Would Your Solo Dog Benefit From A Fur Sibling? Fostering Is One Way To Find Out!

The day I met her.

(Picture Credit: Julia)

About five years ago, we were a single Shih Tzu dog family. George quite enjoyed being the only dog in our home, but then a friend of mine went to a rescue to foster a dog and brought me along.

One very sweet, shy little pup, came and sat at my feet just before I left. I wanted to take her with me and foster her right then and there, but I decided to sleep on it and not be impulsive with the life of a dog.

Three days later, I picked her up, and about a month after that, we officially adopted her.

Fostering a dog is one way to find out if your dog would appreciate a companion. George really enjoys being the boss of Sara, our new pup, and Sara seems pretty happy with the entire arrangement.

Sara’s mom looks like a Rat Terrier mixed with Chihuahua and her pops looks very Cocker Spaniel-y. I have no idea what mix of breeds she is, but she’s healthy and sweet and beautiful, and I could not have asked for a better fur baby.

Fostering helped us decide if George was ready for a fur sibling, and we’re so happy we did it. Here’s our story, and I hope it can help you decide to test the multi-dog home life by fostering too!

Sara’s Story



Sara was rescued through MaeDay Rescue in Los Angeles in April of 2015. Once a year I liked to watch her rescue video and see where she came from.

You can watch the video above, and her first appearance is in the carrier comes at about 58 seconds in. None of the other dogs looks anything like her.

She lived in a garage and was quite shy and a little neglected. She could have had it much worse. More than anything I’m just glad all these pups got fixed.

While George may rein as king dog of the household, she holds queen bee status.

How Our Pups Complement Each Other

george and sara stand side by side

(Picture Credit: Julia)

Sara is a natural submissive type, and George has a dominant personality. That’s luck for us because two dominant dogs can end up having issues with each other.

George used to get separation anxiety when going to the groomer, but now the pups go together, and he’s much calmer with Sara near by.

George is 13 years old and has lost most of his sight. I can’t imagine how frightening that would be. But as long as Sara is nearby, George is content.

Sara’s a shedder, and George needs grooming. I appreciate that only one dog needs the extensive grooming, and I also appreciate only having to vacuum the house up after one dog.

Sara lying in the grass

(Picture Credit: Julia)

Sara alerts us often! If someone’s at the door, she’ll let me know with a continual bark. She can’t not bark! She barks and she won’t stop until she’s done.

George only barks if his needs aren’t being met. For example, if they’re both outside and want to come in, Sara is as quiet as a church mouse, but George will signal with a single bark every few minutes until I bring them in.

He does the same thing when he wants to eat something. Sara is ultra quiet, but standing by on high alert, awaiting an outcome. She’s always game for a snack.

Both dogs have their own personalities and quirks, and they complement each other nicely. When you foster a dog, see if they fit well with your resident pooch. You might notice that they’re a match made in doggy heaven!

Establishing Dominance And Funny Dog Politics

george and sara hanging out in the grass

(Picture Credit: Julia)

Dog’s have their own funny laws, and when you foster, you’ll likely notice these dog politics going on between canines. Even though it may seem like they’re not getting along, they tend to sort things out on their own to live with each other comfortably, much like we do as humans who live together.

On about the second day of fostering Sara, I went in the backyard to play fetch with her. Sara went wild for the game and had a blast chasing the ball. This was the first dog I’d ever had who played fetch.

When George saw us playing together, he didn’t like it one little bit, so he got in Sara’s face and barked at her. I ignored George and threw the ball again. Sara chased it again, and George went after her and barked in her face even more aggressively than the first time.

George is a Shih Tzu, so his bark is really not all that intimidating. All the same, from that moment on, she never wanted to play fetch with me again, even if George wasn’t around. I found that so strange.

I adore my George and was happy for him that, at last, he has someone he could order around.

julia and sara put their feet/paws up to relax

(Picture Credit: Julia)

There was a short period of time when George got bad arthritis symptoms and had trouble walking. Sara moved up the chain and played fetch with me, but as soon as George got his health back, she stopped and gave him back his Top-Dog status.

Sara’s a born submissive and adheres to the order of the hierarchy. This makes them a great match, and I adore both of my dogs.

The point is that dogs tend to work things out on their own. They may not have perfect relationships, but none of us do. They find a way to live together and form loving bonds in spite of–or because of–their differences. We wouldn’t have it any other way, and we have fostering to thank for even more love, and fur, in our home.

Now is an especially good time to foster. Shelters and rescues need help. With people at home sheltering in place, maybe you’ve got the time and space to give them a hand by fostering. Your resident dog might love it. It’s absolutely worth a try!

Do you have a dog in your household who might like a companion? Have you thought about adopting or fostering a second dog? Let us know in the comments below!

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