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:
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 🙂
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.