May first will always be a meaningful day to the Dirty Hippie and I. It’s the day last year when our greyhound, Lochrima, died. Though we had ten wonderful years with her, and she lived a long life – age 13 – it’s always too soon to say goodbye to your beloved. Twelve complete months have passed since we lost her to cancer. Many friends and clients have missed her, stopping by to have dinner or coming in for new headshots or family pictures, and her familiar golden eyes were not there to greet them. We have been overwhelmed, learning how many people loved Lochrima. The stack of sympathy cards was several inches high and almost a dozen clients & friends made donations to various rescues in her honor.
Which led us to wonder… how can we best honor her? As we came out of the grief of her absence, our course was illuminated: we would foster 13 dogs before adopting another forever-companion. What better way to honor our time with Lochrima than to help 13 other dogs find a love of their own? We like to think she would be proud.
Now, make no mistake, fostering is not easy. Nathaniel and I knew it was going to be a challenge. After all, when you foster, you take in a homeless animal, love it, care for it – and let it go when the right adopter comes along. This is love on loan. Could we bear 13 more heartbreaks?
Today, May 1 2016, we are happy to report that we have successfully fostered 8 dogs. We’d like you to meet them…
First came tiny Bullwinkle. At age six, this mini-dachshund found himself out of a home and suffering from physical and emotional issues. His adoption group was Dachshund Rescue of North America and he was with us about one month. We got to witness this little guy really come along, healing in spirit and body, and finally go to a home where he is adored.
Next, we fostered Ripley (lower right). He finished his racing career in Florida and found his way to Greyhound Rescue Inc. Ripley was placed with a wonderful family in Baltimore – we occasionally get to see updates on his happy new life.
Foster number three was MariMae, a retired racer from Alabama (top). This girl had it going on! We really adored this southern belle – she loved to snuggle and was so smart. She learned to sit and shake paws in only two days! Who says greyhounds don’t sit? Of all the dogs we let go, MariMae was the hardest to date. But we stayed on task and loved seeing photos of her with her new family.
Also retired from a track in Alabma was Stan (lower left). This good-looking dude was the shortest foster ever – finding his new home in literally one day!
We had the pleasure of co-fostering tiny Zoey dog in December, also from DRNA. This sweet pup was a mix of Chinese crested and terrier, and honestly, she was one of the most well-mannered dogs we’ve ever met. We were happy to see her go to a forever home in time for the holidays with an employee from Bark! Now we have another reason to shop at our favorite local pet store – hoping to say hello to Zoey!
After New Year’s, we got Jacks from DRNA. This wily fellow loved to PLAY. He could literally play for five hours at a time with no break. Both of us had so much fun with him – and got our exercise for sure! Lucky guy – he went home with a couple that enjoyed hiking, so he gets loads of time outside to wear him out. Hope they also have a good supply of tennis balls.
All dogs are gorgeous, but sometimes, one is a little more gorgeous. That was Gable (bottom, vertical). To call him handsome is sort of an understatement. We were happy to see Gorgeous Gabe find a home only two miles from us! We get to see him, and he’s now living with his cousin, Shelley, another retired racer.
Our most recent foster was pretty hound dog, Mohican (top). Another southern belle, she came from Alabama and was a little shy. Which made it all the more disarming and sweet when she gave out a kiss. She went home with a family in Maryland, and we occasionally get update texts.
Fostering all eight of these special dogs has been rewarding. One of the most incredible parts was realizing how many great dogs are out there, looking for a forever home. Every single one of these eight dogs was loving, fun and beautiful. They were all amazing companions. It’s mind bending to us how so many fantastic dogs end up in shelters or homeless – or euthanized. Big thanks to our friends at DRNA and GRI for saving and homing these magnificent animals – we are proud to have been part of the process.
We are still five fosters away from #13. At the moment, we’re on the fence about what to do when we reach #13. Should we immediately adopt again… or keep fostering to help more dogs find homes? After all, when you adopt – you save one life. But when you foster, you save two – because a space opens at a kennel, plus you can make a homeless dog transition more smoothly by training him or her to be house-friendly.
Nathaniel and I are still deciding what will happen when we get to #13. Until then, we hope that our precious Lochrima is honored by the work we have done in her name. And that all eight of our fosters are as happy and spoiled in their homes as our girl was during her decade with us.