Capture the Angels
I had been quiet about my new foster puppy for several days. Normally I’d be posting pictures and videos all over the Internet so that my fosters can find a forever home quickly. When I first saw a picture of this puppy (She still has no name so I call her “Puppy”) I made excuses not to take her as my foster. When I’m ready, I want my next dog to be a young female rescue that has strong Border Collie traits. I already have a name picked up for her too. I want to do either herding, Search and Rescue or canine disc with my next dog, whichever the dog chose. But I’m not ready for a third dog yet. The only way I’d add another dog is if the addition makes my two senior dogs’ lives better than they already are. And right now, their lives are pretty good. My dogs don’t mind having short term fosters, but I know they prefer to have me to themselves on a long term. I’d hate the fact my time and attention would get divided, especially with a young puppy that requires a lot of training.
I received a text from another volunteer…”Are you sure you don’t want to foster another pup?” with her picture attached. Puppy Luke had just been adopted a few days ago and I was enjoying a full night’s sleep. But this puppy reminded me of Jazzy, my heart dog. The blaze, paws, pink belly, dolphin muzzle and a little tipped white tail. And I was told she was already stalking. All my fosters have been males. Bringing such a cute female puppy scared me. What if I couldn’t keep my emotional guard up and made the wrong and impulsive decision. But what if she was meant to be with me? My feelings for Jazzy is very strong, some might say a little too strong. I worry about myself when she goes. Friends say it’s better to get another dog before your heart dog leaves you. It helps with the healing process, they say. But is it fair for her? Cooper is the most easy going dog and he’d be happy to have a tug mate. Jazzy is whom I worry about because of the powerful bond I have with her.
Anyway, I ended up taking her as my foster. I couldn’t understand how two of her litter mates were already adopted and nobody was interested in this most traditional looking fluffy puppy. Maybe she really is meant to be with me. I already felt my guard coming down as soon as I saw her. She stuck her pink tongue out and cocked her head like a good little BC would do. I told the transporter “This isn’t good, not good at all”.
I was amazed how polite she was to my dogs. I was expecting excessive puppy licking but she just sniffs and goes. It made it even more difficult that my dogs accepted her right away. Deep down I was hoping they wouldn’t. Then I could have used that as an excuse not to keep her. She was a little nervous but I was able to get her hooked on a chase toy. She froze, eyed, stalked and pounced. After she pottied, she went looking for the toy. And she used her nose for it. My heart pounded in joy. If you are a search and rescue person, I know you understand.
I played with her while I watched TV. She fell asleep on my lap for a good hour. She cried, howled and screamed till 4am on the first night. But I figured out a way so that she didn’t have to do that anymore. Following nights, she slept through the night. No peeping, no peeing or pooping for 7 hours. Pretty impressive for a little puppy.
First foster dog that was ever allowed on my bed.
Since day 1, I had been going back and forth with my decisions. I already know I’d regret if I let her go to another family. I dreamt about going to herding trials with her. My heart melts when she tilts her head and dances around like a little lamb when I let her out of her pen. But my biggest worry is the possibility of ruining the amazing relationship I have with Jazzy. I have a puppy pen next to my computer table. When I started baby talking and petting “Puppy”, Jazzy got up and approached me. When she realized the baby talk wasn’t meant for her, she stopped, lied down, and put her chin down while looking at me. My heart dropped. When I was taking pictures of “Puppy” on our bed, Jazzy offered me a very motivated “Snuggle” trick by pressing her head on my chest. “Snuggle” is our very special trick and she knows that’s the best way to get my attention. I realized we hadn’t done our daily 5 minutes snuggle since I brought “Puppy” home. I use our snuggle time to meditate and recharge after work. I am anthropomorphizing and most likely interpreting her actions the wrong way. But it gave me a glimpse of what could happen if I adopted “Puppy”.
Sure, I could make this work. My dogs would be fine. But things are never going to be the same – better or worse. And I’m not willing to take that chance at this point. My vision was to grow old with my two dogs, who did so much for me and for the community, and continue to do things they could keep up with until it’s time for them to leave me. Maybe my friends are right about getting a new dog before they go. But I just know in my heart it’s not the right time or the right dog for us. Hopefully the right dog will show up when the time is right.