This submission comes from Susie’s Senior Dogs:
Four years ago, my husband Kevin and I agreed to foster Sassy, though we agreed not to keep her: We already had a dog and a cat and didn’t intend to add another member to our family. We had good intentions to find her a great home! But she bonded with us quickly (or, as Kevin says, she got her dull hooks in us): She’d creep into our bedroom at night and lay on the rug, as if to gently ask if she could sleep there (our answer: yes!) or she’d stand at the bottom of the couch requesting to jump up and snuggle (now she just jumps up without asking – we’ve ruined her manners completely). I tried to steel my heart against falling in love with her, but I failed miserably – she had the sweetest temperament, the most comical round body, and the funniest pig-like snorting noises – and we officially adopted her around her three-month anniversary with us.
Sassy came from a home where she wasn’t abused, but perhaps a little neglected. She was overweight and had fluid in her lungs and joint pain when we got her and could barely walk a quarter mile. We were told she didn’t like walks. But we liked walking our other dog, Tucker, and wanted to try. We slowly increased the distance that we took Sassy, always bringing plenty of water, and we put her on glucosamine for her joint pain. She’s down from 36 pounds to 28 (a happier weight, according to our vet), and now she can easily walk a couple of miles – at 14, she even goes on hikes with us! – and LOVES it: When we ask if she wants to go on a walk, she gives a pause – as if in disbelief of her good fortune – and then runs excited, puppylike circles.
One of the reasons Sassy’s family turned her back in to the shelter after seven years (they’d adopted her at age three) was that she reportedly didn’t get along with their new baby. Almost three years after adopting Sassy, we got pregnant, and ten months ago we welcomed Max to our family. We’re always cautious, but Sassy has been nothing but kind and gentle to him. She goes along for the ride when Kevin drops Max off at daycare, and sometimes she and Max are caught taking naps together in the back seat (both safely seat-belted in, of course). She says baby playmats make good napping spots, too even if they do have annoying dangly things.
Sassy does have some separation anxiety, which is alleviated in most part by the fact that Kevin works from home (usually with two snoozing dogs in his office) and by peanut-butter kongs. She also has some minor health problems, which are mostly alleviated with drops, pills, and supplements. She’s worth it and then some. I heard someone say once that shelter dogs are the best because they are grateful, and that’s how I feel about Sassy.
I used to think that adopting a senior dog would be too sad, that I’d have too little time with them, but now I see it differently. In his novel Remains of the Day, Kashuo Ishiguro writes that ‘evening’s the best part of the day,’ and I think this is true for Sassy. Not just because her evenings are spent cuddling with us on the couch, but because this, the evening of her life, is spent in a happy home with plenty of sunshine and treats and walks and as much love as she could ever ask for. And I think it’s a privilege and a gift that we are the ones that get to give that to her. – Becky Adnot-Haynes and Kevin Haynes
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