Fritz the Fabulous Foster

Fritz the Fabulous Foster

I did not grow up with dogs. Through the years, I had many 10-cent goldfish, a suicidal hamster, and a few aloof cats that were only interested in human interaction if said human was attached to a can of food or carton of milk (and in one particularly odd case, a jar of peanut butter). I loved them all like family, but I never knew the unconditional love of “man’s best friend” until I met and later married Scott, a man who came complete with a dopey, beautiful, loyal chocolate lab named Molson. Molson quickly became just as much my dog as his, and when we lost him at the ripe old age of 15 1/2, we cried together, shocked at the depth of our devastation. Scott swore off having another dog as quickly as I craved a canine companion to fill the void, so we compromised and I went to volunteer my time at The Barking Lot.

fritzAfter my very first event, I started dropping hints about the abundant supply of amazing dogs just waiting for forever homes. My hints fell on deaf ears until an email popped up seeking fosters for a husky/mastiff puppy. Scott was a sucker for the combo but by the time I responded, someone else had Mighty Moused in and saved the day. The foundation had been poured, though, and when a last minute chow/german shepherd mix needed a dog-free place to cool his heels while recovering from kennel cough, Scott couldn’t say no. Fast forward two months later, sticking to my promise that Fritz would “only be a foster” (unless Scott changed his mind). We received an adoption application for the furry beast for a home in East County and the home check was encouraging. I excitedly relayed the news to Scott and was met with “East county??! He can’t go to East County! It’s way too hot there!” He was hooked and we were officially “foster failures” the next day, stopping to pick up a nametag with our address on our way to The Barking Lot with our adoption check.

While we may have failed at fostering by becoming a forever home, I learned a lot from our brief but rewarding foray in the world of fostering (we’ve since determined that Fritz is a one-dog house kind of pup, limiting our ability to continue fostering, though we’re working on it):

1. The people who volunteer their time, money, homes, and talents to save animals are among the most selfless I’ve met, for they are the ones who fight for the creatures who have no voice.
2. There is no rhyme or reason to why people abandon animals, and those animals deserve a chance. I’ve had many people ask whether we were nervous to bring a “strange” animal into our home. While it’s true that you don’t know the personality, habits, or demeanor of a rescue animal, you don’t know anything more about an animal purchased from a breeder or store. I’ll admit to having some reservations – but what was the worst that would happen? He’d ruin a rug or rip up a shoe? These are just things and they are irrelevant when you look into the eyes of an animal who knows you’re his person.
3. It takes a village. It’s a village worth joining.
4. You can’t save them all and that is a heartbreaking fact at times. But for every animal that finds refuge in a foster home, at least one more can be saved.
5. When your partner declares “I will never let the dog sleep in the bed”, you should probably get a bigger bed.

Our loss led to opening our home to a new love, and we’ve never been more proud to fail at something.

by Erin Barker


  1. Just beautiful — What an inspiration you are!!

  2. The “get a bigger bed” comment is so true!! Such a great, inspiring story 🙂 I may need to convince my boyfriend to start fostering with our adopted TBL alum 🙂

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