Friday, October 14, 2011

Junior Dog Rescuers

In my pre-kids life, I was a dog rescuer. Usually this meant taking foster dogs in to live with me for a while and helping them, training them, rehabbing them as needed. And of course then screening applicants and approving or rejecting matches. Sometimes I would transport dogs around the province (or further).

I also roped my hubby into this job. We placed a few foster dogs together and he grew to love it too. A few short weeks after we were married, we took in a foster who had some aggression issues, but we didn't know how bad they were until he broke down our door, bit a child, and then bit the animal control officer who came to give us a warning about this. We made the painful decision after much consultation with our rescue organization, several behaviourists, and even an animal communicator (psychic) to release him to the Rainbow Bridge. It was the right decision, albeit terribly painful.

I found out I was pregnant with our first baby just a few days after he was humanely euthanized at our home, in my arms. In my grief and excitement, I told myself his spirit was part of our baby and I was so happy that the universe had granted me this gift. I lost that baby a few weeks later. That was without question the worst time in my life. I was wrecked over the loss of the baby and it re-opened all my wounds for the foster dog.

This experience made me step back and take a break from fostering for a while. Also the fact that I became pregnant again soon after with B1, and then again soon after with B2. Being pregnant and having infants around, especially colicky, clingy, terrible sleeping infants like mine have been, just doesn't leave a lot left over to help dogs, even as much as one might want to do it. I still helped where I could with transports and interviews, even driving 12 hours in a day once to deliver a dog to a foster home while 7 months pregnant. And made a few road trips with one or two babies in tow. The aggressive foster also fought with one of our own dogs, and made him a little dog reactive. Both of our dogs are special needs (one has a serious heart condition, the other is blind) so I was feeling protective over our family. But I still missed it.

Now that B1 and B2 are a little bigger, we took a leap and opened our home to another foster. She has been with us for a month and she's an absolute delight. From the first few days, we had to keep reminding ourselves, "She's not staying/We can't adopt her/Don't love her too much." She needed to gain some weight and needed time to adjust to family life, and we didn't want to rush putting her up for adoption because she's so lovely and we adore her so.

Today she went up for adoption. I've been hovering on the edge of tears all day. When I sent the link to Hubby, he replied saying "Don't show me that, now I want to keep her!" B1 constantly sings songs about her and tells us he wants her to stay for a long, long, time. And wants to plan what to buy her for Christmas. She probably won't be here for Christmas. She's a lovely and remarkably problem-free dog. I have no doubt she'll be snapped up quickly. And I want that for her...I want her to get into her forever home and start living her happily ever after. I will be very choosy and will not hesitate to reject any applicant that is less than a rock star dog parent.

This one's going to hurt a lot. I've temporarily loved and said goodbye to over 20 dogs over the years, and it's always hard, but I have a feeling this one is going to be as hard as my first, if not harder. Mainly because this time I also have my kids to worry about. B1 in particular is going to be crushed and will probably hate me for a while after she goes. But also there was just so much backstory...I have been so afraid to make myself vulnerable again after all the pain that happened last time I fostered a dog. Taking this girl in was a big leap and letting her go will be emotionally really tough.

Painful or not though, she has been worth it. Having her in our lives has been a gift and I'm grateful we did it. Even if I do kind of wish she could stay forever.

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