playing, with me or Chris or Shiner. (Charley still ignores him.)
Today, I go pick up one or two foster puppies who need a week in a home before they are ready to be neutered. 
Will I fail again? We already have three dogs, and Chris is hinting that we need another girl in this house. I’m sure there will be people taking bets on how quickly I’ll cave. 
But then I remember that no matter what happens, it’s not a failure. Whether it’s for one week or for the rest of their lives, these dogs will know love. That’s a win in my book. 
Shiner and Badger. We often call him
Little, but he’s a big part of this family.

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