I get to take a breathe today. The girls are off at K2’s YMCA summer job and I am home with all of the dogs. I was sitting here watching the eight ninja turtle pups being their usual rambunctious selves when Alice came up and nudged my arm.
It occurred to me in that moment that my definition of quiet has evolved in a major way since we started fostering dogs. I remember the first set of 3 puppies that we took in from Kathi’s K9’s(an amazing rescue), I was a nervous wreck. I had to know exactly where the puppies were and what they were doing. I felt completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of these three tiny little lives that were under my care and protection.
Fast forward to today. I have an effectively tripod kitten on my lap, six full grown dogs behind me on the bed. Eight 6 week old puppies in an x-pen next to me, a, formerly, emaciated (but on the mend), heartworm positive, mama dog upstairs, another full grown cat sleeping on the couch, and I feel like the house is quiet and calm!
As I took stock of all the lives and love around me for which I am responsible, I found myself feeling blessed. Despite the inevitable chaos that foster life can sometimes bring along for the ride, it is a fulfilling, fun, entertaining experience.
There are times when it takes the wind out of my sails though. A perfect example is my Holdy bear aka Holden, who was supposed to be adopted a few days ago. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how you look at it, his adoption fell through and he is now shacking up with us. I’m completely head over heels in love with him and his fat head. He fits into our crew like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle that finally completes the picture. I want to keep him sooooo bad. K2 is against it, I understand why, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult for me to let him be listed for adoption!
I have this problem I think. I have always had a “way” with animals, I seem to be able to form deep, emotional, meaningful bonds with them that evade me with people. It’s not even something that I know I’m doing, or even what it is exactly that I do. If I was forced to define it, I would say something like “give love, respect, and compassion…get the same back”. But, inevitably, this “skill”, if you could call it that, leads to a recurring broken heart as these bonds are broken by folks adopting my girls and guys.
I find some solace in the fact that most, if not all, of these rescues would have, literally, no life at all if it were not for our home. It makes me feel good that we are able to provide a halfway house, of sorts, for them until their journey peaks in their adoptive homes. But, once again, I always have a nagging thought in the back of my head. “Will they love _____ as much as we did?” It’s a bit of a silly sentiment, I know this, but it still gets at me. I can never be 100% positive that the adopters are the amazing people that we think them to be.
And isn’t that an interesting lesson to learn in life? What would be the alternative? Not saving the dogs in the first place? I don’t think so. I, theoretically, could keep them all, move to that island in Costa Rica with all the stray dogs and live out my days in complete and utter happiness. But, as much as I want it to be, it isn’t feasible.
What I can do is choose to have faith in what we do and in humanity. I think it’s a zero-sum game. The more good we do as a family, the less evil exists in the world. Also, I think, that applies to, pretty much, everything else in life. It’s amazing what 4 legs, some drool, and unconditional love can teach us if we pay attention!