Lilly came into my life on the 30th of November of this year. I got a call from Rescued is my favourite breed asking me if I would consider fostering a puppy because she had just undergone an operation and needed care for her recovery. I agreed but I was immediately filled with anxiety. This would be my second fostering placement. I remembered the struggles involved; keeping up with the cleaning of the flat, potty training, the guilt of being out all day….As my anxiety calmed, my excitement started to bubble. I looked at the picture of this baby fox terrier and felt love.
After I picked her up, she hid under the car seat and wouldn’t budget the whole ride home. She was tiny and frail with a swollen arm. I could see the marks where she was operated on. I was instructed that she couldn’t move around a lot while she was in recovery – which, for anyone who has a puppy knows, is quite a task!
I was loaned a crate to keep her in while I was at work and while she recovered. I stopped by a pet shop to get her basic needs; bowls, nappies, food and a collar – and we were good to go. The doctors informed her they named her Betty Boo but when I saw her I knew immediately that I would name her Lilly. The same day that she came home, she learnt her name and would come when I called. I took her to the children’s home where I work and the kids adored her and begged me to keep her forever. I admit, I’d already toyed with this idea but for now, I was just adjusting to life with a puppy and focusing on that.
Within a few days, I found out that Lilly had a prospective adoptive family. They had a grown dog so the first port of call would be to see if Lilly and their dog got alone. We set up a date for them to meet and all went well. Lilly seemed to enjoy having another dog to play with. They brought her a soft toy to play with that she loved. I updated them on her medical situation.
Slowly, daily, I could see Lilly changing. First of all, her ribs no longer showed as she continued to eat well and get healthy. In a mere two weeks, she seemed to have grown bigger. From a quiet puppy, as she relaxed and got comfortable, her hyper active true personality emerged. She loved to chew and jump and sprint and sit on me. As time went on, she started to relax into cuddles and enjoy them. It was a joy to see her bond with me grow as she trusted more and more. We’d have moments of eye contact as if she would be saying to me, ‘I love you’ and I kissed her nose as if to say, ‘me too’. At the same time, I had many people telling me, ‘Keep her! Why don’t you keep her?’ and my reply was always the same, ‘If she can find a family who have more time for her, I will let her go. If no one comes forward, I will keep her.’
Now the days are getting closer when I will let her go to her new forever family. People often also say, ‘Won’t it be hard to let her go?’ and also, ‘I could never do it, its too hard!’
Truth is, it is hard. It would be a lie, a delusion, to say its not. Dogs, puppies, that have built trust with you – they are impossible not to love. But love is not necessarily possession. To be able to love and to let go – that is true love. This is how I view letting Lilly go. She has a brighter future ahead with a loving family who can give her company, care and time. I played an important part in that being possible and that gives me satisfaction. Right now its not the right time for me to adopt; that time will eventually come too. But for now, I can give this service to dogs who need it, dogs who might not be suited to the pens, dogs who need a little more care and attention for health reasons or dogs who are in transition and need to avoid going back to the pens. Its temporary so its more manageable for me in my lifestyle. Weighing the pain of losing the pet against the satisfaction of seeing them rehabilitated (physically and emotionally) and forever homed, its very clear which one wins out.
Fostering may be scary but most courageous things are. I urge you to discuss it with Rescued is my favourite breed and consider giving it a try. They need you more than you can know. And just maybe you need them too 🙂