So, here’s where I tell you I kind of lied in my previous post.
Although, there is also a strong argument for it just proving my point.
Yesterday two of our fosters went to their forever homes.
Laney went off to live with a young couple and two cats. She was doing great, making advances on her housebreaking. She was learning important simple commands like ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘drop it’, ‘go potty’, and ‘stay’. It was time for her to find her family and go to them and settle in, before she got more settled in here. Such a good, smart, rambunctious, girl.
Bear also went to his home.
Now, here’s the thing. I love Bear. I’m crazy about him. It is totally different than how I feel about any of the other fosters. We clicked. He could have stayed forever. When he put his giant fuzzy paw on my leg to ask for attention, I felt at peace.
So, why not keep him?
I’m doing this for the dogs. I’m not claiming it is altruistic. I do it because I choose to, because I get something positive out of it, but my goal is about making things better for the dogs.
We currently have a GSD/Husky mix that will turn 16 years old this summer. We also have two cats who turn 12 this summer. When we brought these animals home, we had a very young child who would be part of the household for many years. We also lived in a house we owned, and had every expectation to be in that situation long term.
Things are very different now. Our kid is now in high school. Maybe she’ll be with us all through college, or maybe she is gone in a couple of years. We live in a house we rent, in a state we don’t have roots in. When I try to look five years into the future, I cannot see a single damn thing through the fog. We’re here because work brought us here, and work could send us elsewhere. I don’t feel in a good strong stable place to make a 15+ year commitment to a pet. Because of this, I am not looking for a pet.
Yet, Bear came into my life and the idea of him leaving it made me feel sad. It made me feel a loss.
These people came to meet him. They have a small farm. They have land they are settled on long term. They have roots. They have cows and alpaca. They have a couple of other dogs on the property. They’ll let Bear on the furniture. They were searching for a Chow or Chow mix. They’ve had them in the past. They know they are strong and stubborn. The most recent one died a while back, and there was a long period of mourning when they were not ready for a new dog. When they decided they were ready for a new dog, they searched and found Bear’s photo and they wanted to know more about him and meet him.
Of course, once they met him, they wanted him. Who could not want him? He is wonderful.
They both wanted him, AND they wanted a new pet. They were looking to take on that commitment again, to care for a dog for his or her entire life. The rescue makes people fill out detailed applications. They ask them a lot of questions to get a feel for the kind of owners they will be. They go do a home visit and make sure that things are as described in the application, so I know the farm and the lifestyle aren’t just a made up story.
To me, all that trumped me just loving having Bear around. I don’t know what I have to offer, really. Do we end up back in California? That was brought up as a serious possibility in the summer of 2010. Back in California with a tiny yard and no room to run around? He’s not really a dog park kind of dog, because of his history. Yes, I’d work to get him stable enough for such things, but there is no guaranty. Plus, I’m unsure that we would ever reach a place where he’d be reliable alone around Xander. He was fine about Willow, and great about the clinic cat, but kind of a dick to Xander. Bear crazy loves playing in the snow, is just filled with joy at it. Do I take him and his gigantic, heavy fur coat to 100+ degree days? Yes. I could do that. It would be okay. People in Southern California have big super furry dogs who don’t get a chance to run free on an acre and never play in the snow. I know. We lived there and had two dogs like that. It’s doable, and the dogs were happy. He’d have been happy and cared for with us, I’d have made sure of it.
But, I just believe that he’d be overall happier on a farm with people who actively were looking to adopt a dog. With people who had other dogs for him to play with. He so totally loved playing with Laney. I knew that even if I kept him, I certainly wouldn’t be looking for ANOTHER dog. I really hope he is as happy there as I believe he will be. I hope that I am right and they are a better family for him than we are.
Emotionally, I wanted to keep him, but logically, it wasn’t the right thing to do. So, yesterday we said goodbye. I cried. I hugged him tight and told him that if he got too lonely for us, he could eat an alpaca, and they’d probably send him back.
And today, I am crying as I type this. I miss him. He is a very good dog. But, Xander is happy. I think Bear is happy too.