One Family’s “Trash” Becomes Another’s Treasure

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2.27.16 - Sassy's Foster Fail1


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


2.27.16 - Sassy's Foster Fail2


Do you have a foster fail story?  Tell us in the comments section, and you could be a featured story!

37 thoughts on “One Family’s “Trash” Becomes Another’s Treasure

  1. Hey….Life with Dogs……Really dont like your title for this story…dont care if its sad but true. No living creature that has emotions, hurts, breathes, loves, trust, and so on deserves the title of “thing” or “trash”, even if it is describing the sad beginnings. Lets spread the word to everyone. NO LIFE IS DISPOSABLE!!!!!

  2. This is “Willow” he was left to die in a box in front of the shelter on a 40 below zero Alaskan night , the shelter woulden’t have gotten to him untill monday morning , So I took him home just to try to find him a good home . That was 4 years ago I found him that home , He’s my best buddy along with my other 2 dogs and my cat

  3. Dogs or any non human animals are NEVER considered trash nor are they ever considered throw aways. To millions of us they are family.

  4. SAME HERE!!!!! One of my darlings were found on the street wandering, the other one the family threw away, they said she likes to sneak out…….guess what? I’m happy they did, because we have the most wonderful doggies in the world now!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I couldn’t agree more that one person’s “trash” is another person’s gift. We just got Lucy, about two months ago, from a rescue who pulled her from a shelter. The story is the family was moving and couldn’t take her. She is the sweetest, five year old cocker spaniel. She did come with some high anxiety issues which I think are directly related to the trauma of being left at a shelter and abandoned by the family she was apart of. Each day Lucy becomes more and more herself. Now we are the lucky ones. Each day we go on long walks together. And she has this adorable way of sitting so close to you that she is almost on top of you.

  6. Beautiful story! I too rescued a Boston terrier and enjoyed her last 7 years of life with her. She was my first rescue and I have rescued 2 more dogs since. She was the best dog I have ever had, we shared an indescribable bond❤️

  7. Both rescues. The white GSD, Mitzie, was neglected and the black and tan, Charlie, was abused and never connected with his rescue family because he was abused by someone in the Air Force and his second owner was in the Army so he has a fear of people in military uniforms. He was given to us because my husband is disabled and has all day to be with him. He now knows what it’s like to be a family member and not a pet.

  8. That’s how I got my Bosley. His owners had 4 dogs and they said it was to many…When we answered an ad for him and went to see him he couldn’t get into our car fast enough, he was so starved for attention. He is just amazing..their loss

  9. Meet Robert. He came to us severely unhealthy, unsocialized, neglected, and abused. Poor fella. We are grateful for finding him (he was on death row and hours away from being euthanized at a shelter) worthy and the rescue organization I volunteer with for choosing us to foster him. He was a handful, and still is, but he has come so far, he loves us and our other doggies and trusts us. We didn’t foster him expecting to fail, but we were the love and stability he needed and we needed him. He has so much love to give, never leaves our sides and never stops showing his love and appreciation for saving him and we absolutely love him unconditionally.

  10. Here’s my “garbage”. He’s a total joy. Loved by everyone. I constantly get comments on hue polite he is why he was left? He was owned by an asshole, lucky me!

  11. I had 3 dogs…… 2 boys and a girl……Scruffy, Peanut and Emily … they filled my heart with incredible love and my family was complete! They are all rescues and sometimes I foster for rescues. I got a message that one of the rescues I help in emergencies needed help with a little girl yorkie. Tootsie was a former puppy mill girl and was terrified of children and men and almost everything else! Tootsie had been in a foster home …. then adopted…….. then returned because it didn’t work out…… in another foster home and that wasn’t working out either…… so they needed someone right away ….. and as my girl, Emily was a former puppy mill girl they hoped Tootsie would feel more at home… So I said sure bring her here! Tootsie arrived and was terrified from the car trip she found her “safe place” and she didn’t really move much for 3 days! I talked to Tootsie and let her come to me… we had a truce… after she started to settle in I took her on a walk and within 1 block she was so afraid she was trembling all over ….. so we walked a little further each day….. after 3 months the rescue asked if I’d want to keep her….. and after a talk with Tootsie she decided she was staying…… it was 2 years before Tootsie was finally able to let my male groomer groom her, something no one ever thought would be possible! Tootsie has become a more confident girl and even goes to the dog park now! So I have 4 dogs……. 2 boys and 2 girls….Scruffy, Peanut, Emily and Tootsie….. and they fill my heart with incredible love and my family is complete! <3

  12. Our Charlie was dumped in a field with 29 other dogs. He was blind in both eyes from cataracts and terrified of everything. He didn’t know what a bowl was and had to be hand fed. Now 8 months later he has had double eye surgery, sees perfectly and loves to play fetch, and go to the beach along with anywhere else we can take him! He was a diamond in the rough… he’s a jewel!

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