Hazel- The Keeper?

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Every time we bring a new foster in the house, Paul and I have a conversation about whether or not we should keep the dog. Stupid conversation, since it defeats the purpose of fostering, but, it’s almost inevitable. We have had 3 great dogs share our lives with us and each one has brought something unique and “keepable” with them. Though, in looking at it with more than our hearts, we know that it isn’t the best decision. For each of them, it has been for different reasons. Angie was definitely a no cats girl, Jenga needed more stimulation than our low-key older dogs could give her….and, Hazel…well, this one will be a bit tougher.
Hazel is almost perfect. Low to medium energy, with occasional zoomies. Happy to cuddle, happy to go off and nap on her own. She is affectionate, but, not needy. She would not know separation anxiety if it slapped her in the face. She is house-trained, sits to have her leash put on and doesn’t mind the bathtub *as long as you line the lip of the tub with treats* 🙂 She has done extremely well with training..and is basically what I would consider an “easy” dog. She is also very cat- friendly and Trixie really enjoys rubbing up against her and she and Zooby have been caught kissing on more than one occasion.
So, here we are again…having the “how are we going to give this dog up?” conversation. And, honestly, it is a strong internal battle, for both Paul and I. Fostering is a roller- coaster. I have numerous questions in my head at all times. Questions like….will this dog be happier living with other people?…..will they treat her the way we treat her and can they do even better?….why is no one responding to her ads?….do I care that no one is responding to her ads, is that the Universe’s way of telling us to keep her?….can I imagine this dog not living here?….can my heart take it if she doesn’t?
That is the big question. Letting go of Jenga was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Jenga had the biggest personality of any dog I have ever met (to go along with her giant head) and I found myself bawling my eyes out on more than one occasion at the fact that other people were getting to live their lives with her. Never mind that I chose those people, and believed that they would give her an amazing life. It is such a hard thing to do. Loving an animal back to health, nurturing their well-being and then handing the leash over, trusting that they will be loved and well cared for. For all three of our fosters, we have taken pretty strong measures to get them well….from vaporizers to supplements, from training to high quality food, we have made it our mission to ensure that these dogs are healthy and able to live full, happy lives….with other people. It’s a weird feeling to say the least.
And, now, here we are back at the question…”should we keep her?” It is as yet not answered completely. Our hearts say yes, but, there is so much to consider. The biggest consideration is that if we do, we won’t be able to foster again for a while. I have not yet decided which I can live easier with…not having Hazel in our lives for the rest of her days or not being able to foster. One is definitely more selfish than the other, no doubt about it. But, even my heart has it’s limits when it comes to loss. And, when I hand the leash over, it does feel like a loss.
Every dog is special. This I know. I just think that Paul and I have been extra lucky with the foster dogs who we have welcomed into our home. It is an amazing feeling to watch a dog be nursed back to health due to your own diligence and care. To know that the obsessive checking you did on them when they first came home helped calm a cough or soothe shelter- jangled nerves. It is amazing to watch a personality blossom and a dog gain confidence…to see a scaredy dog learn to trust and feel safe. Whether Hazel stays or another takes her place, I know that Paul and I have done something that lots of people can’t or won’t do. We saved 3 lives worth saving. And, I am proud of us for it.
We really, really love this dog.

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4 responses »

  1. Ohhh my God!!! I love this & totally like you read my mind! I am sooo happy that you & Paul have saved three amazing lives, any decision that you both take will be a blessing. I love you!!!!

  2. you really know how to put your feelings into words. what a beautiful post… really tugged at my heart-strings. i know that whatever decision you make will be the right one. she is so beautiful!

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