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.