Once upon a time, before we had children, we were a foster family for BREW beagle rescue. Our first foster dog was a spirited two year old named Humphrey. He was MUCH more work than your average two year old — he had even more energy than our Little Bear does now! He ran around like crazy for the weeks we had him, jumping on the furniture, racing around the yard, confusing our older dogs as they tried in vain to catch him. He was a wild one.
Soon, we learned that our calling was to be a foster family to older beagles. MUCH older beagles. Those gentle, white-faced seniors that languished at the pound or were slower to be snatched up by eager young families found a home with us, and while they waited for the perfect family, couple, or single to adopt them, they were well cared for in our home. They were fed, treated, trained, and most of all loved.
They were easy to love.
There was a lot of work involved though, and not the kind that we had experienced with our first fosters.
With the older ones, we didn’t have to worry about the frentic running around of puppies, but we did have to be super-gentle all the time, introducing the retired breeders to the outside world, to the feeling of soft grass under their feet after years cooped up in a rabbit coop. Introducing the cast-off hunting dogs to the wonders of a sunny spot on the kitchen floor, or time outside with the family, with no expectations, as the squirrels returned to play around us. Introducing those who had been cast off from other homes to a second kind of love, that of unconditional love and support, that would be with them even if they occasionally had accidents on the living room floor. Introducing all of them to soft beds, sunny days, and humans available for a hug, a pet, a kind word.
Inevitably, we fell in love. We fell in love with them every time, actually, and every time the only thing that helped us let them go with a new adopter, a person or family who would be their forever home, was the sight of all those other beagles on the BREW website. All those beagles waiting for their turn in a foster home, to be loved, to be petted, to be treated like a member of a family again, and then to find their place again in the world.
But there was one dog who would be ours alone.
to be continued…