Mary never planned on becoming a foster doggie mom but when her twelve-year-old mixed breed dog suddenly died she found herself needing to fill the missing gap.”When Lucy died, it was tragic for me. I really needed something to do, something that could occupy me and get my mind off the whole event,” states Mary with sadness in her eyes.
Her home, a smallish affair, is located in a lovely area of Texas hill country. And, clearly what the home lacks in size Mary makes up for in heart. She has been fostering dogs for almost ten years now and her current one, a little fellow that goes by the name of Tristan, is her one hundredth foster dog.
Mary continues her story, “You know, I never even thought about fostering dogs, my home is so cramped,” she states with a sweep of her arm gesturing towards the kitchen/dining room combo, “I just figured I didn’t have the room.”
Indeed, Mary’s place is petite: barely 950 square feet with a miniature eat-in kitchen, a living room, one bath, and two bedrooms, all contained within a dated mortar and brick exterior. Although the home is tiny, the exterior property is spacious. As we walk through the back door towards the enclosed one and a half acres of property Mary points out something, “Over there, is the dog pen that I built for new foster dogs. I like to put them in there when they first arrive, to get them used to the being out here before they run loose.”
We walk around the perimeter of her fenced in acreage, a good brisk walk, with Tristan following us, tail a-wagging. I can see the little guy is happy here and that brings me to the next question, “How do you keep from getting attached to the dogs?”
Mary stops and looks past the fence into the distance, “That is something I wondered about myself. I do get attached, very attached. But I guess I love them enough to give them over to good homes, sort of sending them on their way into a good future. That’s what makes it all worthwhile for me, knowing they will have a happy life, even if it is without me.” She looks wistfully down at Tristan, pats his head, and continues, “Tristan is leaving me this weekend. He has been adopted by a great family in San Antonio. They have two other small dogs for him to play with and best of all they have children. He really likes kids.”
Mary D. got started in fostering with a phone call to a local rescue agency. Within days her first dog arrived at her home, “I don’t know what I expected! I guess I thought the dog would be all bedraggled and forlorn, but happily my first dog was a gorgeous female blue heeler named Misty. She stayed with me for about three months and went on her way. I still get photos from her family. Misty is now twelve years old, the same age my Lucy was when she died.” Mary shakes her head, “When I think that if I had not been available Misty would never have reached 12 it makes me want to cry. But thank goodness she did, and hopefully she’ll live a lot longer.” Mary looks at me with a smile.
I can’t help but smile back because that is exactly what this is all about, giving a dog a chance to live its life with dignity and joy. Let’s face it, dogs need love just as much as food and water. Without it they will not flourish. Thanks to Mary and thousands of others like her, dogs who otherwise would be euthanized are reaching their full potential and are living out their lives with families that love them.
It was difficult for me to say goodbye but I knew that Wesley was going to be very happy. I had to give him one last hug before I sent him on his way!
Wesley, the little guy who captured my heart
On January 2, 2010, Wesley kicked off the New Year with a major change in his lifestyle. He became the official prince of a little princess named Jenna. The momentous meeting took place at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. As a giant dinosaur statue looked on, Wesley met his new doggie brother, Buster and his new “momma” Jenna. Along for the ride were Jenna’s dad and her two brothers.
We walked together along the Paluxy River bank, allowing everyone time get to know each other. I had a difficult time taking my eyes off Wesley. He kept looking up at me, as if imploring me to scoop him up and hold him. I did. I had to hug him one last time. He looked uneasy, a bit apprehensive, and my heart ached. Fortunately, I knew that this was going to be his day of victory: A new family, a new home, a new life! Best of all, a little girl named Jenna who would love him forever …
I bid him a fond farewell, and despite himself, I could tell he was excited. I think at that moment, when he entered the car and I stood back, he knew he was going to his forever home.
Today Wesley enjoys being the younger brother and loves nothing more than rousing older brother Buster up at 4:30 AM. But no way! Buster grumpily rolls back over to sleep. Aside from their disagreement about early rising times, he and Buster play happily together. Jenna has taken on her new found “mother” role quite naturally and beams with joy when Wesley does something cute. Unfortunately, Wesley can be a bit of mischief maker. He has a penchant for shredding up toys. Jenna’s dad tells me that when Wesley has been particularly active in this department he will call Jenna to report about her “child’s” misbehavior. Jenna quickly reminds dad that this is his “grandchild.” So, it’s a bit of a standoff.
Naturally, Jenna thinks that Wesley is perfect. And he is! A dramatic reflection of how far this little guy has come from the shy, insecure, scraggly dog that arrived at the start of the Fall of 2009.
Wesley, you will always be my special little guy …
Content provided with the courtesy of the ASPCA.
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The form is divided into three sections: A library, Middle of the Road, and A Carnival. These sections correspond to the purple, orange, and green Feline-ality™ . Based on the highest number of circled responses within each section you will either be a match with the purple, orange, or green Feline-ality™ . In the event that your responses are divided equally (not likely but it could happen) select the section you feel the most comfortable with.
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