Eight weeks ago, we welcomed a very frightened, foster setter into our home. We didn’t know for how long. For all we knew, she might have come to stay forever.
Tomorrow, we’ll pile into the car (with Henry along for moral support), drive to Savannah, Georgia, and hand Lanie off for a trip to Daytona Beach, Florida and to her forever home with a fenced back yard, and a woman who loves setters so much that Lanie will be one of three, all rescues. Her new master has even had dogs, like Lanie, who were part of cruel hunting camps. She loves caring for the ones who need constant love to overcome years of isolation. It’s the perfect home for her.
Still, it will be bittersweet. On the one hand, we made it! We didn’t foster flunk. And she made it! She was a dog that our vet estimated, for the first 3 years of her life, spent 23 hours a day in a crate with no human kindness, only to end up in a kill-shelter in south Georgia. We gave her a ride to Charlotte, good food, clean water, a warm, dry place to sleep, belly rubs and head scratches (through the door of her kennel), vitamins and baths, a backyard in which to romp alongside the kindest of foster-setter-brothers, a cat to give her clawless pats on the head, and patience, even when she had accidents on the floor.
Most of all, we gave her love. We loved her, and we love her. Two different things, loved and love.
And now we arrive at today. If everything goes as planned tomorrow, we will have fulfilled our role in this process. The safe harbor. She will have come from horrible conditions, passed through a death sentence and finally arrived at a forever home where all the bad stuff will be in her rearview mirror and only good things will lie ahead.
But it won’t come without its tolls – on her as she adjusts, once again, to a new place with more new faces and smells. And on us as we adjust to an empty crate that was a temporary home for a sweet spirit that deserved her chance.
It was Roger Caras, long-time voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show who said, “dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
Enjoy your new home, Lanie. And don’t look back.