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Dear Rufus

February 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Emily in Doggies! | Loss for words | Rufus | Smiling through tears - (15 Comments)

Dear Rufus,

1 month ago we said goodbye to you, and I still am having a hard time believing that you are gone. I constantly check the floor as I’m walking to make sure I don’t bump into you because you always loved to be underfoot. Whenever someone knocks on the door I wait to hear you bark and am sad when the house is silent. This weekend when we were cleaning the bathroom, a toilet paper roll fell onto the floor and I scrambled to pick it up because I know how much you loved to chew on tissues. It’s just weird because you are still so present to me, so when something happens and I remember you are gone, the pain of that day comes rushing back and it takes my breath away.

Rufus and Mom

Can I tell you something, Ru? I hate that I had to make the call to end your life. I wouldn’t wish that decision on my worst enemy… deciding the day I would say goodbye to my best friend was absolutely devastating. But seeing you decline was devastating too – seeing you panicked when you were awake and only finding solace when you were snuggled up next to me asleep. I don’t want to talk anymore about how sick you were though – I don’t want to remember you like that. Instead, I want to remember my favorite things… the stories I tell people about you with a huge smile on my face…for instance:

  • The day I brought you home to my apartment and you wouldn’t sleep and kept peeing everywhere, so in exasperation I took my blanket outside to the front lawn and attached a leash to your collar and wrapped the handle around my wrist and fell asleep while you pranced happily around me (of course, still peeing everywhere). I was 21 and clearly not ready for motherhood.
  • The time you walked right into a pond because the algae floating on top looked like grass. You were so startled and seemed genuinely offended that Daniel and I couldn’t stop laughing at you.
  • How you confused “down” with “roll over” so you just combined the two… but you rolled over with such fervor!
  • How you didn’t like very many people, but the people who you did let into your circle, you loved them with force.

I miss you, buddy. I miss your velvet-y soft ears. I miss having you curled up next to me in bed. I miss your soft kisses. I miss you.  I will never know another dog like you. You are one of a kind. I love you.

Love,
Your Mama

As I shared yesterday on Facebook, Polly’s “adopted” status has been changed back to “available.”

Polly Pocket | Our Waldo Bungie
Over the past few months, I had been talking with Polly’s adopter about some challenges she had been facing after moving from a house to an apartment with Polly. Polly was having anxiety while she was away at work, and she finally decided that her home was not the best for Polly. I am bummed that it didn’t work out, frustrated that a lot of my advice didn’t seem to be followed, and heartbroken that Polly is now at a shelter instead of back in foster with me due to our current circumstances (trying to move, just coming off a long foster situation, etc). But there is good news…

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Because Polly’s adopter had been in contact with me, I was able to arrange for Polly to be returned to Great Plains SPCA, the No-Kill shelter where I work, instead of the underfunded, open-admission shelter she had come from (where Polly most likely would have been put to sleep due to the lack of resources they have for dealing with pets with anxiety). She was nice enough to wait for several days to return her until there was room at the intake center. Once Polly arrived, the amazing staff at the intake center sat with Polly while she adjusted to the smells and sounds of the shelter, and once she was ready, helped her work out some of her energy in playgroups (which Polly loved).

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The whole time I was kept up to speed on what was going on with her, and yesterday I was able to go over and see her. She instantly recognized me and laid against me with the full weight of her body while I pet her and promised her that I would do everything in my power to find her the perfect home again. I promised her that once she was moved over to the adoption floor in my building, I would bring her over to my desk to hang out when the adoption center was closed. I promised her that she won’t be sad forever. I told her that the last year and a half was just a stepping stone to her forever. That her adopted mom had loved her very much but just didn’t have the ability to care for her the way she needed, but loved her enough to make sure that she didn’t end up in a place where she would be left to languish. That I was sorry she couldn’t come home with me, that I felt like I had failed her in a million ways. And she just looked at me with her giant smile and licked my tears and put her paws onto my lap as if to say “I know.”

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This is a first for me. Not my first returned foster (Ginger was returned twice before we found her forever family) but my first returned foster that I couldn’t take back into my home. And let me tell you, that is one sucky feeling. But I am choosing to look at the bright side of all of this… Polly is in amazing hands with the animal care team at Great Plains SPCA. I can see her every day if I want to. Polly is a fantastic dog with so much love to give – and her forever family is out there, just waiting for her to come into their lives. So I am going to focus on that. Being mad doesn’t help anything. It certainly won’t help her find a home.

Polly Pocket | Our Waldo Bungie

So there it is. Polly is back. So expect to see lots of adorable photos of her in the coming days. And if you think about it, won’t you share her story? Who knows? You could be the one who finds her forever family!

Thank you for your support, too. I was hesitant to share this because I want to focus on Polly’s future, not her past, but I also feel like so often as foster parents we want to believe that we have found THE ONE for our foster dogs, but sometimes, it just doesn’t work out for one reason or another. That is a hard feeling to wrestle with – the feeling that you failed them in some way. So, if any of my fellow foster parents have felt this, just know, I’m right there with you.

Dear Moby,

It’s been 24 days since your adoption was finalized. I cannot even begin to tell you how quiet things are around Foster House. Your absence is felt with nearly all of my senses… no more seeing you running around like a crazy dog in the backyard, smelling your warm breath on my face when you would snuggle in to be just that much closer to me, touching the velvet-y soft furs on your ears and nose, and hearing you bark to tell me that you are hungry, want to go out, want your ball, or just so I’ll look at you (you were very vocal with me, buddy). Your presence loomed large in our tiny house… and now that you’re gone, it feels very, very empty.

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You were supposed to be at our house for four days. I was going to evaluate you and then you were going to move on to a longer term foster situation. But one look into your honey brown eyes and I just knew that you weren’t going anywhere (much to Daniel’s chagrin). Somewhere along the way, you picked up the notion that you were a “bad dog” and you would lash out if you thought someone was going to hurt you. It broke my heart that I couldn’t reach my hand towards you without you recoiling and snapping half-heartedly in the air, associating human hands with pain and fear. But that just made me more determined to show you how awesome human hands can be. That human hands distribute noms, throw Chuck-Its and ‘bees, and provide hours upon hours of pets if you’ll snuggle up beside them.

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It took awhile, and the change was gradual, but you blossomed into one of the happiest, goofiest, and most trusting dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. By the end of our time together, I didn’t have to worry about scaring you if I absent mindedly put my hand on your head. You would eagerly bring your head up to meet me. And I knew that if something scared you, you’d run to me for protection, instead of running away to hide in the bathtub (yes, you did used to do that, silly boy!). You learned that human hands can be kind, protective, and most of all, full of love.

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Everywhere you went, people fell in love with you. You only came to work with me a handful of times, but EVERYONE knew who you were. You managed to guilt nearly everyone who passed by into giving you noms or scratching you behind the ears. And you know that your friends on the internet just think the world of you (they shared your story over 500 times to help you get adopted!). You did a lot of growing up in your time with us, Mobes, and you were with us just long enough to learn that you truly are a good dog (some might even say one of the BEST dogs) and that given the chance, humans can be pretty awesome, too.

Thanks for loving on Moby, internet friends!

Thanks for loving on Moby, internet friends!

Lots of people have asked me if it was hard for me to let you go after 13 months together. And to them I always say something silly like “it would have been cruel for me to keep a water dog like Moby from living at the beach!” But when I get home and Turk and Rufus are snoozing in their beds and the house is very, very quiet, my mind drifts to a memory of you and I get a little sad. But just for a minute or two, because without fail, when I start to get sad, your mom sends me a text with a story about something silly you did or a sweet photo of you that reminds me that you are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be.

Moby with his mama

I am so thankful that your mama is so generous with her updates on you. Even before she took you home, she knew that you had a knack for wiggling your way into people’s hearts. Even Foster Dad was pretty fond of you….

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You and your new family were walking on a path towards each other before you even realized they were your One(s). You helped heal their hearts from the loss of their sweet Dixie (and Brutus before her), and they are going to take you the rest of the way on your path to being the best Moby you can be. I am just happy we were able to shepherd you along for this small part of your journey.

I love you, Moby Hawkins Loehle.

XOXO,

Foster Mom

Love you forever.

Love you forever.

 

In May, Moby received this email from my friend Miranda

Dear Moby,

I don’t know if your foster mom has told your or not, but I am in love with you!  I haven’t even met you and I know you are the boy to help fill the hole in my heart that Brutus left this world with.  Please understand, I know that you won’t ever be able to fill that hole completely, but I think you can do a great job of helping to heal it.  There’s only one problem – your future sister is sick and frankly, she’s kind of a b***h (not literally though, as she is spayed).  

I want you to know that your foster mom is going to look for the perfect forever home for you in the meantime, but if we’re meant to be together (and I believe we are), someday you’ll come racing into my arms, slobber me with your kisses and curl up and spend your forever days in my heart and home.  I can’t tell you if that someday will be days, weeks, or even months.  I know that your foster mom takes very good care of you and she’ll know if someone else comes a long that would be a good fit.  

Since you don’t me, I’ll tell you a little about myself and your future family.  Much like your foster mom and dad, we like to get out and explore.  We live at the ocean.  Your mom says you really like the water and I might let you swim a little in the ocean, but only on a leash.  The current is sometimes too strong and there are lots of icky things in our water (not like in a lake!).  I like to run, hike and spend time in the yard playing. Your future dad works from home, so there is almost always someone around. We have a big fenced yard that is fun to run around and play in.  There’s a dog door so you can go outside whenever you want.  We get up pretty early, but every once in a while we like to sleep in.  

I hope to meet you sometime this summer/fall so you can decide if you love me as much as I love you. Until then, please be good for your foster mom and dad and be patient with Turkey and Rufus.  Put on all your charm when you go out just in case there might be someone more perfect for you than me!  

Love, 
Your (hopefully) future forever mom

Well, a lot has happened between that email and now, which I will be sharing with you this week, but I can officially say that Moby has left the building… and his new family is PERFECT. Stay tuned…

Joe and Miranda with Moby
(Photo by the amazing Fido Fetch Photography)

 

In December of 2012, my life changed. Foster mama, Emily, kept telling me to be patient, that my furever home would come, but I wasn’t so sure. I had been framed for a crime I didn’t do (Yeti lives!!), and had endured the limitations of sharing a family with other dogs (Rufus, and Turkeyman) and still, I hoped for permanency and life as an only dog-child.

Thanks to internet doggy dating, my Adoptomomma, Susan, found me under a profile that foster momma, Emily, created. You see, my foster momma, Emily, has a God-given gift of writing about everyday things, and making them sound like the cutest things ever (although it is pretty easy to make the things I do sound cute!). She is soooo good at this, that my future momma fell head over heels in love with me! Yep. That’s right. Just from reading about my story, as told by Emily, and seeing the (adorbs) pictures that Emily took of me, being me. Fell. In. Love. Woohoo!!

So, now, a year has passed (boy that was fast!), and I got to some thinkings about my new furever home, and my journey at being an only dog-child. When I first came to Adoptomomma’s house, I really didn’t know what to think. I mean, it’s quiet, and there are no other dogs or furbabies. Except for Earl the Squirrel, and the bunnies who live outside, I have this whole place to myself.

I am now the master of my domain.

Adoptomomma doesn’t have to ever worry about anyone sneaking up or by our house. It is my full time job to monitor and report any suspect activities, and I take this job seriously (As a retired secret agent, I have skills, you see). I am so good at this, that Adoptomomma says I can relax a little, but that would not do. I have to stay ever vigilant and make sure that no one intrudes without my knowing.

Who goes there? You going to hurt my Adoptomomma? Better not!

Adoptomomma has lots of friends who come over. I get so excited to see our besties, that I have to really try to not jump and kiss them all over. Adoptomomma tells me to sit when we have company and stay to be petted, but that is not fun, at all. It is much more fun to jump around and do my hula dance for our guests. I am really good at hula dancing, and Adoptomamma’s friends love it. I will keep working on sit and stay, though, since I know that adoptomomma wants me to get better at this. Sigh.

Being silly for Adoptomomma’s friends is one of my many specialties!

I really like it when Foster Momma, Emily, comes over for visits, too.

Is that really YOU, Foster Momma?! Come look at my toys! No, my noms! No, my bed!
Nevermind just KISS ME! AHHHHHHHHHH!

The last time she came by, I nearly had a stroke from so much excitement at seeing her! She is the best, and I am so thankful for her being such an awesome dog-vocate. Her online stories and bloggings helped my Adoptomomma find me, and I know that she is going to help a lot of other dogs find their furever homes in her new job (which she will tell you about very, very soon!). What could be more perfect??

I can sleep soundly knowing that Foster Momma is still up to her bloggings…

Okay, I gotta get back to my Adoptomomma… I think I heard her open up my noms jar (which, as you know, I campaigned hard for back in Nom-vember of 2012)!

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO,
P to the Pocket (Polly Pocket)