thank you so much for your input! You know, I asked about the foster-to-adopt idea a few times to a few groups, and I didn't really get the thumbs up on that, it seems like they are very protective about the dogs and don't want to bounce them around, sending them on a trial basis somewhere with the idea that they may be coming back. Though Gabi went back, and I officially adopted her, so I'm sure it happens anyway. I had one foster/rescue organization head bring a bichon/jack russell mix to our house about 6 weeks earlier, and I was sure based on reading about her, talking to the foster and seeing her pictures that she was "our dog," but when we met her we just didn't connect and I wasn't sure why. (The fact that she hadn't been properly bathed, was really greasy and stinky, and needed to lose about 1/3 of her body weight probably didn't help.) she offered to leave her with us for a few days, but we were going out of town, so the timing was bad, and when I e mailed to tell her I wasn't sure she was a good fit and needed to think about it, that pretty much sealed the deal, the fact that I had expressed hesitation. I told her I wanted to foster her for a week or two when we got back, to get a better idea of how she would fit with our lifestyle, figuring that we would probably grow attached to her (she actually was a very good dog, from what we could tell), but she did not want to send the dog back out to a home that might not keep her, so she is taking her time looking for the right home. She's still up on petfinder, and I considered contacting her again, but my husband wasn't big on her either, so.... hard to say. I was attracted to Gabi, the recent rescue, right away by her personality and look, but in my house it was a different story.
Maybe I'll try contacting a few of the local groups that seem to get the types of dog I want, the problem I'm finding with some of them is that the small breeds are quite often puppy mill rescues with poor health or disposition, and I really want a healthy (as best we can know up front), good natured dog. You are right - I am an inexperienced dog owner and while I wasn't expecting a copy of my last dog, I'm realizing I don't know how to deal with issues I've never encountered before, and you can't promise an anxious new rescue in your home that you are not the enemy and will never hurt it. I'm actually wondering if I'd be better off with a puppy, though I well remember the housebreaking and chewing stage. Still, if I have to go through a lot of re-training anyway, at least I might get a dog that is less emotionally scarred if it is very young.
Anyway, now I'm rambling too.... I guess I need to just let go of this experience and move on, try to relax about this whole process and be open to letting the right dog come in somehow.