Tuesday, February 23, 2021


 Took littlest foster child for a walk with the dog. We have to trek along a few pavements before we get to an overgrown sprawl of greenery where dogs are allowed off the lead.

Dog loves being off the lead, as do us foster parents…

On the way there we met a lady neighbour I hadn't seen for some time, her labrador had grown old and had needed to make his last trip to the vet a couple of months ago. 

She was standing in her front garden with another dog, a replacement. The first thing she said was; "He's a rescue!" She told me the dog had been bought as a companion dog for a child who had autism, but two years on the child still hadn't taken to the dog and there was increasing argy-bargy. 

We got to the field and I let dog off her lead, she went for a wander. The child ran free too, kind of 'off the lead' and having a wander. I was off the lead too, and I let my mind have a wander. Wanna come with me?

The announcement "He's a rescue!" peeves me a bit. I got to having a nice peeve about low-rent virtue signalling.

One lady I bumped into a while ago with her "He's a rescue!" dog asked me this;

"Do you know where I can get a template for a brooch-sized hare? You see I'm making some jewellery to raise money for the local pet sanctuary."

Bully for her; pretending she was asking for help when all she wanted was to  celebrate the fact that her compatability with Mother Theresa and Tracy Emmin was coming to the rescue of unwanted pets.

I was really enjoying myself, getting peeved about bargain-basement virtue signallers.

"Surely,' I peeved to myself, "There are bigger and better ways of setting the world right than being boastful about having a 'rescue' dog. If anyone's entitled to virtue signalling it's nurses and teachers and vaccination centre volunteers and they don't make a meal of it. Nor do careworn partners of elderly victims of dementia, the scourge of our times. Nor do social workers who are beset by other people's misadventures day and night while putting up with bouts of scorn from some newspapers and an ill-informed public." 

Actually people who foster could toot their own horn louder than most at the drop of a hat, but we tend to hide our light under a bushel.

I remembered that the woman with the new dog had told me that she couldn't let her dog play with ours because it hadn't had any innoculations. A two-year old dog without it's jabs? Made me wonder about the potential for chaos in a house with an autistic child and an incompatable 'companion' dog you don't get innoculated.

I watched our foster child playing happily with our pedigree dog, a dog we had to pay through the nose for. My mind was racing across the grass, free as a bird...

Why didn't we get a blessed 'rescue' dog? I'd have been able to counter "Yes, ours is a rescue dog too". The reason we didn't is because in fostering you have to take care that any pet in the house is harmless to children, and while rescue dogs can be good as gold there's a greater chance they may have had bad times which could throw them off kilter, especially with children who might want to play rough and tumble.

So we bit the bullet and paid through the nose for a dog whose background we could be sure of. It still doesn't mean you can take anything for granted, but you've done your best.

Letting one's mind off the lead it can go off and find all sorts of interesting nooks. I found myself experimenting with a new opinion namely that there are two types of people on this earth; on the one hand there are those that broadly can't get much right in life and their haphazard behaviour sours things for those around them. On the other hand there are those that broadly can't get much right in life but their haphazard behaviour makes things better for those around them.

Even people whose haphazard behaviour makes things worse for those around them.

I looked up and saw littlest foster child heading back to me, and here comes the dog too, hoping for a treat. I've got ten seconds left off the lead.

I told myself that rescuing people is what we do in fostering.

I did a little dance of virtue signalling to myself, in the privacy of my own mind. 

Then I did a bit of other people's virtue signalling for them, like this;

If you are a Foster Carer you are the salt of the earth, a modern day unsung hero. Totally unsung. We keep it to ourselves.

After all you never hear a foster mum or dad say out loud; 

"He's a rescue child"


  1. I love your blogs and your honesty. Our dog is a rescue, we were lucky and knew people had him prior to us, he was too high energy for them, but was already proven to be really good around kids.

    In the early days I would sometimes explain "he's a rescue" as part of a longer "sorry - we're still working on the lead walking/recall/not jumping up everyone who smiles at him". It was a way to explain why he was a grown dog with poor manners, and not yet better trained. I also suspect some people say it to confirm they did an "adopt not shop" approach and didn't inadvertently support a back yard breeder.

    Oddly I don't find it necessary to make the same statements about the kids. If they starting talking about something that isn't really polite dinner convo (remember when mum was drinking a bottle wine in McDonalds and threw up in the happy meal box) or if the youngest starts swearing, stimming, melting down, eating with his hands I don't explain or excuse any of it. There is no "sorry it’s my foster child" Or "sorry, they have autism" I just roll with it and shrug off the funny looks - if I even notice them.

    Maybe we need to take a note from the marketing campaigns. Nothing is rescued or 2nd hand - it's all just "pre-loved".

  2. You always make us smile a nice smile Mooglet, you should be available on the NHS.
    er…one thing I have to ask; what's 'stimming'?