Dogs In A Blog
I’m a dog person. It’s right there in my bio. I grew up with dogs. I was so excited to get one of my own as a grown-up, but I waited until the timing was right. That didn’t happen until 6 years ago, tomorrow. Moxie and I have been pretty much inseparable ever since. She came from a rescue – she and her brother were found, abandoned, in Mississippi and brought north.
Like me, she’s far from perfect. But she’s awesome. She’s always been a great "wing man" for me. She seems to know which guys that come into my life are worth a second date. And when those “worthy” guys take off, she’s always there to snuggle up and let me cry on her doggie shoulder.
She has no idea what cancer is, but she knows that sometimes her Grammy and I leave and I come back looking like hell. I go straight to bed, and she follows me. She’ll let herself be walked and fed by my parents, but she doesn’t stay away from me for long.
Good thing we like all of the same tv shows.
A year or two after I adopted Moxie, I saw a post on Facebook about a rescue organization that needed a foster for a beautiful shepherd. I was so grateful to the rescue that brought Moxie to me that I was compelled to step up. It doesn’t hurt that I feel a kinship to shepherds that defies explanation. The story of old Smokey coming to stay with us and being in MUCH worse shape than his rescuers in South Carolina had indicated is a great one, too long to include here [makes note to self to start a blog about foster/rescue dogs in the Upper Valley], but we got through it and were touched by his presence while we had him.
Over the years, I’ve continued to foster dogs here and there, always enjoying it, but always coming away from the experience with a renewed sense that I was made to be a one-dog-mama. Some people become what they call “foster fails” because they fall in love with their foster dogs and end up making them a permanent part of their families. I did grow quite fond of one dog a few years ago, but still knew that my house wasn’t the place for him, and that having a second dog would do nothing for my mild anxiety disorder. He went to the perfect home, and I still love seeing his sweet mug in my Facebook feed every now and then. We helped him get to the exact place he is supposed to be. That’s quite a gift.
When I got my diagnosis and my mom and dad basically moved here to take care of me, things had to change. How could I justify inviting another living being into my home to be cared for when I couldn’t even take care of myself and my kids without help? I had to press pause (paws?) on fostering for a while.
Fast forward to this spring. My treatment is on hold for a few months, while some high level radiation does its thing on my liver. I feel better than I have since chemo began in the fall of 2016, and I decided that I’d like to give back a bit while things are good. I signed on with Potter's Angels and along came Flip, a sweet little husky-mixed-with-something who got adopted by a dear friend pretty quickly after he arrived.
Georgia was next. She just needed a weekend of
doggie-sitting until her long-term foster could get home from her trip. (She
turned into a foster failure for that family. They just couldn’t resist her
sweet, sad eyes and her belly, desperate for scritches.) She was terrified when
she arrived, and watching her open up and begin to trust – first us and then
her new family – was truly heart-warming.
Waiting for me at home today are two sweet little nuggets named Polly and Panda. They’re terrier mixes from a shelter in South Carolina. They’re smaller than any dog I’ve ever had, and are hilariously dwarfed by my Moxie. I kind of love the feeling of having a dog I can scoop up and tuck under my arm like a loaf of bread, and they’re as snuggly as can be (when they’re not tumbling over each other and growling like attack dogs with chipmunk voices).
I didn’t realize it when I volunteered to take them, but their arrival was ill-timed. Baseball season is in full swing (so to speak), the boys were both in a play at school, and my work and medical needs were on the verge of ramping up. I definitely don’t have time for these two peanuts, but my goodness, how glad I am to have them. They’ve forced me to keep leaning on people, which reminds me just how great my people are. And they keep me from wallowing around in the hard stuff. I never skip a baseball game because there is always the hope that another spectator will fall in love with one or both of them and they will find their new forever home(s)! And when we go to those games, I get to see the ball players’ little sisters’ eyes light up as they reach for the leashes. It’s impossible for any of us to be sad around these two.
Soon enough, Polly and Panda will move on. They’ll take a little piece of my heart with them, but I will also celebrate the peace and quiet. Moxie and the cats may even throw a party. I’ll miss them, but I won't mind, because I’ll know that they’re in homes where they are loved and taken care of like a member of the family rather than as the houseguests that they are here. I’ll remember that it’s not about me – that’s a lesson I need to learn over and over again [makes note to self to write a post about narcissism as a side effect of cancer].
Pupdate: Panda has adopted my best friend Nikki. He goes by Charlie now, and has made an entire family lose their minds with love.