Last week we celebrated National Dog Day, almost by accident. My fiance and I have been tired, a bit worn down with life activities-mostly wedding planning, work, and all the small things that add up in between.
I am lucky that he loves me, that he puts up with me, because a midst all this I had this wild hair to foster puppies. Not necessarily in honor of Dog Day, but in honor of…I don’t exactly know…something bigger than ourselves. It is so easy to take our lives for granted. It is so easy to say that this day and the next day, and then the day after that, will all be the same. We make our beds and then we lie in them, because we must, that is our choice. But I seem to forget that choices are not a constant, that minds can change, and that if something is not the way you or I want then you, or I, have all the power needed to make a change. So, instead of watching Trueblood, again, we left the comfort of our routine, the comfort of our safe four walls, the habits of our two loving dogs and sometimes loving cat, and headed to Family Dog Rescue.
FDR recently took on a plethora of dogs from kill shelters in the Central Valley and dogs (puppies!) were literally living in offices. I knew they needed the help, and maybe my human love and I did too. We took in two sibling terrier pups, too young for permanent adoption and under vaccinated for general populations, went home, and had our whole worlds shifted out of perspective for days-days that seemed longer and fuller and more robust than the same hours felt not a week before. Barnaby and Wes adjusted, slowly. Cooper adjusted at a snail’s pace. But what seemed chaotic and a bit traumatic took on its own rhythm, its own harmony. We committed to a week and a half and sadly, for us, one of the two was adopted last night so we returned to the shelter to meet the new Forever family. And in sending off the two pups to new homes, we cried-totally like babies. Or at least I did. The FDR staff are amazing, and in our small moment of sadness at giving up these bundles of energy and love, they assured us that young fosters need the stability a home can bring them, that fostering outside the shelter gives them the unconditional stepping stones to leading a healthy life with their future families-socialization, love, warmth, care, and even other animals to safely interact with. They reassured us, and so we took in two more just too young for their Forever home. We had committed to the full week and a half, so why not? They needed a safe space, our home was already prepped, and FDR has more than enough puppies to go around.
The thing about this experience, even while housing our second set of sibling puppies, is that it is FUN but it is also HARD. Puppies need a ton of care and they need a ton of love. Barn and Wes have been grown for so long now that I forgot what that stage was like. They are their own beings. Puppies, man…puppies are the best and the absolute worst. They give you love but they show you to your core your deepest weakness. Are you a bad morning person? They say “F**k that.” You no longer have a choice. Want to be lazy and watch Trueblood on HBOgo all night? They say “Lolz, I want to pee on the carpet, then the couch, then chew on your toe until it bleeds.” Want to lounge in bed an extra ten minutes or go to brunch or maybe, just maybe, go to the bathroom with some peace and quiet? Puppies response: “You’re so funny, big fleshy thing. Now, feed me kibble one at a time like they were grapes from a vine.” (Remember, grapes are bad for dogs).
“We had committed to the full week and a half, so why not?”
Whatever person I was a week ago, whatever vision I had of myself as being caring and concerned for other living beings, is ash compared to who I am today, in this very moment. I am tuckered out. And it has only been a week. I thought I was tired before, hoping that Barn and Wes would let me sleep past 5:30am on any given day. But you know the thing about Barn and Wes? Once they go out? Once they eat? They like to go back to bed! Which means I get to too! Puppies haven’t gotten there yet, so my complaints of yesteryear are as outdated as my thoughts on Facebook Messenger. These puppies got me out of my head, out of my Google Calendar, and shook some life into me, and its only been a week. I think that is pretty good medicine, the soul stretching kind. And I didn’t even really know I needed a dose. I thought “They need help”. In the end, they helped me.
These last two little ones, the ones my fiance has in his arms? I don’t even know their names. He named them Hazelnut and Chocolate. The are Merle Chis mixes with bright blue eyes and they are so light and small that I think I must be dreaming, at least until they start choking on my hair. They’ll be adoptable soon, with all their vaccinations. Keep an eye out for them!