If you’ve been reading along with my blog, you may realize that Jim and I share our world with a number of dogs. Admittedly, by normal standards, it’s a large number of dogs.
So let me explain in case you don’t already know us. Jim and I have our “on purpose” dogs, our “showed up and never left” dogs, and our foster dogs.
On purpose dogs are those we planned. Our show dogs are on purpose dogs. Many of our Dalmatians, the breed we both adore, are on purpose dogs.
The “showed up and never left” dogs (SUNL) are dogs that come in as strays or as rescues from area shelters and just never manage to leave. We take in a lot of older dogs that don’t have great potential for adoption. They fall into the SUNL category.They are welcome to come here to live their lives out as one of our own dogs.
Hazel, Gus and Candy are our resident senior SUNLs at the moment. They are sweet old dogs who grace our home and lives for whatever time they have. Some stay for years, some stay for months. We love them all.
Then we have the SUNLs that are what we call foster fails. A foster fail is a homeless dog you take intending to provide it a temporary home…but then you get attached. And then you end up adopting the dog yourself.
It happens. I should know.
It happened to me the day I went to the Sapulpa Animal Shelter to pick up a little cattle dog to foster. The shelter was full and they were asking for volunteers to provide temporary homes for some of the dogs so none would have to be euthanized.
But then I got Edie in the car with me and we took a good look at each other.
If you don’t believe in love at first sight, let me be the first to tell you that it does indeed exist. Edie sleeps on my pillow every night.
And there was the tiny Dalmatian puppy that we plucked from a Craigslist ad on behalf of our local Dalmatian Rescue organization. She was three and a half months old and the new owners found that a baby puppy AND a human toddler were too much for them to handle at the same time. Ah, buyer’s remorse.
The pup was not in great health…her initial owners had not taken her to the veterinarian for necessary vaccinations and worming. We had to give this little “foster” puppy some time to get healthy and put on a little weight before we could list her for adoption.
Do I really have to tell you that she “showed up and never left?”
This brings us to our final category, our foster dogs. We foster a lot of dogs. At any given time we may have five or six dogs living with us that are available for adoption. Of course you have to pass the Nancy/Jim standard to be approved, but we love finding the perfect home for each of our foster dogs.
And because we are willing to let our foster dogs leave the Tails You Win Farm nest doesn’t mean we love them any less. It doesn’t mean that at all.
It means we have simply run out of room on the bed.
Ok, it really means a bit more than that.
It means we know that there is a great home out there for a great dog and it’s our job to make that match.
I remember talking with a woman who rescued a huge number of dogs (she makes us look like complete amateurs). I asked her about some puppies I knew she had and was shocked when she told me she would not be trying to place any of them. Why? Her response was simple.
“No one can love these dogs as much as I do.”
Yikes. Call Animal Planet. I think we have an episode brewing here.
And this is how I know we’re not hoarders.
Well, there are actually a number of things that set Jim and I apart from dog hoarders…good conditions, healthy spayed/neutered dogs, top notch dog food, regular vet care, no random bowls of dog food overflowing on counters and floors throughout the house, no vile odor wafting from the house into the front yard, no filthy, unkempt dogs (well, I make no promises during mud season), and no cats. You have to toss in the random trailer full of cats in a true hoarding situation. Oh, and we don’t have 30…40…50…100 dogs.
But the real reason I am quite sure we are not hoarders? Because we are very willing to let our lovely foster dogs go to new, well-screened, responsible, fantastic, deserving, wonderful, capable, loving homes (we have strict standards…all adjectives must apply).
I absolutely believe someone can love my foster dogs as much as I do. I have numerous “happily ever after” stories to prove it.
Today, we’re hopefully proving it once again. My foster dog Robby is off visiting a potential home today. If all goes well, his adoption will be finalized this week and he will live his life as the center of attention for a lovely retired couple.
They have a dog bed in just about every room of the house ready and waiting for him. They will take him for walks. They will sit outside with him on beautiful summer evenings. They will slip him little treats from their plates at the dinner table. They will give him everything he could possibly need and then some.
Although Robby looked a bit surprised as I left him behind at the front door with those friendly strangers (the hardest part of rescue for me…how do I explain why I’m leaving?), I have no doubt that he’ll soon settle in to be the devoted companion I know he can be, and I know this couple is ready to reciprocate the adoration.
Nope, we’re not hoarders. I’m quite sure of it. I know because we love Robby so very much, we’re willing to let him go.
Be a good boy, Robby. I think these are your perfect people.
(But we’re right here if you ever need us!)