Sunday, July 24, 2016

Organ Donor

When Rowan was a little younger, he didn't really understand the whole fostering thing that we do. Every time a puppy we fostered went to its new home, he'd shake his head in condemnation and say, "I just don't understand why you keep giving your puppies away" like I was some sort of puppy trafficker, dealing in milk breath. We're pretty much past that now, but still, he wasn't very happy this week as most of the puppies left for their new homes. It started on Thursday, with two of them leaving, then three more on Friday, three more Saturday.

I'm not gonna lie, it was hard. Waayyy harder than I thought I had prepared myself for. In fact, I've decided that this whole process would go a lot smoother if I could just manage to not get attached: just feed the puppies each day, pick up the poo, make sure they don't die, keep my heart out of it. But it doesn't quite work out that way. Turns out, it's impossible to help deliver a puppy being born, handfeed it with a syringe,  feel the moment those little sharp teeth start poking through the gums and they start earnestly gnawing on your thumb, listen to them scare themselves so badly they pee the first time they realize they can make a bark come out of their mouth... Watch them grow and grow and GROW, from a slick little gerbil into a tiny dog...and not feel anything. And honestly, even if I could pull that off and stay detached, I wouldn't want to do it at all because what's the point if you don't love what you do?

So, I let them go, knowing that each pup that leaves, it's going to take a chunk of my heart and soul with it. It's sort of like being an organ donor without having to give up one of your kidneys. 

I took photos of each of them as they were leaving. I have great ones where everyone's looking at the camera, but my favorites are when their new families are so smitten, they can't stop looking at the puppy. 

And I still have one left for now (Hondo), after an adopter had to pull out due to some work commitments. I think he'll probably leave in the next week or so, but for now, I'm still mainlining the puppy breath. And Mama, she's still here too, but probably leaving within the week. People asked me if I thought she'd be sad or worried watching the babies go and she was, a little. She had her spay surgery on Friday and that helped because she was largely out of it. But I believe she's also really ready for them to go. The remaining puppy keeps following her around and she gives me this look like, "Um, I'm not sure you're aware, but you missed one." (see below).

I suspect she's like me, a little relieved. We've done our part. And she'll never ever have to have puppies again. I will, though. (not right now, later, after I've had a break, and a margarita..or two). 
I gotta have my heart filled back up again. 


Linda Norelli said...

Lee -- What a lovely essay. I think we all fall in love with our fosters and have a piece of ourselves leave with them. But ... to do it with NINE at one time, and all PUPPIES!! How could you not fall in love and be sad when they leave. You are the cream of the CSR foster crop.

DRainsdon said...

Oh, man, do I understand. Just getting started fostering and let go of my 4th foster recently. What I was not prepared for is feeling like I'm giving away my dog each and every time. I can only conclude I need to feel ennui every few months.