Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fostering and letting go

A few months ago, when I got an email from the shelter that they were in need of short-term, large-dog fosters, it wasn't like I had started feeling that four dogs would be no big deal. I just gave in to the knowledge that even if it is a bit stressful to have this many wild, wacky beasts around, it is what I must do. 

That, as I read somewhere recently, living your best life means living on the edge of what is comfortable and manageable. So I took in Grant, and Grant was (I thought at the time) the easiest, sweetest, calmest dog ever, and he was adopted in less than a week. 

Then I took in Presley, who seemed like the sweetest, most good-natured, precious, incredible dog ever, and I wasn't sure I could ever let him go, and then he was adopted in less than a week.

That was Saturday, and on Monday I picked up Smokie, who is currently folded up against me, breathing deeply and relaxing, after stretching out against me and letting me hold him in my arms during a zoom yoga and meditation session, who is just the sweetest, most precious, gentle soul, just so happy to be loved and to have deep contact with other beings who love him, so happy and friendly and playful. 

He has a likely adopter lined up already.

And as I felt his velvety, soft warmth against me, adding to the sensation of fulfillment and joy and celebration that has come into my life lately and that comes over me especially when I am in meditation, or in the garden in the sun, I wonder again if I can let him go. 

How do you let go of such a beautiful being, one who knows such love in this house, one who is already attached to me and to all these other dogs, who seems so happy here and so grateful?

But I had the same feeling with Presley, and I will have the same feeling with every foster dog, and if I had given in to it with Presley, I never would have met Smokie, and I needed to meet Smokie.  

Letting go is one of the most challenging things we must do, but it allows space for growth and for the next delightful thing. 

And as I--right now--move into letting go of some of the things I have tried to hold on to for the past two years, and move into a more joyful space of experiencing what is in front of me rather than endlessly processing what is broken and in the past, fostering dogs is the best expression I can imagine of the liberation and love that is possible in letting go.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Back to Fostering!

While it is true that four large, strong, active dogs is a lot for one person to manage, it is also true that living one's passion is the key to a good life.

Good news for Presley!

I just picked him up this afternoon. Got him home and had to really think about what to do next. How do you introduce a new dog to three reactive pit bulls who are likely to be all kinds of inappropriate at first greeting? 

I decided to put him in the basement, then take one dog at a time out, tether that dog to the base of the stairs, then bring out Presley and walk him slowly to the tethered dog. 

First Dahlia, because she was the most grumpy with my last foster, Grant. Dahlia seemed to like him right off the bat!

Then Fozzie--no problem, as usual. Then Princess Sky. I wasn't worried as she was easy with Grant. 

But she was tense with Presley! What to do? 

Princess might be testy but she is testy in a good way--she warns loudly, but is clear that she wants to avoid real conflict. So I felt pretty good just leashing up the two of them and bringing them for a walk!

And by the end of it, even Princess was feeling pretty accepting of our man. Now they are happily lounging around, play bowing, humping, and even relaxing together.

There's no question that having a new foster dog is exciting and a bit stressful, and life would be easier if I didn't do it.

But I've been thinking lately about what makes life meaningful, and redeemable. 

What makes me feel that if I died today, I would die having done what I was put on this planet to do? For me, it is rescuing animals. The stress is a small price to pay for feeling like I am living my life's purpose, especially when I also get the chance to smooch with a loving, fluffy, deserving package of joy who needed a place to crash and some warmth and love.