It feels weird not to have a foster dog. That’s what this has come down to—my normal is extra temporary dogs running underfoot. Yes, Gala is still here, but as of today, she’s officially been here six months, so she’s less of a foster dog and more of a long-term boarder.
I’m torn about asking for a new foster dog. The only dogs I can take with Gala around are puppies, but I’m traveling a fair amount this month and asking my family to take care of Gracie, Gala, Frankie, and a few random puppies who poop, might be pushing it.
And yet….I really want to be doing something.
Every day that my puppy room stands empty, I’m not saving dogs. And savings dogs is my addiction. It’s my normal.
I was part of a book festival this weekend in Virginia. It was a well-run festival and I took along my friend, Gina, to keep me company. It was a fun trip with good food and good wine and good company, but I missed my puppy. Nick set up the puppy cam above his playpen and I was able to check in on him occasionally, but it wasn’t the same.
As I sat at my table, chatting with readers and Gina, I thought about the book festivals to come—the ones I’ll do next year after Another Good Dog comes out. I’ll be able to bring Frankie with me and it won’t even seem weird!
Plus, he’s a people magnet. Everywhere we go, he attracts attention. His blue eyes are startling and his happy wiggle irresistible. When people ask me what breed he is, as they inevitably do, I always say, “He’s a rescue.”
I’m not sure how I became such a dog person. I mean, I’ve always loved dogs, but they were just dogs. I was really a horse-person.
But now, dogs are more than just fun company, now they’re my mission. Until we stop killing so many good dogs in such large quantities, while selling others for thousands of dollars, I can’t be quiet. I can’t let my puppy room stand empty.
I don’t want to make anyone feel bad for purchasing a high-bred dog, and if you chose to purchase a specific breed because it’s what you always wanted, or because you need a hypo-allergenic dog, or because you didn’t know better, that’s fine. I have nothing against you, personally. (Although I might have something against the abuses in the purebred dog industry.)
But when I meet someone and they ask about Frankie and then say, “I have a rescue dog, too,” I just want to hug them. I want to shout, “THANK YOU FOR BEING ONE OF US! THANK YOU FOR SAVING A LIFE!” I do try to work it into the conversation, even if I don’t hug them.
Discovering the dog-rescue community was like finding my people. The other fosters, the volunteers, the adopters. I like them. All of them. Even the ones I don’t agree with politically or socially. Even the prickly ones. I like them because I know they have a dog-heart. I know they also cry at the thought of dogs scared and alone in a shelter, or badly treated by heartless humans, or euthanized simply because there isn’t enough room or they’ve contracted a preventable illness or shelters lack the resources or ingenuity to market their dogs.
These people share my urgency to do something. These people choose to save a life. These people don’t mind putting in the extra effort it sometimes takes to help a dog overcome a history of neglect or abuse. These dog-hearted, open-minded souls choose to rescue. They opt to adopt and by doing so, they help move our society towards solving this solvable problem.
These people who don’t mind slobber on their shirt or dog-hair on the couch, whose favorite place to go is anywhere they can take their dogs. Who trade ideas for leash pulling, crate barking, fast eaters, and irrepressible chewers. These people who care less about what a dog looks like on the outside than who it is on the inside.
These dog-hearted people are my people. And I never knew it.
If you’d like to know more about how you can volunteer, foster, donate, or adopt Gala or another deserving rescue dog, visit OPHRescue.org.
If you’d like more regular updates on foster dogs past and present, please join my Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
If you’d like to know more about what else I write, stop by my website CaraWrites.com where you’ll find links to my books and blogs. I’m always happy to hear from readers via comments on this blog or by email at carasueachterberg @ gmail.com. Connect with me via Facebook, twitter, or instagram.
Have a fabulous week!