Saturday, December 6, 2008

More Than Good Enough

The Prairie Dog Canine Rescue hosted an adoption fair today. They had 12 dogs from their rescue adopted including Jackie. It was a really good day.

It was really hard to say goodbye to Jackie. It has been really hard to say goodbye to every dog that we have fostered. I was thinking about it today... Why is it so much harder to say goodbye to a rescue dog than it is to a friend's dog that you look after, or a client's dog no longer requires your services?

Is it because you may never see them again? I don't think so. I've had clients move away and while I was sad to see them go, I didn't cry every time I thought about it.

Is it because you aren't sure they are going to a good home? I don't think this is it either. I know the rescue does the best they can to match the right dog up with the right family and will often turn down applications because it isn't the right fit.

I think it is so hard because I'm afraid I'm sending them the message that they weren't good enough.

Every one of these dogs have been told at least once in their life, if not more, that they aren't good enough. They've either been left behind in a cardboard box, or dropped off in the country somewhere, or abandoned at a kennel, or given away because they've had a baby, or are moving, or... It doesn't matter what the reason is, it comes down to the fact that their owner no longer considers them a priority and that they aren't worth fighting for.

I know life isn't black and white and that some people have some really legitimate reasons for having to find their dog a new home. I get that. I really do. But that sure doesn't seem to be the majority and I'm shocked and annoyed by the number of dogs that come into rescue that people really haven't cared about.

I'm scared that Jackie will think that despite the love we gave her and she gave us, despite all the cuddles every night, and despite the fun we had, that when it came down to it, she wasn't good enough for us. When the fact is, she was more than good enough. She was great. We were never meant to keep her forever. We were just meant to keep her safe until she could find someone that needed her as much as she needed them. I just hope she knows that.


onecollie said...

well, thanks for making me cry! It's hard to see all those dogs that don't have their own helps to know they are in great foster homes like yours, where they really are loved....I have been thinking about Beaver ever since I left, don't know why..he's not even my "type" of's just the way he kept looking at me, wondering if I might be the one to finally take him home...hope someone did.

manymuddypaws said...

you totally made me all teary!

i am sure she knows how much you loved her.

it is never easy to say goodbye to them, but I do think that Jackie went to the best possible home for her.

beaver didn't get adopted Jo. But Natalie and I did cut his nails.

Robert Runté said...

I think I can partially reassure you.

Jackie does not feel you abandoned her. She thinks we kidnapped her.

After basking in the attention of my two daughters, 5 and 10, all afternoon, around 8 o'clock Jackie kept going to the door of the garage and pawing at it. I wondered if I'd left some groceries out there or if she could smell where we'd kept the dog food for our previous dog (passed away in Nov at age 18), so I opened the door and she trotted out to the car, and she sat pawing at the car door. She turned and looked at me, and it could not be clearer if she had spoken aloud: "This has been great, but I'd like to go home now!"

We are trying hard to be worthy of Jackie. As I type this, my five year old is industriously drawing pictures of Lacey and Coulee and placing them on the ground next to Jackie so she will feel less lonely.

I can't thank you enough for fostering this wonderful dog and especially for giving her up again so my family could have her. We were having a hard time coping with the passing of our dog (who we'd had longer than the kids have been alive) and Jackie has already gone a long way towards filling that dog-shaped hole in our lives. (She'll never replace the dog we lost exactly, no other dog could be him, but it's already clear that Jackie brings her own set of wonderful qualities to our home, and I hope we can be the "lived happily ever after" in Jackie's life.


Anonymous said...

I didn't cry reading your blog but I did cry reading Jackie's new owners comment. We love our fosters and they are good enough but we can't keep them all. We have to share. Though they stay in our homes temporarily, the remain in our hearts forever. Jackie just touched something in everyone that she met. She''s just that kind of dog. Unforgettable.

miradukesadie said...

Well I've been teary since I started reading this, and now I'm bawling. Thank-you Wendy for taking such great care of Jackie, and thank you to her new home for letting us know she is going to have her happily ever after.

Sarah said...

awesome, that is the best description of a rescue i have read. i've never been able to pin it. i don't have the same foster experience as you guys do, but in the volunteering i have done (and with the humane society) that is all i want, to let them know they are loved. with the one foster i did have [ ;) ], i was attached is minutes, and there was something that said to me this dog is here to stay. and selfish i know- but I didn't want anyone else to love her. if i ever foster again, i'll have to be in a different frame of mind to know that i am just a stepping stone for them.

well put wendy, you should publish this post of yours - send it on to a bigger audience.

colleen said...

You bloggers have everyone thinking I'm out of my mind for sobbing at my desk! Thank you for such a touching post. Fostering is lots and lots of work, and it's so hard to not fall in love with each and every one of them - guilty as charged :)...even when they pee on your car seat, and no I don't have leather.

To Jackie's new family - thank you for opening your home and your hearts. Your story will truly make it easier for me to let my foster kids go.

Anonymous said...

Oh Wendy, I know exactly how you feel. I think the same thing after each one of my foster dogs leave, granted some where harder than others (Gracie, Eddie & Obi) and had me in tears for days, but in the end its worth it. I thought after awhile it would get easier and 30+ foster dogs later it is still the same feeling. But the most rewarding part is the updates on how they are doing, photos with their new family and knowing that you have helped them on their way to their furever home.

Maria Stahl said...

We adopted a dog out of breed rescue a few years ago. I love the idea of the dog-shaped hole in one's life. We sure had one. It was huge and echoing, much larger than the spoiled princess of a dog who left it behind. Our children had NEVER had a day when they did not have a dog. There were dogs waiting for them when they came home from the hospital for the first time and there were dogs there beside their cribs or high chairs (especially high chairs) from that moment on.

Yes, we got our Bo out of rescue... but we always say he rescued us from being a family that had no dog! Thanks to everyone who works in rescue!

Anonymous said...

And, if it evokes that much emotion for the dogs that are fostered, which I live with also..having rescued Stan and giving him to Prairie Dog Canine Rescue..think about the cats..the cats are 100 fold the number of dogs abandoned...what do they think esp. when they are in rescue for a few years and finally adopted to their new hard it is to part with them then! I cry for hours after a cat has been adopted, regardless of the fact that I know they are going to a loving is so emotional and nerve you always question if their new home will be their forever home and will they be loved as they were when they were with me! Cats left behind in empty houses, apartments with no food water, dirty litter boxes..dumped outside in the country or the industrial area...put out on the street..recently 4 cats left behind in Shaunessy...I have just taken in one and someone is trying to catch the very thin Mom and her two 3 month old kittens! We need penalities..not tougher penalties as there are none right now! The municipalities, towns like Magrath, Raymond, Shaunessey, Coalhurst, Coaldale do not care..the fate of these poor cats and dogs are left to the elements and the few who venture forth to care and rescue!