A Letter to Sarge in His New Home

I got the idea of writing a letter to my fosters once they were adopted after reading several other blogs. I thought it would be a good thing to try, and turns out I was right. I’ve written one for Laynie and one for Anna and it has been a great way for me to get closure. It usually takes me several weeks to process our time together and put it into words, but I really enjoy ‘telling them’ how much I love them and wishing them luck in their forever homes. Even though Sarge was adopted by us, I felt like I needed to continue the tradition and officially put his foster days behind us.

Dear Sargent,

Your stay with us began with a large amount of doubt. I have a very hard time making decisions, and bringing you into the house as a foster was no different. I didn’t even know you needed a home until I found you while trying to learn more about a different dog we were going to foster. But, I fell in love with your big white face and floppy/straight ears right away, and so did Daddy. Your age got me, big boy. How could I let a 12 year old dog stay in a shelter? But, the other dog needed our help too. Well, it was meant to be because as we were making our final decision, the other dog was adopted. Your fate was sealed, and you became our third foster.

I’m sure you were confused. After living with a family for at least 6 of your 12+ years, you were in a shelter and then going home with strangers. What brought you to the shelter in the first place? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that your misfortune was one of the best things that ever happened to us. You were the first dog that we got to pull directly out of the shelter and give you a well deserved freedom ride. You were so wiggly I couldn’t even get a good photo of you that first night. Your tail never stopped wagging.
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Our adjustment period was a little rough, and after only 2 days we were nervous you wouldn’t even be ok with us as a foster. You just wouldn’t stop dominating/humping Nola. I don’t blame you, you were probably allowed to do that in your other home since you were still ‘intact’, and being neutered this late in the game is tough. But, no matter what we did to stop you, you didn’t seem to understand that Nola didn’t like it. You also hated your crate, you wouldn’t sleep in it and you cried when we left you in it. We weren’t sure how we were going to leave you and Nola at home together without a crate, and we weren’t sure how we were going to make bed time work for the four of us. But we knew you were worth it, so we tried to find a solution.
DSC_0537Turns out you just needed time. It took you several weeks to adjust, but when your hormones calmed down, and once we bought your ottoman, your wonderful personality really started to show. We discovered that you loved to walk with us, love to play, cuddle, ride in the car…actually we found out that you love doing just about anything as long as you’re with us. As the weeks passed, we started to think seriously about what we would do if no one wanted to adopt you. We had one person ask about you right away, but that was about it. It was sad for me to think about how the number of years you’ve lived overshadowed your wonderful personality. Why were people scared of losing you before they even met you?
DSC_0574And then we realized that we knew from the day we picked you up that you would spend the rest of your days with us. We ‘tried’ to find you a forever home, but really your forever was right here. You just fit, mister. You’re so easy going and can keep up with Nola without annoying her too much. She has been more of herself around you than she has with any of our other fosters, and as much as we loved them, we needed to find a pup that would mesh with her. You were it Buddy, we found our second forever dog.
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You were our ‘first’ for so many things: our first male dog, the first dog we rescued directly from a shelter, our first elderbull, the first foster that didn’t need any training (other than to stop humping) and the most important first, our first foster failure. We know you will bring tons of joy to our lives as you live out your golden years. We can only hope that we can do the same for you. We promise to give you everything you need, want, and deserve, and all we ask of you is to be you. YOU are the pup we fell in love with in that shelter photo, and you are who we will love for as long as we possibly can. Welcome to the family Bubba Boy, you are home.
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Thoughts on Fostering- Choosing the Right Rescue

Each of our previous fosters were from different rescue organizations. Laynie, our first, was from the Bully Underground Rescue Network (BURN). Anna, our second, was with Almost Home Rescue. After working with these two very different organizations, I have learned a lot about my feelings on rescue policies and the characteristics I value in an organization to foster with. Here are a few things that are important to me, and what I think a potential foster should look into before they choose a rescue to work with:

  1. Adoption policy, more specifically how the rescue handles home visits and meet and greets. Does the rescue REQUIRE meet and greets with the dog before the adopter is approved? Do they do a general ‘approval’ or are the applicants matched with dogs? Is a home visit mandatory? Do they check references and call the adopter’s vet for a reference?
  2. The rescue’s policy on the foster family’s involvement. How does the rescue handle the foster parent’s opinion on where the dog should be placed? Is the foster family involved in the home visit and/or meet and greet? Make sure you choose a rescue that requires a level of involvement of its fosters that you are comfortable with. If you want to be involved in the meet and greets and home visits, and want your opinion to count, make sure you ask about it. If you purely want to be a home for the dog, and would like the rescue to handle all the adoption details, make sure you know this ahead of time as well.
  3. Adoption events. Does the rescue actively participate in adoption events to get the dogs out in the public? What other ways to they advertise their adoptable pups? The more visibility the dogs have, the better of a chance they have to get adopted.
  4. Where the dogs come from. Are they pulled from local shelters? Are they owner surrenders? Are they brought up from another region? Make sure you align yourself with a rescue that mirrors the importance you put on where the dogs are rescued from.
  5. Their policy/history with adopting out ‘bully breeds.’ What is their policy about accepting pitties into the rescue? As ‘bully breed’ advocates, this particular one was important to us. But, it could really be any breed, so be sure to look into whether the rescue has restrictions about accepting certain breeds.
  6. Resources for fosters. How does the rescue handle the more ‘difficult’ dogs to place? Do they offer training and support for foster families with dogs that might have some training ‘issues’? Will the rescue cover the cost of a trainer, dog walker, etc.?
  7. Where they are based out of. Are they local? Is it a shelter, or a network of fosters? Generally the rescue has resources that are located around wherever they are located. Make sure it is not too far from your location so you have access. Also, if the rescue is located in a different area than you are, make sure you are willing to drive if you are involved with home visits, as the applicants might be a distance away from your home.

These are just a few things that we have discovered are important to us when fostering. I have purposefully left out our views on each topic, as I don’t want to insult either of the great rescues we have partnered with. It is just important for you, as a foster, to figure out what your values are and find an organization that supports those same values. Fostering is a challenge no matter what, so the last thing you want is to feel unsupported! But, in the end, placing a dog in a perfect forever home is the best reward and the reason why we will continue to open our hearts and home to dogs in need.

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Laynie enjoying a sunny day on the deck.

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Anna also enjoying a sunny day on the deck, before her deck privileges were revoked because she jumped the gate!

If you have fostered before, are there things that you find important that I should add to my list? Did you know what was important to you right from the beginning, or have you discovered them through experience, or both?

A Letter to Anna in Her New Home

Dear Anna,
It’s been just over three weeks since you’ve been gone, and I am just now finding the words to express what you meant to the Mr. and I. I’m sorry it took so long, it’s not that we didn’t love you, it’s actually the complete opposite. You left such an impression on us that it is so emotional to think back on our time together. I have tried to write this several times, but always ended up in a mess of tears. So, bear with me, sweet baby, as I try to get through this.
IMG_3453Your journey with us was unexpected in many ways. First, we thought we were getting a 35 pound pup for a two day hold. You definitely weren’t 35 pounds and you stayed with us for three months. It wasn’t your fault, we fought for what was right for you, even after only knowing you for 24 hours. We had no idea what your past was like, only that your future with us was going to be the best we could make it. Most of what we were told about you was untrue, except for the part about you being a total love. You were like an onion, we kept peeling to reveal more and more interesting layers (and tears). From our first vet visit, where you almost took off the Mr.’s foot because of a little Frenchie that stared you down, to the first time you jumped our fence to chase a cat, you always kept us on our toes.
IMG_3441You taught us a lot about dog behavior and training, Banana. We had never dealt with a dog who had such severe leash reactivity, separation anxiety and complete lack of any obedience. You brought out in us patience, determination and we learned how to be strong, yet gentle leaders. Your dog issues introduced us to the world of BAT and functional rewards. We met the best trainer with lots of bully experience who helped us tremendously. You really wanted to please us, in your own stubborn, pushy way, we just had to find the right way to communicate to you what we wanted (and use lots of treats). But you got it. By the end of our time together you would sit before storming in and out of doors. You walked on a loose leash 85% of the time. You were so much better when we met other dogs on our walks. You stopped tearing up your crate when we left you. You came a long way in three months and I am so proud of you.
anna_snuggleAnd the snuggling. That is what I will miss the most. You are such a good snuggler. You had a way of snuggling up right next to me that was so comfortable that I never wanted to get up. I’ll never forget our fist night together, when you snuggled right up, on your back and slept all night with me on the couch. You didn’t even know me, but you wanted to snuggle.
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The times that you would rest your head on my shoulder, right under my chin, and just let out an exhale melted my heart. I could always count on you to be right near me on the couch.IMG_3320We even broke our ‘no fosters in bed rule’ for you, sometimes, especially when the Mr. was away. Being sandwiched in between you and Nola in bed was like heaven for me. And on the nights when it was just Nola in bed, you went right into your crate and fell right asleep, even though you hated the crate during the day. I never really figured that out, but I think it’s because you were just happy when you were with us. And we loved it.

Foster Dad had the hardest time letting you go. He has always been a bit iffy about fostering in general, as it is such a big commitment. But from the beginning, when I called him crying when I found out you were not just a two day hold, he wanted to do right by you. Then when his job changed and he worked from home, he spent a lot of time bonding with you. He said you were his ‘buddy’ and when I was stressed and tired of dealing with some of your issues, he was calm and always thought of the good things about you. He loved playing ball with you and enjoyed the fact that you would cuddle with him just as much as with me. When we found out you were adopted, he was happy, but the idea of bringing you to your forever home made him really sad. He was upset the whole week leading up to that day, and made sure to really relish all the ‘last times’ with you. He misses you a ton, stinker.
DSC_0177Before you, I had never met a dog that rivaled Nola in quantity and quality of kisses. Your little snort and happy tail was always a joy to meet at the door when we came home. You love people more than anything in the world and it showed when you would give your belly to any stranger you met. People reciprocated the love. How could they not? You are such a beauty and you make everyone you meet smile.
DSC_0175 DSC_0017 anna_kissWe had to fight for you on several occasions, to make sure you would end up in the place you deserve, and sweet girl, we are glad we did. We are so happy that your new family believes you are the perfect dog for them. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure we would ever find someone that describes you that way. ‘Tough’ maybe. ‘Lovebug’ definitely. But you turned out to truly be perfect for them. We have seen the picture of you curled up on your Dads’ bed, chewing your toys and being the amazing snuggler you are. You look so content, little girl.

There are a few things I want you to remember in your new home, sweetheart. First, try not to pull so much on leash. Your Dads aren’t as young as Foster Dad and I are, and you are really strong! Relax, enjoy the walk. You don’t always have to be in such a hurry! Also, your Dads will have to leave you at home alone sometimes. Remember, they WILL ALWAYS come back. Don’t worry about being alone for a little bit, they will never leave you forever. When you do have bad days where the sight of another dog is just too much for you and you get frustrated, or you decide to chew on something you shouldn’t have, make up for it with your loving sweet personality. Your kisses and snuggles go a long way to make us humans feel better. And lastly, enjoy your life. You are now the only four-legged baby for two men that will love you with all of their heart. They loved their last dog as much as others love their children (if not more!) and I suspect that you will get more attention and love than you ever have before.
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Although we miss you like crazy, we could not have asked for a better ending to our journey together. As unexpected as your beginning with us was, the end of your time with us was just what we wanted for you.We love you Anna Banana and wish you all the happiness you deserve. Thank you for such wonderful memories as our second foster pup. We know that we are not yours, but you will always be our foster, and now you will also always be part of a forever family.

Love,
Foster Mom, Foster Dad and Nola

Nola Muffin Monday: Best Christmas Ever

Hi everyone, Nola here. I want to tell you about this past Christmas, or what I call the “Best Christmas Ever.” I’m not sure Mom and Dad would agree, but here’s why I had such a great Christmas.

First, Anna left. I know, I know, that might sound a little mean, and I am happy she has a forever home now, but she was a pain! I am up for helping other dogs in need, but she was a bit much. All my toys had to be put away because she wouldn’t let me play with them without starting a fight. We always had to take separate walks because she was a spazz when we were together. And, she always took my spot on the couch next to Mommy. She didn’t even respect that this is MY house! Geeze. I will miss her a little, she always tried to snuggle with me and I liked it, sometimes.
DSC_0165But the biggest reason this Christmas was awesome is Bullwinkle, or B-Dub as Daddy calls him. Mommy thinks it’s creepy that a moose has a beard, but right from the beginning I knew B-Dub and I were meant to be pals. He has squeakers in his arms, crinkly ears, and a he gives off a sound when you squeeze his chest that just makes me go crazy. He hasn’t left my side since I got him.

DSC_0238DSC_0261DSC_0279DSC_0292He is so soft any furry that I even like to take a snooze while cuddling with him.
DSC_0310As if getting rid of Anna a forever home and replacing her with BW wasn’t enough, I also got lots of other cool toys from my extended family. Opening them all up made me so tired.

DSC_0268I hope you all had an awesome Christmas too!

Meet The Munchkin

I have been itching to foster again, but with the Mr.’s new job and my crazy fall work schedule, the timing just doesn’t seem right. So when I got an email from Almost Home Rescue, another organization I volunteer with, asking for temporary holds for several puppies, I thought this would be a good compromise. I happened to have this week off from work, and who wouldn’t want to spend 5 days with a cute little puppy?

Meet Germany! I really don’t like the name the shelter gave her, it feels to masculine for a female, so we nicknamed her Munchkin. She is 12 weeks old weighing in at a tiny 12 pounds. She was born on our one year wedding anniversary, 5/29/12 (crazy, right?!). The info we got said she is a lab mix. I don’t know if that’s true, her ears are enormous and her legs are kind of stubby, but she is stinking cute.

Her first night with us was tough. She whined all night in the crate, was up every two hours to go out, and peed on pretty much every surface in my house. On Sunday afternoon I noticed her belly was HUGE and she seemed very uncomfortable. Being the worrier of the ‘better safe than sorry’ mindset, we decided to take her to the emergency vet. After a fecal sample, we discovered she has roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and coccidia. Poor baby. We were sent home with three different meds, all with different dosing instructions. What is it with our fosters and making us feel like we run a doggie pharmacy?

After a couple days, Munchkin’s belly is getting smaller and she seems to be feeling better. She has a great appetite and is a playful happy puppy! As Nola stated yesterday, she has two speeds- fast and asleep. I forgot how much energy puppies have. I also forgot how much they go potty. We have gone through countless poop bags since we have to pick up every poop so Nola doesn’t get and of the contagious worms in her belly too. I have used two giant rolls of paper towels cleaning up her messes inside the house. We’ve started giving her treats and praising her every time she goes potty outside and I feel like she’s actually getting it. Last night she didn’t pee in her crate at all and today she hasn’t peed in the house. Whenever I notice her by the door I take her out to potty and she’s doing it! She also now knows sit, and we ask her to sit before she gets fed.

Although it’s been a lot of work, having a puppy round is also so much fun. The snuggles and kisses and cute tail wags make it so worth it. I know I went into this knowing it was short term, I feel myself getting upset at the thought of letting her go tomorrow. It’s a mix of  worry about her health and the care her new family will take with her, and also a little bit of sadness because we’ve formed a bond in these few short days. With Laynie, we chose who her forever home would be and we still stay in touch, but in this situation I have no idea where she is going and if I’ll ever see her again. I hope I will, Munchkin is a great puppy and I think she will make her new family extremely happy.

Laynie, in the Plush

Right after the final stop on Laynie’s farewell tour at the end of May, the Mr. and I were missing her so much that we decided we wanted a memento to remember her by. Not that we don’t have enough memories, but we wanted something physical. I remembered seeing these cute Sock Dogs way back when Handsome Dan’s Rescue was doing a fundraising auction, and we both really liked them. We decided that we wanted our very own Laynie. After months of anticipation she finally arrived!
There she was, tooth and all! Stacey was amazing to work with, adding all sorts of details that I asked for, like her tooth and pink tag! And, the package even included a card and a little description of Laynie.

Here are more views of our custom Laynie Sock Dog.

I know everyone remembers their previous dogs, whether foster or forever, in different ways. It may seem a bit childish to have a stuffed animal as our memento, but we love her and it has definitely helped quell the feelings of missing Laynie Monkey and replaced them with all the happiness she brought to our lives.

Pitties on Parade!

Guess who we got to see Saturday? Laynie! I was SO excited to see her in person. I have been seeing lots of update posts from her family on Facebook, but it has been two months since we brought her to her forever home and I really miss her. The occasion was the Old Hallowell Day Parade. BURN is based near Hallowell (for all you non-Mainers, it’s about an hour from Portland, near Augusta, the state capital), so they invited us to walk with them.

Photo courtesy of P, Laynie’s forever mom

Nola, the Mr. and I were the first ones to arrive in the meeting place. We found a shady spot and waited. I could hardly contain my excitement. I could not wait to see Monkey! It was worth the wait, when she arrived she looked great! She was so happy and she even had her pre-baby body back! Nola was not as excited as I was, she gave Laynie a bit of a “no way in hell you’re coming home with us again” warning growl when Laynie got too excited and in her face. Once they both settled down a bit, and I reassured Nola that Laynie had a new family and would not be coming with us, they were fine.

Look at that svelte body!

Monkey looking all pretty in her BURN bandana.

Exploring together, just like the old days.

As if seeing Laynie Monkey wasn’t enough, we also got to meet one of her puppies, Hazzard, who is still up for adoption. He is 7 months old now and such a sweetie! He’s got Laynie’s petite body, but is much taller and has a MASSIVE head and paws. I think he’s going to be a big guy. He also reminds me of Nola Muffin. He has her coloring and her eyes. It was hard to tell them apart in some of these pictures!

Look at that handsome mug!

Nola, Laynie and Hazzard. If it weren’t for her yellow harness it would have been tough to tell Nola and Hazzard apart!

Hazzard is such a sweet boy.

I always wonder if mom dogs recognize their puppies after they are separated. It was hard to tell with Laynie. She didn’t seem overly exited to see him, but she didn’t completely ignore him either. All I know is that I was as giddy as a school girl to see both of them!

Me loving on Hazzard and Laynie.

The parade itself was not that great. It was just too hot for the pups. We were 24th in the line, and we kept stopping. A 1/2 mile parade took an over an hour to walk.

Hazzard lead the way.

Nola and Laynie brought up the rear of the group.

The pups were panting pretty heavily and we were doing our best to keep them cool with water and wet bandanas. Nola and the Mr. turned around half way through because we were nervous about doing too much walking for her leg if we went to the end of the parade and then had to walk all the way back to the car. I continued with Laynie and her mom and sister. She was a trooper, but she needed shade and more water by the end.

I miss that face!

On the car ride home it was a mix of emotions. The most overwhelming feeling was that of happiness and love. Laynie looked great and seemed wicked happy. She has come so far from when she came into our lives that night in March. It is amazing what love, patience, and attention can do for a dog. I was also happy that she seemed to remembered me. At one point I was sitting in the shade and she came right over and laid next to me. It was sweet. I was hoping she would, because I know I will never forget her. I was also a little sad. I miss her, a lot. I miss her snuggles and her grunts and her toothy grin. I miss her tail wagging a mile a minute all the time. And most of all I miss that monkey face. But, I know that she is loved and happy and that’s all that matters. I made plans with her mom to meet up again for a hike when Nola’s leg is better. I am so glad we got to see her and I already can’t wait to see her again!

So Far, So Good! Laynie Update

I’ve had a tough time keeping up with the blog this week. I have so many ideas for posts, but not enough hours in the day to spend writing them. It’s hard to work all day and then spend more time sitting in front of a computer when I get home. And, now that the weather is FINALLY nice (in Maine that doesn’t happen for very long) I want to take advantage and spend every free second outside with Nola and the Mr.

In all the craziness this week, I did receive an update from Laynie’s Forever Mom, that I wanted to share. It made me so happy that she took the time to update me with an email and even some photos! I hadn’t heard anything in a while, but I didn’t want to intrude on their bonding time asking for updates. It sounds like everything is going really well, which makes the Mr. and extremely happy. We miss the little monkey, but it’s easier knowing she is happy and her Mom P, sister A and fur sister Daisy are happy with her!

This is what P said:

I figured it was about time I send you a little update. Laynie is like a baby to me and all moms like to talk about their babies, so don’t feel as though you are bugging me if you want to check in on her. Laynie is still doing well. She and Daisy do really well eating together, I have not see any food aggression or stealing issues.

Laynie and her Fur Sis Daisy

Laynie takes turns sleeping with me and A. I think it depends on who has spent more time with her that day, is who she chooses to sleep with. The weather has been really crappy so we have had short quick walks and not a lot of outside time, so I am hoping this weekend to take her out on one of the trails and really do some running around and get some good exercise in.

Laynie has learned to shake paws and we are going to work on rolling over next. She is doing really good with her recall and twice now she has been out in the front of the yard with me (off leash) and stays right on the porch like she is told. I have been working on introducing her to the cat. She is getting better, but we still have a ways to go. She actually was comfortable enough the other night that she laid on the couch with me, while the cat slept in the chair in the living room. I had a leash on her just in case, but I really didn’t need it because she ended up forgetting about him and falling asleep.
 
We are still working on not pulling while walking. I have tried a couple different collars and harnesses and I find the gentle lead that goes over her muzzle seems to work the best.  She was walking really good when she first came, but is now is back to pulling. I am not sure if it was the meds and her not feeling well, or if she just needed time to get used to us, but she is definitely a puller now. She is pretty easily redirected though if she sees other dogs or birds or whatever.  We go by one house that has 3 Alaskan Malamutes and they always charge the fence (chain link) barking away, but Laynie does awesome there, she just keeps walking. It’s the little min pin down the street and the birds that attract her attention most.

I have thought about signing Laynie up for obedience classes and am actually waiting on some contact information. A friend of mine brought her pit bull to a trainer in the Oxford Hills area. I guess she sort of individualizes the training to whatever you need. I am just waiting to be done work to schedule something. They also have a doggie play group over that way that I would like to get her involved with as well, so she can have some dogs her size and age that she can really play with.
 
I brought Laynie up to my parents to introduce her to them. They recently had to put their dog down, so they had a shopping bag full of toys ready for Laynie with a ton of treats. I think my dad really likes her 🙂  He got right down on the floor with her, it was sweet.
 
Laynie has also had the opportunity to spend some time around some kids. The first time, I was actually a little nervous because she kept barking at my friend’s little boy (he is 6), but once I had him give her a treat and we went outside so he could throw the ball for her, she was fine. Then she also spent time around my niece, who just turned 5, and they did excellent together right from the start. E kept trying to take Laynie’s ball and Laynie would just sit and look at her with a confused look like, “why aren’t you throwing my ball for me?”.  Eventually Laynie would go up to E all soft and gentle and barely put her teeth on the ball and try to steal it back. So, all in all I was glad that she did well around kids. I am not around little ones a whole lot, but just being out and about with her, it is a relief to know she is ok around kids.
 
So, that is Laynie in a nut shell. I hope all is going well with you and Jim and Nola.  I hope you had a good trip. I saw your blog about taking pics of all the animals. Sounds like something I would do. Like I said I will send you another update after she sees the vet.

Take care,
P

P.S. I am attaching some pics “the dog days of summer” and enjoying Frosty Paws ice cream.

Yes…No…Yes…No?

I’ve come to realize that fostering can bring many highs and lows to a person’s life. Overall, our first foster experience with Delaynie was a high. She brought so much joy into our lives and she is doing so well in her forever home. But it was a lot of work and there were some emotional lows. It’s only been two weeks since we said goodbye to the monkey, but the Mr. and I have already started thinking about when the right time will be to get our next foster. B.U.R.N., the rescue we work with, has so many dogs they want to help, but not enough fosters.They reached out to us last week about a beautiful blue nose pit who is currently at the NHSPCA and needs a foster. After reading about him and seeing his smiling happy face in photos, I instantly fell in love and my mind starting racing.

Could this handsome guy be our next foster?
Nola seems to do better with males, so he could be a better fit.
But it’s only been two weeks since Laynie.
Nola is so happy to have all our attention back, is it fair to her to do this again right away?
I’m SO busy at work, will I have enough time?
The adjustment period takes time, and patience, am I ready for that again?
It’s only been two weeks since Laynie.
I am traveling for work in a couple weeks and so is Jim. Is it going to be too much for one person with both dogs?
What if he fits in so well it is not a hard adjustment at all?
What if he doesn’t get along with Nola?
It’s only been two weeks since Laynie.
And so on and so on…

This is where my indecisiveness really kicks in. I could go back and forth thinking about every possible aspect of any decision for days and that is exactly what I did all weekend. Ultimately it came down to the fact that it just doesn’t feel right yet. Life is such a juggling act, between work, family, friends, and dogs, it can just stretch you so thin. The busyness of my job comes in cycles and we had Delaynie in the down time of the cycle so I could work from home, take a few extended lunches, and use some vacation time to help her and Nola adjust. But now, I just don’t have that flexibility. Next week I have a marketing summit that will leave me no free time, and the following week I will be in Miami working a trade show. Then when I come home, Jim will be going to Minneapolis for a few days, home for the Fourth, then he’s off again to Philly. In other words, we are too busy. I feel a bit selfish saying that, but I also don’t think it would be fair to the foster pup to only have a small percentage of our attention. I want to devote as much time and energy as I can to a foster, and right now I have very little of those things.

So, I said no. And it breaks my heart. But, B.U.R.N. has another foster lined up for him, so he will be rescued from the shelter anyway. I am yearning to help another dog in need, animal rescue is very addictive! I know that there will never be a shortage of dogs that need foster homes (even though I dream of a day when that will be the case) so when things calm down I will be knocking at B.U.R.N.’s door for another pup to share the highs and (hopefully not many) lows of life with.

Dear Foster Mom

My friend Kiersten sent me this the week before we brought Laynie to her forever home. At the time, I couldn’t read it, it made me too sad. Now, after writing my letter to Laynie, I think this is what she would write to me.

Dear Foster Mom
Author Unknown

There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love.
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.

I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold.
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love it, you helped me to mend.
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you’d done all you could do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.

First you said, “Sweetheart, you’re ready to go.
I’ve done all I can, and you’ve learned all I know.”
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and a kiss.
Along came a new family, they even have kids!

They took me to their home, forever to stay.
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear.
No matter how far, you will always be near.

And so, Foster Mom, you know I’ve moved on.
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.
But I’ll never forget what I leaned that first day.
You never really give your fosters away.

You gave me these thoughts to remember you by.
We many never meet again, and now I know why.
You’ll remember I lived with you for a time.
I may not be yours, but you’ll always be mine.

Love you Laynie. So glad you are doing well in your forever home!