Most readers are probably familiar with the term “foster fail”, used to describe the situation which arises when an owner intends to provide a temporary foster home for a pet in need but ends up falling in love with the animal and deciding he can’t part with the pet. It happens a lot, primarily because foster owners tend to be compassionate animal lovers and the heart doesn’t always fall in line with the head. It’s a win for the pet since, instead of adjusting to a foster family then being placed in a strange home environment with a permanent adopter, she gets to stay with the family to whom she has already grown attached. And it’s a win for the rescue group since it’s one less pet in need of advertising, transporting to adoption events and screening applicants for, potentially opening up a space for another animal in need.
The Wilson family in Omaha began fostering a senior dog named Kaiya for Golden Retriever Rescue in Nebraska (GRRIN) one year ago. They opened their home and hearts to Kaiya and recently decided the bond they’d developed with her was too precious to break. The family let GRRIN know they wanted to go ahead and officially become Kaiya’s permanent family. But GRRIN denied the family’s request, without providing any reason, and the group’s president came to the Wilson’s home to take Kaiya away:
Roger Wilson even told the President he was filming a recent interaction when the President came to the Wilson home. The President can be heard on camera telling Wilson, “I’m not going to talk to you about this on camera, I’m here to transport Kaiya.”
The Wilsons had taken Kaiya to their daughter’s home ahead of the president’s visit in order to protect her from being taken. They are vowing to fight for Kaiya:
“I’m not going to give her up,” said Wilson. “I’ll fight tooth and nail all the way to the end. The dog belongs with us.”
GRRIN’s president told WOWT that an 11 person volunteer board will hear an appeal regarding the adoption at some unspecified future date. He refused to comment on any legal action the group might take to gain custody of the dog.
I am a 7 year old sweetheart. Yep that’s me. I love to hang out, play a little, and cuddle. I do like to play with a ball or a toy, but mostly I like snuggling up. I have terrific house manners and have been trustworthy in the house. Sometimes I get a little frightened but you know how it is when things are new, they can be a little scary. I get along great with cats and am learning to like my foster dog buddy, and I might be ok around much older children. Fast movements can scare me a little. If you like to snuggle, I might be the girl for you.
GRRIN seems to acknowledge that Kaiya was frightened in the first few months while adjusting to her new home environment. This would not be unusual for any foster dog, especially a senior. The video accompanying the WOWT story clearly shows how comfortable Kaiya now is with the Wilson family. But GRRIN apparently thinks it’s in Kaiya’s best interest to take her safe and secure home away from her and place her in another strange environment. And they won’t say why.
It sounds like another case of a rescue deeming a home good, but not good enough. In this case it’s particularly bizarre since GRRIN obviously believed the Wilsons were fine as a foster family for an entire year. Does the group place foster dogs with people they feel are unsuitable to own pets? Why was Kaiya’s adoption denied? Is GRRIN one of those groups that believe that good homes need not apply to adopt pets? A rescue group that doesn’t rejoice at a foster fail is puzzling, to say the least. How many people, probably including the Wilsons, are learning about Kaiya’s story and deciding fostering is a terrible idea?
Further, this story is yet another illustration of why it’s so dangerous for pounds to send cats to rescuers without holding them first so their owners can reclaim them. There is little to no legal accountability for rescue groups regarding adoption screening. They can deny anyone a pet, anytime, for any reason – or as in Kaiya’s case, for no reason at all. They can deny someone who has clearly been providing a loving, long-term home to a pet while refusing to discuss the matter. This is not what rescue is supposed to be.
(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)