They find us when we need them most.
I thought I’d never be ready. I didn’t think that I had that type of love left to give again. I felt like I would be replacing her and she is truly irreplaceable. I didn’t know if I’d survive that kind of heartbreak again. But I also knew there was a void in my life...in my heart. Yes...I was the crazy, creepy lady asking you to pet your dog when we passed on the street. Letting him lick my face. I was the nutter sitting in traffic smiling at you as you gave your dog the end of your ice cream cone. Every time I passed you walking your dog, every commercial on TV with the heart wrenching music, every shared Facebook post about the pet whose family couldn’t keep them or the latest puppy mill mama saved, the pull got stronger. I was struggling personally with some things and kept telling myself to wait until things “settled down”.
One day I was catching up with a close friend and she was sharing her experience with me about a local rescue organization she was volunteering for, Harley’s Haven Dog Rescue. After talking over lunch, I thought volunteering and fostering may be a good way to get my puppy fix. People were worried...what if you fall in love and then have to give them away? Actually there were very few who thought I would be able to say goodbye again and again. In my mind it was a win win though...when they were adopted, they would be going to a loving home, a family. If it took a little while for an adoption, then they got to stay with me!
I attended a volunteer information session to find out more about Harley’s Haven and knew instantly that this is what I wanted, what my heart and soul needed, and I wanted to be a part of this group’s effort. Putting my fear and anxiety aside, I filled out my applications and a couple of short weeks later I went to pick up my first foster puppy. I knew. I took one look at him and I knew. I took a couple of days and tried to convince myself it was the best thing for him if I just followed through with my fostering duties and sent him to his happily ever forever family. Each day I was smiling more than not. Each day I was laughing, out loud at all his cuteness. I was enjoying every moment teaching him, caring for him, and bonding with him. I was going to fail...foster fail. You know what...I was and am ok with that. If the love, joy, laughter, and positive energy in my home are part of failing...I’ll fail over and over again.
I know my Ada bears boxer nubby is wagging away...it’s part of my beating heart. I also know that when this little guy moved into my home, he also moved into my heart. They say that there are many benefits to having a dog, like less overall stress and increased fitness and activity. I wholeheartedly agree. Their friendship, unconditional love and support, laughter they bring and mere presence in our lives is a gift they give us freely daily for as long as we are blessed to have them. It’s amazing what they can fix in our lives, that we didn’t even know was broken, how they make our lives fuller and richer, when we didn’t even notice that maybe they were empty and lacking.
Now I ask you...who REALLY rescues who?
-written by Krista Steffy, volunteer