Monday, March 24, 2014

Heart vs. Head: the Perennial Struggle

Here we go again. 

I'm about to write a post that you've seen about 67 times before on this blog, only this time its subject is not a solid muscled stubborn rowdy reactive loudmouthed mastiff-pit brindle bundle of velvet and love, but a slender pacing sensitive anxious gentle white shepherd who has stolen my heart. 

And you know what the outcome with that other dog was. Am I doomed to go down that path with Lars too?

That path where the dog I began with in tears, dreading the time I would have him because of the stress of walking feeding managing and keeping safe such a high-maintenance dog, the difficulty of managing relations between him and Lamar, hoping praying and feeling certain that he would be adopted almost immediately because he was after all so goddam cute, ends up being a dog who is so firmly embedded in my heart that he can't possibly go anywhere else? 

The path where at the end of every walk, having wrestled with 2 or 3 leashes and 2 or 3 dogs lunging and pulling at every squirrel skateboard or other dog, frazzled and overwhelmed and hoping that the perfect adopter would call NOW, I put the leashes away, sit down with dinner, and a sweet, gentle cold pink nose tilts up in my direction inquiringly to see if I'm so frazzled I can't spare a kiss, a head rub, or a bite of veggie spare ribs. 

The path where 12 times every day I watch Lamar growl and snarl at Lars and then I spend extra time massaging, kissing, loving on Lamar because I feel so bloody guilty for making him go through this in his old age.

The path where I imagine the joy Lars could have in another home, with people who love him and have time to walk him or even a person who works from home and could be with him all day, and with another dog who likes him and doesn't stress him with constant snarling, a dog who plays with him and cuddles with him. 

And after imagining all these things clearly in my head, going over them hundreds of times and thinking rationally how much better it would be for Lars to be in another home and not here, the path where my heart breaks at the thought of not being with him, not having this incredible connection with a truly special creature (and I do feel Fozzie and Lars are incredibly special dogs, with unusually sensitive and intelligent natures), where I meet wonderful adopters who would give him an outstanding home and I just. Can't. Do it. 

This is where we are. So many reasons on both sides. The head has won out plenty of times before (See previous fosters, Sandy, Star, Pager....) and I've been happy for that decision. Otherwise I'd either have about 12 dogs right now, or I never would have been able to rescue the subsequent ones. 

But there are a couple of times when I've regretted letting the heart be overruled. When the connection is so strong, is that something you SHOULD give up? If I let Lars go, will I always regret not having that precious white long nose to kiss and massage, and those innocent, sensitive eyes that look right into mine when I scratch him?

Maybe I won't regret if I know that he's 10 times happier in his new home. So just wait, just wait for the perfect adopter. If they don't come along, then there's my decision. 

The thing is, when I think of these past weeks with Lars, I've had a buoyant sort of happiness running through all my days. I don't think about it much, but it's not something I always have. And I think it's because of him. Yes other things in my life are going well but when I come home, there's always that bouncing bowing mouthing wagging white slinky sweet dog of love. He just makes me happy. Is it possible to let go of that? Or would it be a big mistake? 

And then Lamar. What a horrible thing to go through when you're 14. Living with a dog who scares you and makes you angry, watching your woman who you thought loved YOU go cuddle that beast you hate. How can I do that to him?

Fostering is not easy, it's really not. And the more challenging the dog behaviorally, it seems for me, the more rewarding and the more attached I get. 

Maybe Lars really will be the last foster. 

For a while. 


  1. We volunteer for a rescue. We give you a lot of kudos for fostering. We know it is very difficult. We also know we would want to keep every pup that came our way
    Lily & Edward

  2. Oh, I love Lars' face! And his ears!

    It's selfish of me, but I'm fairly confident I couldn't be a foster. I'd just keep them, every time, or feel guilty that I couldn't.

  3. I had such a huge struggle with this when I was fostering Shaka. Luckily my living situation forced my decision, otherwise it would have been impossible!

  4. Oh what the hell, keep him Kristen. The puppy God will make it alright. That's how we ended up with 4 dogs here and a dad with no car and a monthly bus pass.

  5. I enjoy my rescue dogs because I'm the guardian for the homes I know are searching for them; I love my fosters who will be going back home (their family is in Mongolia) BUT I just sent my lovely, very time consuming, sweet, young Bloodhound WillE to a dedicated Bloodhound rescue and a foster who can give him the time and space he needed. He is doing SO WELL there. It was a very, very tough decision. And, I'm taking in very few rescue dogs because I need, as I come up to retirement, to focus on my crew. They, like Lamar, deserve me as well as everyone else. Hope things are working out for you all.


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