B.C. Bound

Fostering has been such an adventure, from my early days of questioning everything I did when a new dog arrived, to my later fosters where it became part of our norm.  But no matter the foster, one thing always remained consistent in my home, Dahlia and Flipflop were my forever dogs and they never felt left out.

My most resent foster, Solo, gained a lot of social attention. His recovery, like so many others, was amazing and he continues to excel with his beautiful family.  And when he got adopted, much like when the others did, the ask came in on if I was ready to take another one in.

Except this time, unlike all the others I didn’t say yes, I said maybe……….But Sherri (Royal Canadian Pooch) was not surprised, as when she dropped off Solo I told her he may be my last foster for a while.  And as it turned out, I was right.

I was offered a job in British Columbia (B.C.) and accepted it.  So what does this mean for my pack and I?  Well first of all, YES, I am bringing them with me.  I would never leave behind a family member and YES, I do plan to foster again, in the future, but as always my first priority is ensuring my own pack is safe and secure and settled.

Moving to B.C. has been a dream of mine since the first time I visited the province over 20 years ago.  Last fall I decided, in 2019,  I was going to make my dream come true and made myself a plan on how to achieve it.

Fast forward to now, less than 4 weeks before I start my new job, 2 weeks and two days before I leave Ontario, and 1 week before I leave my current organization.  Life is a whirlwind right now. My place is being cleaned out, I have boxes everywhere and through it all I am trying to keep life as normal as possible for Dahlia and Flipflop.

Fortunately for me, Dahlia is yet to notice any change.  Dahlia is happy that mommy comes home from work every day and gives her food, walks and pets.  Flipflop on the other hand, has noticed and does not like it.

It’s the first big change Flipflop has undergone with me, as he sees me packing up boxes, taking apart furniture and items in our home slowly declining, he needs extra reassurance.  I was taking apart a table and he came up behind me and got on his  hind legs to circle his two front paws around my neck, his version of a hug, which he gives often.  But lately he’s needed more hugs than normal, more snuggles than normal and more mommy time than normal.

I know he will love it in B.C. and hiking the amazing trials out there with me.  I don’t think he realizes how he rescued me 4 years ago and that I couldn’t do this move without him because he is my best friend.  But he will soon see, when we make our way across the country that when he was told he had a mommy in Canada, it was for life no matter how many changes come our way!

 

 

 

 

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So long Solo

Solo’s story may have started in heartbreak, but ends in triumph.

When I think about Solo, I find I am at a loss for words……something that’s very unusual for me!  I have had broken down dogs before, I have nursed broken souls and physical abuse back to health before……….but for some reason with Solo, it’s feels different.

His soul speaks to me, in a way I have not yet experienced with other fosters.  Solo is a very special boy.

Many know his story by now but a recap:

Solo was living on the streets, building himself a little den at the local dump where he would sleep when not forging for food.  Starving and alone, someone found him a nuisance and instead of doing something to help sweet Solo, they decided to light his den on fire and doused him with acid.  Needless to say, he was not in good shape, when a caring lady spotted him and called the rescue. Fortunately, Solo was saved, but not without almost a full year of recovery and getting him physically and mentally healthy enough to go into foster care.

That is where I came in.  And through my previous blogs, you have seen his transformation from a terrified dog to a member of my pack.  And now we are embarking on the next step of his journey – his forever home.

It started as every other adoption process does, application – approved, phone interview – approved, move on to the meet and greet.  This is always is the part where things can go south.  The family is excited, the dog is usually scared and/or unsure, the family gets upset the dog isn’t instantly bonding, they walk away telling me they’ll think about it.  I message the rescue and tell them it didn’t go well and we debrief on what happened and discuss more what the dog needs.

The truth is, I don’t think it is a matter of the families not being what the dog needs, I’ve met perfectly well suited dog owners, sometimes their expectations are too high, other times, it’s just not the right fit and the dog knows it.

This was going to be Solo’s first meet and greet, on paper and in the phone interview I really liked this family.  But I knew Solo would be unsure and perhaps growl and not want to be near them.  I knew Solo would not “show” well, in a meet and greet as he knew more cruelty than kindness in his short life.

I  met the family outside, as they brought their dog, Rome, who would be making the “final” decision on the addition to the family.  You see, Rome is 3 and had just lost his 12 year old brother and was grieving horribly in the weeks that have passed since Merle’s death.  The family felt Rome needed a new sibling and decided to rescue this time around.

Solo and Rome are both shy, but said hello and remained calm.  The family knew, from my instruction, not to approach Solo.  After a short walk, the family, Rome, Solo and I came up to my place.

We sat around and chatted and had a nice visit.  During which Solo growled on a couple of occasions, and the family knew it was because one of them moved to quickly and startled him.  “Promising, ” I thought.

By the end of their visit, they were in love, Solo’s insecurities didn’t scare them, it made them want to love him more, and so this time when a family left, I contacted the rescue to tell them how great it went. Always a wonderful feeling.

One week later, Solo left my home.  I proudly kept it together (for the most part) but did have a few (ok many) tears early in the day while I spoke to Solo about his future and how very proud I am of him.

When his family came for him, they stayed for a nice visit, they didn’t want to Solo to feel they are ripping him away from me, so took their time.  They asked if I would mind helping him into their car, not wanting their first moments alone with him to be dramatic for him.

When we went to the car, Solo started climbing in on his own!!!  He knew he was going home.  Once in the car, he crawled up on his mom’s lap.  She messaged me later saying he was trembling but calm and just wanted to snuggle into her.  He knew she would keep him safe – HUGE moment!!!  He later got off his mom’s lap and relaxed on the dog bed they had for him in the van, but still wanted his mom to touch him.

It’s been just over 12 hours since Solo left and he spent his first night in his forever home, not hiding in a corner or in a safe den, but on the couch!  Sprawled out on the couch, to boot!  Today he is exploring his surroundings and still timid and unsure of things, and his brother, Rome, is keeping an eye on him and all ready has continued Flipflop’s work of teaching Solo to play.

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From the update I received from Solo’s mom, I truly believe Solo knows he home and is just working through his insecurities.

As a foster mom, I could not be more proud of this boy.  He has been beaten, tortured and almost starved to death and yet his resilience shone through.  His longing to give love and be loved remained through his first couple years of life.  And because of a random act of kindness, a phone call made to Eddy’s Dogs, Solo’s life changed and he healed and started to feel love for the first time.

And then he became strong, strong enough and healthy enough to find his way to being adopted.  I feel so blessed to have been part of this amazing dog’s journey.  And I’m so grateful to his family, who saw through his pain and into his heart and have fallen in love with him in days since meeting him.

So long Solo, I know you have just experienced the tip of the iceberg of your incredible life.

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Waiting for Solo’s family to come pick him up.