Hospitality Isn't Just For People

Submitted 6 months ago
Created by
Kerry Krieger Clifford

My Life as a Doggie Foster

“That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?” ― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

I am the mama of a rescue dog. Moxie. She's one of the best things that has ever happened to us and I never would have found her if it weren't for an animal rescue organization and their foster system. If I think too long about her life before she and her brother were rescued from the streets of some town in Mississippi, it kind of breaks my heart. I'm so grateful to the folks at White River Animal Rescue for bringing her to me 6 years ago this week. While words of thanks seem inadequate, it feels right to direct my gratitude forward. By fostering other dogs who are on their way to finding a home.

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Having two (or more) dogs in my life is a lot. To have more than one as a permanent member of our family is simply not an option. I get frazzled far too easily and then my ability to take care of any of the little lives in my home is compromised. So, while friends and strangers alike tell me how impossible it seems not to fall in love with every dog that comes through my door, I am actually pretty good at it. I think of myself as something of an innkeeper. Running a doggie b&b like a boss. They arrive, sign in, unpack a few things, and agree to have at least 800 pictures taken. Then at some point they meet "the perfect family," and check out. We stand in the driveway, waving until they're out of sight, then we wipe our brows, breathe a sigh of relief, and get back to life as normal until it's time to do it all again.

Fostering is a tradeoff. You get a really cute dog, some snuggles, and a few laughs. You often meet people you might otherwise be too shy to strike up a conversation with because they are so drawn to your dog. People just can't stay away from puppies, and even the grown-up doggies are such an interesting mix of breeds that people can't help but ask about them. In exchange, you get puddles on your floor, chewed up cords, ripped homework (yep, it really happens), and minor tussles with the dog of the house, who isn't used to sharing her stuff and her mom. I've had a puppy wriggle out of my over-full arms and I've gotten hog-tied in too many leashes. And then, you have to say good-bye, which can be wicked hard.

In 2014, we welcomed Judd, a floofy, freckled sweetheart. He almost gave me a heart attack the day he jumped out of the back window of my car so that he could mosey down Main Street. I got him back with no problem because he wasn't running away -- he just didn't realize that jumping out the window of a car was a no-no. I was so mad! But then we went to my son's baseball game and this happened...

Judd, watching baseball and stealing hearts.

Was I sad to say good-bye to this love bug when he finally met his forever family? So, so sad. But was I thrilled for him that he was going to the home that he had waited for so long to find, enduring two returns from families that just didn't get him and a foster mom who didn't have enough sense to keep her car window closed enough to keep him from using it as an escape hatch? Thrilled. I felt all of the things that day. And I was honored to do so. Because it wasn't about me. It never is. It's about finding the dogs the RIGHT home, not the GOOD ENOUGH home. Judd (now Jake) deserved to find his place in the world just like Moxie did when she climbed into the boys' laps the day we met her for the first time. They both deserved their meant-to-be. 

June 2, 2012: The day Moxie rescued us.

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