Cover Photo: There is a colored pencil drawing of three dogs, a rottweiler, a Chihuahua, and a fluffy mutt, drawn in a humorously exaggerated style. Above them is the word "Fostering" handwritten.
Illustration by Lydia Conklin for Catapult


As a queer person, I’d had no role models growing up, had to stumble through every relationship, learning how to love as best I could. Dog fostering was a kind of parallel crash course.
There is a colored pencil illustration of a brown and black rottweiler in profile.


There is a yellow and orangish colored pencil illustration of a Chihuahua in profile. The Chihuahua's head is exaggerated in a humorous way.

After that, I couldn’t stop fostering. Every dog I took in was literally a dog who didn’t die—that’s how high the turnover was in Manhattan. But beyond the horror of stopping, I loved fostering, loved the chaos and affection and wildness of each new charge.

There is a blue and black colored pencil illustration of a fluffy, scraggly mutt with his tail between his legs in profile.

You can’t find someone new?

Lydia Conklin has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative Writing Fellowship from Emory University, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the James Merrill House, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Paris Review, One Story, and VQR. They have drawn cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine, and graphic fiction for The Believer, Lenny Letter, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Last year they served as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan and they are currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, will be published in May 2022 by Catapult in North America and Scribner in the UK.