Those who know me, even if only a little, know two things about me: One, I have three young children who I adore, and two, I love my dogs. Many moons ago, before my husband and I had actual human children, we had our puppies, and let me tell you that the household limit of dogs per residence was made for canine-obsessed people just like us.
We each brought a pup to the marriage; I had my Mona Lisa, a lovably bossy little Miniature Schnauzer, and he had Dixie Belle, just about the sweetest black Lab to ever walk the earth on four legs. For the first several years of our wedded bliss, my husband worked offshore on a rig, two weeks on and two weeks off – the dogs were my shadows. Poor Mike had to fight for his corner of the bed when he got back from his hitch!
One day, after a Texans game nine years ago we stumbled upon a rescue event after a late lunch. We went for some post-game Tex-Mex and noticed the sign as we were leaving the restaurant. Without even talking about it, we instinctively walked over to the event, and I quickly found a small little brown dog, who looked like a miniature fawn, shaking anxiously in his crate.
While Mike walked around to give all the dogs a little bit of attention, I planted myself right in front of this little guy, who looked desperate for a friend. The lady in charge came over and said that, though they've been trying, they couldn’t get him to eat or warm up to anyone, and felt like he probably wasn’t going to make it. I opened the door to his kennel to give him some love, and he immediately ran into my lap, curled up, and went to sleep. At that point, they explained the fostering program to us, and 20 minutes later we were carrying Leo to the car and headed home.
We spent a lot of time nurturing him back to health, but within only a few months a sweet young couple adopted Leo, and thus began our dog-rescuing career. Since then, we’ve fostered a few dozen dogs, and some were more challenging than others. Dogs are still dogs. As cute as they are, they just can’t help themselves and bark, nip, chew your shoes, and, oh yeah, have accidents inside. But there is nothing better than the feeling of saving a life. That dog knows you changed their life's trajectory, and they love you immeasurably in return.
Once we started having kiddos, we took a step back from fostering but this week a young dog crossed our path on Facebook. Little Miss Maggie was registered with the same group we got our current rescue mutt, Millie, from and we couldn’t resist helping her. We thought we were getting an eight-month-old little lady, but instead, we got a baby, baby dog, four months old, tops. Thankfully she sleeps through the night, but she is all puppy, all the time.
While our brood is quickly falling in love with her, we remind them, “We are here to help Maggie, and, even though we love her, we may not be keeping her forever.” It’s entirely possible that we will become “foster failures,” and adopt this sweet girl, but it’s just as likely that another wonderful family will come along and give her a great home. Either way, our children will be better for it. Maybe they end up with a forever-friend, or maybe they learn the invaluable lesson of service work and saving a life.
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Fulshear area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.