Foster to Adopt? Or return him to the shelter? [LONG]

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Here`s another great article:

I apologize in advance, I hope posting this can help give me clarity in which choice to make.

My partner and I have wanted a dog for over a year. We moved in together, in a new city with my two six year-old cats at the end of July. Her schedule and employment worked out amazingly, whereas mine has been a real struggle and source of stress. I’m working on it.

We snatched up Tony, a 12-16 week-old, 25lb (!) mutt of some sort this past Sunday from our local rescue shelter. He’s our foster puppy and isn’t available for permanent adoption until he’s neutered next Wednesday. It was our dream situation! We’re keeping him out of shelter-quarantine by fostering him AND getting a trial-run in puppy ownership without much guilt, as he can attend an adoption next weekend where he’d most certainly find a home. If we choose not to keep him forever.

I couldn’t imagine not keeping him at first. He’s relatively quiet, easy to tire out, food motivated, a little dumb (not going to be solving any tough puzzles), crate and house trained and a total submissive love.

He just LOVES our cats and cannot leave them alone. Last night one of them spray-peed the outside of our bathtub right in front of me, something neither cat has ever done (and they’ve dealt with plenty of life-changes since I’ve adopted them).

I miss my cats. They can’t hang out with me like they want to because Tony barrels his cute little body full-speed at them whenever they walk. across the floor. They hiss, spit and swat at him when he comes TOO CLOSE and he just gets more excited. He play bows, whines and shakes his whole body.

They live upstairs, alone now. They cry at the top of the stairs wanting me to come up, unwilling to pass the gap in the baby gate to sit in the living room with us and Tony. He sits at the bottom of the stairs sometimes, staring at the baby gate hoping to get a glimpse of a cat.

He’s such a good boy! He tries to sit and lay down when they’re around him, if I’m already next to him. Sometimes he’ll focus on me so long as i have a cookie in my hand, in front of his nose, and not at them. As soon as he eats the treat, he’s right back DEAD LOCKED on their every move.

Ive read all the tips and hints, but find myself getting frustrated that he can’t focus on me, on food, on a toy on ANYTHING but them when the cats are around. And it’s not his fault, he’s doing the best he can right now and is such a good boy. He manages to chase them sometimes before I can intervene, and then neither cat comes back for a while. Ugh.

My question is, do we send him back when the foster is up? Let him find a family that might be home more often, give him more space and patience and attention? I’m already exhausted watching him. We play for 5-15mins at a time before he loses interest, but then he wanders around looking for new stuff to chew and I have to redirect him to me. I didn’t think that would be so mentally exhausting, but it’s not “down” time to hang out with him. You can’t just watch TV or do work on the computer- you have to actively watch and talk to him constantly. I should’ve realized this.

If we keep him, can my partner and I ever sleep in again, or will we wake up endlessly at 6AM to let the dog out? I can’t imagine the two of us ever even being able to cook a meal together without someone watching Tony! It’s a small row house, so not much space to gate him beyond the first floor. How can we go out to eat and not feel guilty crating him? We live in a residential area of a larger city, but don’t currently have a car. I’m worried about being isolated to our neighborhood with him- needing to be home to feed and walk him and make sure he’s not crated for too long.

What if he never ignores the cats? What if he DOES but they’re too traumatized to ever return to their sociable, cuddly, silly, present and playful selves? Should we wait until we both have a solid routine and then buy a smaller breed pup from a reputable breeder? Maybe one with a low-prey drive? Wait years until we buy a bigger house?

I knew puppies were work, but I didn’t realize how my Dog Fantasy involves coming home from work, being greeted by a lovable pup and then being able to… do my thing. Let them out to pee, go for a 20-50 minute walk and then just chill together. Am I unsuited for a puppy? I don’t want to fight with my partner about the dog and I don’t want to ONLY have time to talk about what Tony needs each morning and each night.

I feel so bad for my partner. She’s wanted dog for YEARS. Part of the reason we moved was to have more space, a house instead of an apartment, a tiny slab of a yard for a puppy. She’s also struggling with the decision- will we have time to ourselves? Can she go to all her extra-curricular after-work and weekend things now that we have a dog?

Is this puppy blues, or a big Red Flag that i’m a Cat Person and just love the idea of a puppy? I know only we can make this choice, but i’ve found this Subreddit so helpful already. I hope it’s okay I posted this novel. Maybe it’ll help to just read it back to myself!

Here’s a pic of Tony 🙂

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