Friday, May 25, 2012

it IS all it's cracked up to be.

This dog fostering thing can really suck sometimes. Sometimes they chew up a shoe or a window sill. Sometimes they dig a hole in the yard. Once or twice they've had accidents on the floor. Occasionally they bark or whine. And then every once in a while they make you fall in love with them so hard that it just nearly rips your heart out to let them go. Is it worth it? Yes. Do I still hate it? Yes. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

We kept the first dog we ever fostered. Not a good sign of our ability to let go. But we kept at it. The first few were horribly hard to say goodbye to. The second one even went to our dear friends and I still stayed in bed for a day and cried. Then it started to get easier. Soon I was able to happily take them to their new homes and just leave with no ache at all. I don't think I was becoming hard hearted, I was just becoming more able to see the many positives: happy dog, happy family, and a new space in my home to save another dog in need. Win, win, win. But occasionally a dog would come along who, for some reason or another, got under my skin. We've fostered 200+ dogs over the last 12 years and aside from those first couple, that I think were actually the foster learning curve, there have been maybe three that were just really hard to part with (aside from the few that we, um, did not in fact part with). Let's see, there was a tiny, hairless pit bull who made me cry my eyes out in the middle of the shelter. Something you might think would happen a lot but had actually only happened once before when I accidentally witnessed the mountain of euthanized dogs being loaded onto a truck for cremation. Then there was the great dane who was so attached to me that he ripped down the blinds of his new home as I walked away from his home visit. And then there is Bernadette.
 I almost start off saying "I don't know what it is about her", but I know exactly what it is about her - she is that kind of dog that makes you feel special.  She makes you feel needed and wanted.  She looks at you with these soulful eyes that say "All I want in this world is you".  I dare you to try parting with that.  I'm not kidding you, it's making me feel sick.  Lots of my friends have said "just keep her", "whats one more?"  But man, have you ever tried buying food and heartworm pills and paying for vet bills for 12+ animals?  It ain't easy.  And then there is the whole attention thing - when you have this many animals are any of them really getting the attention they need and deserve?  So the right answer is to find her a wonderful home where she will get ALL the attention and ALL the love.  I can do that.  It's gonna suck, but I can do it.  And another dog will need to be rescued.  And I will have a space.
 But seriously, how freakin' cute is she!?!?!?!  Come on! 

Now that I have made this fostering thing sound just like a barrel of laughs I'm sure you'll be rushing out to find your nearest rescue group to volunteer with.  You should.  You will not regret it.  How can you regret saving a life?