Hazel

I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since Hazel (aka Big Lady) came into our lives. 

I also cannot believe that I have only dedicated one blog to her, although, admittedly, I have taken a respite from blogging and am just getting back into it!

Hazel is Miss Ellie’s baby sister.  On February 14th, 2020, Janet brought her little girl home, and she was instantly enamored by us all.

Well, by us humans and Dahlia anyway. 

Flipflop and Miss Ellie took some time…..

The past twelve months have flown by, and it is difficult to believe that for the first few months of Hazel’s arrival, I had to keep her and Flipflop separated.  He was extremely jealous of the new puppy joining his pack.  He had navigated his way through numerous foster siblings, but somehow, he knew that Hazel’s situation was unique, that she was Auntie Janet’s baby and that she would be sticking around!

In April of 2020, Flipflop finally started to engage Hazel in play, but only if we were in Janet’s home. When Janet visited in our home, Flipflop still did not like it.  I am not certain when he started changing his tune with her, but the memory of him wanting nothing to do with Hazel is a blur now! 

He loves her! 

Hazel has brought so much joy into the pack, and she reminds me so much of Flipflop when he was just a couple of years younger.  Her energy is endless, she climbs the mountainsides like a goat, and she loves love.

When Janet was getting Hazel, I knew I would love her, I have yet to meet a dog that I have not been smitten with! 

What I did not expect was to be so infatuated with this sweet pup and for her to remind me so much of Flipflop that I simply cannot get enough of her!  

(Please do not misunderstand that this means that I love Dahlia and Miss Ellie any less than with my whole heart.  I adore those two ladies more than words can describe.)

Hazel and Flipflop have this energy around them that makes me want to just squeeze them with everything that I have.  My heart melts at the sight of them, their zest for life, their crazy personalities, and the fact that, at the end of it all, they both just want to curl up and snuggle with their mommas.

I find humour and nostalgia in Janet’s exhaustion when Hazel hasn’t tired and wants to keep going.  I have lived through it with Flipflop (and still do some days).  I love watching how Hazel incites a youthfulness in Miss Ellie, and how Miss Ellie will engage her baby sister in play.  I so enjoy hiking with Hazel and Flipflop and watching her follow him everywhere as they run. 

Now that Miss Ellie and Flipflop have accepted Hazel, Dahlia no longer feels it necessary to coddle her, but, on every visit, Hazel makes a point to approach Dahlia and give her kisses.  It’s such a dear gesture; Hazel wants to let her old friend know that she still loves her.

Hazel’s special personality endears her to everyone whom she encounters, even my cat Angel who generally avoids the dogs at all costs.  Hazel is so kind and gentle that Angel will allow her to approach him.  Hazel will even seek him out if he’s hiding when she visits.

To meet Hazel is to love Hazel.  This lovely pup has such a special soul, she melts my heart, and I am so proud to be her Auntie!

This Sunday (February 14th), we’ll be celebrating Hazel’s first Gotcha Day, and of course, the three-year engagement of Miss Ellie and Flipflop!

I LOVE LUCY!

As a past foster mom, I always think and worry about the dogs who have come into my life.

Some of them have moms who have become friends and we chat often; others touch base periodically and sadly, a few have moved on and I just hope that my former fosters are as loved as I want them to be.  I’m pretty sure that they are, but I miss not hearing about them. 

However, I know that fostering is a job, I am just a moment in time in a dogs life to help get a pup in crisis off the street, away from abuse, or just a place to chill while they got ready for a forever home.

As with any experience in life, time goes on and so does life, and although you carry all those you loved in your heart, it wasn’t until recently that I was reminded how you really never stop loving your foster dogs! 

Lucy, a terrier mix, had come to me after being surrendered back to the rescue because her deadbeat humans were getting divorced and neither of them wanted her (they had three dogs, took one each and surrendered Lucy). 

While this pisses me off to no end, it was definitely Lucy’s good fortune! 

Lucy stayed with us for six months before finding her perfect home, and I was completely confident that her forever mom would love and care for her, and I was right.

I speak with Lucy’s mom every now and then, just a quick check-in to see how they are doing. I last spoke with her in December, and Lucy was doing great.  She and her mom moved last year and Lucy had made lots of friends in her new neighbourhood.

So, when my friend, Jen, forwarded an “available for adoption” posting featuring Lucy to me, my heart stopped!!

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!  I literally thought I would throw up. 

Why was Lucy back up for adoption???

Why didn’t the rescue contact me to tell me???

I know that the rescue isn’t obligated to keep me updated, but Sherri and I have become great friends, and she knows that every one of my foster kids are a piece of my heart.  And although I no longer fostered for Sherri (because I had moved across the country), I would have asked to have Lucy flown out to stay with us if she was not in a good place.

While a million thoughts raced through my head, I noticed all the pictures I submitted for Lucy’s adoption were on the ad.

I frantically messaged Jen back……..

Is this a new post for Lucy??? She’s one of mine!!!!”

“Oh hon, NO!” she wrote back, “This was in my [Facebook] memories today!”

My breathing slowly returned to normal as Jen continued to type…

“I remembered when you fostered her, and she is so cute!   I would NEVER scare you like that!”

Needless to say, relief overcame me instantly and eventually my heart rate returned to normal. 

But it did remind me how much of my heart I gave to all those who came into my life, and how that will never change. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want it to!

Much to Lucy’s displeasure I dressed her up as a Christmas Elf!

Prince Charming ❤

I don’t believe in fairy tales.  Life doesn’t always give us happy endings.  But, in some cases, for some lucky humans and dogs, it can. 

I know this because a very special Prince is giving a dear friend of mine a happy ending that she never saw coming.

A few weeks before Christmas, I received a text from Jen (the mom of Chloe, Jasmine and Hope who I have posted about before).   She and her husband decided to foster for the first time.  There was a senior German Shepherd in need of urgent fostering and Jen felt compelled to help.

Knowing the grief that Jen was going though after losing Hope in September, I knew this would be so beneficial for her.  I knew what Jen did not.  I knew that no matter how much your heart is breaking, having another dog around to care for really helps. 

No dog ever replaces another dog, that is impossible, but they do help remind us that we can love again.

And not long after Prince arrived, Jen confided in me that she was falling in love.

Jen shared with me that she didn’t expect to become attached to Prince as much and as soon as she did and was surprised by her own ability to love so much after having felt such heartbreak.

Despite Jen’s heart opening to love Prince, she was determined to honour her agreement with Prince’s rescue and foster Prince until they found a suitable forever home for him. 

Again, I knew something that Jen did not! 

Us foster moms think no other home will be as good as ours is for our fosters!  I went through that with every foster dog, and everyone I know who has fostered feels that way. 

But of course, we are wrong.  We just love them so much; we cannot imagine anyone loving them as much as we do.  Our dogs always end up with amazing families, and sometimes we end up with awesome new friends!

Like many dogs who find themselves in rescue, Prince had not had a great life.  He lived most of his life locked up in a garage and at 10 years old, his interactions with humans had not always been positive.  Jen and her husband did an amazing job with Prince.  They followed my advice and that of the rescue, gave him space to feel comfortable and safe and gained his trust in a very short time. 

If you ask Jen, she would attribute that to Prince being so brave in so many new situations in such a short period of time.  She is so proud of him.

It has been over a month since Prince arrived at his foster home, and he’s been doing great.  Jen is teaching Prince how to do stairs, and he is starting to act like the “Diva Prince” that he was meant to be, and he is learning how to be a proper dog. 

His lack of socialization does make him anxious around other dogs and cats, so Jen avoids those situations with him and even though he had never been walked on a leash, Jen has gotten him on a routine and he thoroughly enjoys his strolls around the neighbourhood.

A week ago, I received a text from Jen.  “It’s official” was all it said.  I didn’t even have to ask.  “You’re adopting Prince!!”, I replied, and I was right. 

It was then that I confessed to Jen that when contacted for a reference for fostering, I had told the rescue that she would likely adopt Prince. 

I would have never said that to Jen because I know how insulting that is to say to a foster parent, as we really do go into it with the intentions of breaking our hearts when the dogs leave us. 

But I also knew that her heart wasn’t ready to hear that she would be able to love another dog and give it a home. 

It’s so easy for us to say we will never get another dog; it hurts too much when they pass. 

But we don’t realize how resilient our hearts are, and how there is infinite love to give if we open ourselves up to giving good homes to dogs in need.

And although Jen found her human Prince Charming many years ago, I’m glad she found her canine Prince Charming to remind her that there is always room to love another.