Fostering has so much become our way of life that all my kids (and most of their friends) always close the baby gate behind them when they leave the kitchen, even when there’s no dog about. They are careful when they exit/enter the house, looking all around them like soldiers averting land mines. No one wants to chase a foster dog up the hill.
Visitors don’t bat an eye at the keys hanging out of the front door lock (on the outside) because they know that some of our fosters (Meredith, Tennessee, John Coffey, and Frank) know how to work a lever handle door. Even if you’re only going for a piece of wood for the fire or to throw some scraps to the chickens, LOCK the door behind you.
The stacks of towels, bags of food, and random collars that litter the landscape of our house don’t look so out of place to me anymore. I just dust around them (if I were to dust).
Best of all, there’s no need to explain the random crates, assorted dogs, or that funny smell to anyone who stops by because they know all about my dog habit.
Meredith took off for her forever home on Monday after being a ROCK STAR at the Hanover OPH event. She was a much different dog than the frightened little girl who hid behind me on her first visit to the pet store.
It was a good thing she left, though, we were both getting MUCH too attached. I do miss her more than I thought I would. But she’s got a great home. I worried for a moment, but then when I was putting her contract and check in the envelope to mail, I noticed the little tagline on the check – “Adopt your next best friend.” (I might be botching the wording, but that was the sentiment.) I know she’s in good hands with a family that will understand if there are a few hiccups as she adjusts to her new world.
Meredith’s journey illustrated the real reason I foster – saving a frightened and confused dog and helping her find her forever home. I’m sure as Meredith sat in the shelter down south, people passed right by her cage. I would bet her hair was raised and she cowered in her pen, just like she did upon arrival at our house. She was too frightened to share the real Meredith. But in only two short weeks, she got the chance to relax and know safety. And wow- did her heart open wide. That’s all she needed- just a little time and understanding and a whole lot of love. What a privilege to be able to give that to a dog. It’s worth the lump in my throat as I write this. I miss her, but I know with every certainty, that another good dog will make his/her way north in no-time and fill that vacancy (in fact it will be a BORDER COLLIE this Sunday!).
Meanwhile, we’ve got our little munchkin Okeriete to keep us entertained. He is a ball of curious, full-on happy. He makes a wonderful officemate, occupying himself by cleaning up the crumbs under the counters and wrestling with a stuffed penguin larger than his little self.
He chases tennis balls and sun-shadows, playing full-speed, until he crashes and sleeps soundly for a few minutes and then he’s back at it. I said to Nick, “He just goes-goes-goes all day. No lounging on the Frank bed for this one; but he’s out for the night by 7:30pm.” Nick replied, “Sounds just like most everybody in this house.” This is true- four out of five of us run hard all day and crash early.
Okeriete is swirling around my feet as I write this. He’s ready to go out in the sunshine. The little smarty is figuring out the house-training fast. Our mantra since he earned his house privileges is – shuffle your feet. This is the same mantra the boat crew in Grand Cayman taught us when we visited Stingray city and had to be sure not to step on a stingray barb!
Today he is at Cape Horn Vet (wonderful people who do our foster vet work at reduced rates!) for his neuter operation and hopefully will land in his forever home by the end of the weekend. I’ll miss his busy-self and his happy company, but I’m excited for him to start his real life- the life he deserves with his forever family.