Did you hear my heart break Saturday? I tried not to let it make a sound but I fear you might have caught it anyhow.
I opened a car door and good, funny, driven, happy, smart Sir Wynston Churchill hopped on in just the way he’s been taught to do. I gave his new mom a hug and a big smile and got in my truck and drove off. I didn’t cry then. I haven’t cried since. I have had tears prickling my soul ever since. I have called Wyn when I call the dogs, and I keep looking for him everywhere. I’ll get over it. He was over it before he got to his new home.
It’s funny this masochistic (that is “tending to be self-destructive”) thing they call fostering.
We’ve been actively fostering for 18 years and I have lost track of exact numbers. To be honest I wasn’t ever really good at keeping them but there are a number of partial lists around. Amazing how well I recall most of the individuals. Thanks to moms and their litters and some crazy projects (200 fish, 100 budgies come to mind) it’s certainly over a thousand foster animals. Maybe well over a thousand animals, perhaps it’s better I haven’t kept track.
Many many many of them have slid into my heart and will always live there. Irvine, the kitty deliberately soaked in oil, Sadie the saddest little bc mix I’ve ever met, Cleopatra, the first turtle we fostered, dear mutilated Conrad the cockatoo, Rainbow the crazy calico girl, Bacchus the husky who stood on our dining room table, Lola the little rabbit who fought so very hard to survive; the list is endless yet every one of them got a piece of my heart. They gave me huge pieces of theirs back. So it all balances out right?
It’s really quite amazing how happy many of the fosters are to see us long after they are very happy in their forever homes. Lola the Pom, Cassie, Emma and many others sure know how to make a person feel appreciated and special! The palliative fosters that are with us for years take a special place too – Pompeii, Pete, Kizmet, Ibby – each one of the oldies have thrived here. The orphan puppies wiggle right in too!
Wyn will have a huge piece of our hearts forever and a day. No doubt placing him was one of the toughest to date. He had been with us 102 nights and, apart from two nights when we were in Banff, he was never further than arm’s reach from Sally and me. If this lead hadn’t worked out it is quite likely he’d be permanent. If he bounces back (and yes even wonderful dogs do sometimes) the same could be true. But he is in a super home and all reports to date have been great.
How do I do it?
Simple; I suck it up Buttercup and put the animal’s interests ahead of my own. By placing Wyn I’ve made him, Brody and Sampson all very happy. I’ve made Tom, Sally and me a little sad but we will be OK. Wyn will be wonderful and that’s pretty special.
Why do I do it?
Helen Keller, wise woman that she was said this many years ago. I first heard it about 1980.
Her words resonate deeply with me. If I can do it, and doing it is a good thing how can I not do it? By placing our most of, and our most adoptable, foster animals we are able to give a good home to the permanent crew. We are able to know that financially we can manage to feed our gang and keep them in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. We could (and do) deal with an emergency bill .. and feed the worlds most expensive kibble. We can fit everybody in the vehicles we drive. We have enough love, dog beds, toys to go around. We can give back to the world in a concrete way and keep a spot open for those most in need.