Skip to main content

See also:

Foster fail Friday, edition #8: Murphy

Foster fail: A term of endearment within the rescue community; the foster parent can’t imagine their lives without their foster animal, and adopt the animal themselves.

Murphy loves his toys.
Caitlin McNiece
Murphy smiling
Caitlin McNiece

Caitlin and her husband became fosters for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in September of 2013. Caitlin had seen a neglected and nearly hairless Shih Tzu needing a foster home on her Facebook feed, and since the Shih Tzu is her favorite breed, she knew she had to get involved.

“There was no way I could lay in bed at night, not knowing what was going to happen with the little girl so badly needing a home,” Caitlin reminisces. “So I offered to foster Birdie, and in less than two weeks, I found her a wonderful home with a family of four. I remember crying as soon as I saw Birdie’s potential adopter walking towards me. I turned to my foster mentor and said, ‘I don’t think I can do this again.’ She told me, ‘Yes you can and you will. Look at her new family! You did this!’”

Since becoming a foster for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Caitlin and her husband have fostered nine wonderful dogs, and each one has found their perfect forever home. “Each time a foster leaves my house, I cry a little, and then I’m overwhelmed with great joy, knowing that the dogs will never have to feel abandoned ever again!” Caitlin says of her experience.

Fostering is incredibly rewarding, but sometimes an intermission can be necessary. Just shortly after Caitlin and her husband decided to take a brief break from fostering, Caitlin was alerted to a black and white Shih Tzu puppy at the shelter that was about to be euthanized. “He had only been there for a short time,” Caitlin explains, “but there was a recent flood of stray dogs, and the shelter needed to make room for them. This poor boy’s life was in jeopardy.” It took some convincing on her part, but Caitlin’s husband agreed that they needed to save this little one’s life, and so they offered to be his foster parents.

Caitlin was so excited to meet the darling puppy, but was saddened by the state in which she found him. She recalls, “When we arrived to pick him up, he was scared and badly matted. He wouldn’t look us in the eye. When we tried to pet him or pick him up, he would cower. When we put him in the truck, he hid at my feet on the floorboard. Seeing all of this broke my heart into a million pieces!”

Upon their arrival to their home, they decided to call the little pup Murphy, after their own Shih Tzu’s favorite dog toy. “When I would go to sleep, Murphy slept next to me. When I would go to shower, Murphy would wait outside of the tub for me. When I went anywhere in our home, Murphy was at my feet,” Caitlin describes of the sweet boy’s behavior. She admits that she couldn’t bring herself to write a description for him on Petfinder, because she wasn’t sure she wanted potential adopters to find him.

For days, Caitlin and her husband debated on whether or not to adopt Murphy themselves. They took into account that they already had two dogs, and also that they were a young couple with children possible in their future. But every time Caitlin gazed at Murphy, she knew in her heart that she would never be able to say goodbye to him. He had become so very special to her. No matter how many times they tried to convince themselves otherwise, Caitlin and her husband foster failed with Murphy.

“We are so thrilled to be Murphy’s parents!” Caitlin exclaims brightly. “Murphy has now gotten over his fears. He plays with our Molly dog nonstop. He loves his toys and hoards them under our coffee table. He is 100% boy and can be quite the troublemaker, but his antics make us laugh so hard. Sometimes, I’ll be driving and think of his adorable pouty face and it makes me laugh out loud. He is a complete joy and we have no regrets after adopting our sweet Murphy!”

Caitlin makes a simple but poignant plea to those reading her story. “Please consider fostering and adopting today! It saves lives!”

If you are like Caitlin, with such a beautifully soft heart, and think often about all the animals needing rescue, make your move today. Don’t wait. You can change lives. You can foster, and just like Caitlin you can find the strength to do it repeatedly. And though you might “fail”… It might be the greatest thing you ever did.