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People & Pets

‘Foster fail’ nets a new dog

9/4/2019

Cat lover never dreamed of owning a dog.

Kate Crane first fostered Nico and then adopted him. He’s the classic case of “foster fail.”

As a devoted cat person for most of her life, Kate Crane never dreamed of owning a dog. Growing up, her family had cats, and her cat, Lizzie, was the perfect companion.

However, when Crane became roommates with a girl who fostered dogs, she felt she should be involved as well. Her roommate strongly suggested, “If you live here, you’ll help rescue dogs.”

So, Crane fostered a white fluffy dog, Nico. She didn’t intend to keep him, but would simply look after him for a few weeks until a permanent home could be found.

“I thought I could try it out to see if I could have a dog,” Crane says. “It seemed like a bigger time commitment than cats.”

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Yet Nico seemed like the perfect dog, and she ended up adopting him. The dog is the example of a classic “foster fail” situation, where the person temporarily fostering an animal eventually adopts the pet.

“Foster fail is common, but it’s a good thing for the animal,” says Crane.

Part of her requirement was that Nico and her cat Lizzie get along.

“My final straw was, if they don’t get along, it might not work, and I wouldn’t adopt him,” she says. “The dog could care less about the cat. The two tend to ignore each other.”

Now both the cat and dog are finding a corner on Crane’s bed to sleep at night. Nico keeps her active, and Crane says she enjoys a companion on her long walks.

There are some challenges with raising a rescue dog. Crane is not sure of Nico’s background, and the dog has several fears, which may be related to abuse.

“He was afraid of everything. He was afraid of getting in and out of the car and afraid of wood floors.  He was terrified of watermelon. Since we don’t know their history, it impacts how they come into a new home,” she says.

Nico recently tried swimming and wasn’t afraid.

“He’s learned to trust me,” she says. “It’s fun to see him trying new things.”

Despite growing pains and obstacles to gaining trust, owning a dog has been a wonderful experience for Crane. Nico travels with her, and she takes him to dog parks and dog-friendly outings. Crane’s father, who never really liked dogs, told her that dogs are a lot of work. However, since he met Nico, he’s slowly changing his mind.

“I think he’s got a soft spot for him, and now he’s more open to dogs,” she says.

Crane says the hardest part of a foster dog is overcoming barriers related from being raised in an unloving home.

“The rewards outweigh any challenges,” she says. “He’s so cute and excited every time he sees me. It puts a smile on my face.” ♦

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