The Final Stop on the Farewell Tour- Laynie’s Forever Home

We brought Laynie to her forever home Saturday. The whole ride there I was anxious about how it was going to go. I think Laynie could sense it; she came and climbed on my lap in the front seat. Normally I would tell her to go to the back seat, but this time was different. I enjoyed every last second I had to pet her. When we got to her new house I went through all the stuff I brought for her- her harness, gentle leader, food, blankets, toys, etc. Her new mom was very gracious and humored me as I described every last detail about our routine with the monkey. I set up her new crate with her blankets and pillows so she would feel more at home. We chatted for a little while as Laynie explored the house. Then Jim and I knew the time had come. We said on the ride up that we wouldn’t stay too long, it would be too hard on everyone. Each of us said our goodbyes to Laynie. I kissed her, and Jim picked her up and held her like a baby. Her forever mom gave her the duck she loves and when she ran into the other room to chew him, we knew that was our cue to leave.

I cried almost the whole way home, all two hours. Then when I got home and cleaned the house and put away all of her stuff, the crate, her food bowls, the blankets she snuggled on, I lost it. I mean lost it. The uncontrollable, can’t breathe in between sobs crying. It was just so final, she was gone. Things got better as I opened the shades that had been shut for two months to help curb Laynie’s barking, let Nola go in her toy box that had been closed because they couldn’t share, and when Nola just seemed like her old happy self- playing with Daddy in the backyard.  And then I got this update from Laynie’s mom:

Danielle,
Thank you so much for bringing Laynie to us, along with all her goodies. I just wanted to drop you a quick e-mail to let you know that these first few hours with her have gone very smoothly.  We have spent a lot of time outside. I got the pool set up for the girls, so Laynie has been in an out of that. She played ball for a little while, but mostly has just been walking around the yard investigating. She has done really well with sticking near me in the yard and she has been listening good when I say “here”. I think she is tired now as she just curled up on the couch. I will keep you posted as things progress and will let you know if I have any questions or concerns.

Thanks again for all you have done for Laynie. She says thank you and that she loves you 🙂

A flood of emotions came over me after I read that. I was happy that she had a good day, but it made me miss her so much. The rest of the night was full of sadness and hopes that Laynie was still doing ok. Then on Sunday, I woke up with a migraine and proceeded to cry most of the morning while trying to deal with the pain. I got another update from her mom later that afternoon:

Laynie has had a very busy day. A took her for a ride in the car. She said Laynie rode really good and just sat in the back seat looking out the window. She got to meet some of A’s friends. She has done awesome today. We played tug for a bit and she did her little crazy run for few seconds….lol. She helped me get my flower boxes ready for planting and she helped me clean up the last pile of leaves.
She seems to be settling in well. I will send you more updates tomorrow and I will post more pics 🙂

P

Again, I was so happy to hear she had another good day, but it made me cry even more. Why was this so hard? Am I just the type of person that falls too much in love with a dog to be able to do this more than once? I found this article from the ASPCA about saying goodbye to a foster and I realized how I am feeling is normal. A few things stood out to me:

It gets easier with time. For many people, the first time you say goodbye to a foster pet is the hardest—the second time is easier, the third, even more so. While you never stop caring for the foster animals that come into your home, you will soon realize that the sadness is often replaced with the satisfaction of knowing you were instrumental in saving a life.

“Don’t feel guilty. After days, weeks or even months of bonding, it can be painful to say goodbye to a foster pet. You may even experience strong feelings of guilt for not adopting the animal yourself—this is to be expected. However, it’s important to understand that while these feelings are natural for you, animals are incredibly resilient and adaptable—your foster pet will become part of his new family and be living happily ever after in no time!

“Take a break. With the constant demands of foster work, you may begin to feel a bit burned out—and that’s completely understandable. You may also simply need time to process your feelings in between fosters. It is important to recognize these feelings and follow through with the break. While you may feel guilty or pressured to immediately open your home to another foster pet, if you burn out completely, there will be one less foster home available—so take time!”

Reading that my guilt, sadness, and thoughts of needing time to process everything were common helped me so much. And the last thing the article suggested:

“Cherish the memories.”

I will never forget the little monkey and the fact that we helped her as much as we could. From her snoring, to her snuggling, to her uncontrollable tail wag and goofy personality; there are so many things that make me smile when I think about her. I may never stop missing her completely, but that’s ok. I think in time the sadness will go away and the happy memories will take over. She was a very important part of our lives, and us to her’s. She will always have a special place in our heart as our very first foster dog.

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19 thoughts on “The Final Stop on the Farewell Tour- Laynie’s Forever Home

  1. Oh my gosh, I’m crying along with you! I know how you feel, goodbyes are so hard. The thing that gets me through it is picking out our next house guest. 🙂

  2. Danielle you are not alone! I cried for 2 days straight with our first foster dog. I still miss him like crazy but it warms my heart when I get updates from his new mom. The only thing that made me feel better was being able to love on our dog again and have things go back to normal for her so enjoy Nola and take a couple days to spoil her and yourself rotten 🙂 I’m so proud that you were able to give Delaynie over to her forever home. I know how hard it is to not question if it was the right thing for her but it was and now you’re able to help other dogs!

    • Nola is definitely more like her old self now that she has all of our attention again. That does make me feel better about the decision not to keep Laynie. We will def have another foster at some point, but for now we’ll enjoy being a family of 3 again. We’d love to get together with you and Daisy sometime for a walk!

  3. The first one is absolutely the hardest! When Lola left to go to her adoptive home, my boyfriend and I had a good cry. While I do think that it helps now that we always have our forever pup around, I always say that when all three of us find a great match, it’s adoption time!

  4. On top of all that emotion, a migraine, how hurtful! Especially when a good cry can do such wonders for a hurt heart, it can make the migraine even worse! I’m hoping the head pain has subsided and that the heartache in time will be replaced with warmth from Laynie-lou memories. You. Are. Awesome! Laynie agrees!

  5. The first foster is always the hardest to let go – my first foster, Ginger Rogers, was adopted and returned TWICE before finding her forever home! The first two times I sent her away, I bawled like a baby for days – the last time I was happy and didn’t cry, but only because I think I’d expended all of my tears on those first two times. It does get easier – just don’t be afraid to ask Laynie’s new family to send you updates – that helps a ton!

  6. The first one is definitely hard. But sometimes they are so special, they leave a mark. Our 3rd long term foster “Big Daisy” was returned once (no fault of hers), and she just had such a great personality – we still really miss her. After we dropped Mavis off at her new home, Matt said to me, “think of all the great dogs we get to spend time with”…that helps, and being able to focus on Ruca again. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience. Great memories!

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  12. I know this was written almost two years ago, but I wanted to say how much this strikes home with me. I’m going to be letting go of one of my longest fosters tonight. She’s been with me since July. That’s a lot of bonding. We leave in less than an hour and I’ve already lost it, just as you described. I’ve fostered several other dogs before, and while there have been tears at each of the partings, this is by far the hardest goodbye I’ve ever done. It’s a small comfort to know I’m not alone in this seemingly-severe reaction. Thank you for this post.

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