In the “Most Obvious Thing on Earth” category….Paul & I decided to adopt Hazel. No one who knows us is surprised by this news, but, I can tell you that it is not a decision we came to easily. First, a third dog is kind of the last thing we need. Second, she is considerably younger than Rocco and Savannah and third, our job was to foster her, not to adopt her.
For myself, that third statement was the one that made the decision a difficult one. We became foster parents to help dogs, not one dog. But, for more than a few small reasons, we decided that it was the right thing to do. And, as we are in a period of other big changes, I know that we soon will be able to help more dogs…and we will. But, just like Angie and Jenga before her, Hazel needs us…and it felt more and more to Paul and I that she needs us forever.
So, how did we come to that conclusion? Well, Hazel has some confidence issues and we have helped her feel more secure. I worried a lot about setbacks she might have if moved into another home, with another family or other dogs and what the impact might be on her. At this point, Rocco and Savannah have completely accepted her and she has a routine that she is comfortable with. I don’t ever want her to feel like she has to worry about anything ever again. And, truth be told, I don’t ever want to worry about it again either. I don’t blame her for her issues, and am hopeful that they are fully in the past now. We have worked hard on boosting her confidence through training and consistency and it has paid off in more ways than we could ever have hoped. She is loving and friendly with everyone she meets- this is a massive improvement over when she first arrived, when she barked at everything that moved. She has learned to follow Rocco and Savannah’s cues and they have not snarked off at each other once since she returned. She gives space and lets them into hers without issue. These massive improvements came about because we learned to trust them to let each other know what is acceptable and what is not. I let go of my hyper-vigilance and let dogs be dogs. But….as is my way, we did it slowly, and, at least in this case, I think it paid off.
Then there is the not-so-small issue of love. We love Hazel. Paul, especially, loves Hazel. I think one of the things that touches me the most is how Paul experiences so much joy being with her. It’s not that he doesn’t love Rocco or Savannah, or didn’t love Angie or Jenga- he does and he did…it’s just that he and Hazel have a special bond and I think that their relationship has been a big part of why she has come so far. For me, the thought of Hazel going to live with someone else was something I just couldn’t handle. There is only so much loss one heart can take. Though I have been able to get past feeling like adopting Jenga and Angie out was a loss for us, my heart just couldn’t make the leap with this one.
I know there will be people who will be disappointed in our making this choice. To be honest, I get a little disappointed when I see people adopt their fosters. I think about all the other dogs they could have helped and whine inside a little bit about how that is not how it is supposed to work. But, as I said…big changes are coming for us and we will help more dogs. It feels selfish, but, it also feels right.
I never wanted a pit bull. I wanted a beagle. But, as they say….
And…love is love…no matter what.