“What’s that you say? We can both call you Mommy now?”
A few days ago, I typed through tears and uploaded this blog post about my 19th foster dog, Ginger. She had been here at the house with Blue and me longer than any foster puppy we’d welcomed as part of the Lulu’s Rescue volunteer network. Ginger is a wonderful, loving, six-month-old puppy on the inside who has terrible nervousness with new people on the outside. We’d already had four failed adoption attempts when I dropped her off with would-be adopters No. 5 last Thursday, hoping desperately that we had finally found people who would be as good to her as I’d been myself.
I was absolutely heartbroken on Sunday night when the adopters told me by telephone that they’d already decided Ginger wasn’t the dog for them. They didn’t like the way she acted nervous around their house—a comment that absolutely enraged me, because the rescue and I had been crystal clear in explaining that it takes Ginger a week or longer to feel safe and happy with new people. They’d given her just two days before deeming her unfit. They actually believed somebody who told them that Ginger was feral, even though I’d housetrained her, taught her to sit on command, taught her to walk on a leash, and taught her to enjoy belly rubs as much as games of tug. She just hadn’t shown them those qualities yet, because she was nervous being in a new home.
Blue and I drove an hour through the pounding rain to collect her first thing the next morning, which was yesterday. When we walked through the door to the adopters’ home, Ginger ran to Blue, and he ran to her, both tails wagging faster than hummingbird wings. Then Ginger leaped into my arms before I could even get down on the floor at her level. She flew at Blue and me like she’d been drowning, and we were her life ring.
Ginger had been the hardest foster puppy for me to give up so far. Out of 19, I’ve enjoyed most, but I’ve truly fallen in love with only two. One was Mac, who I knew would be fine with the family that adopted him (and he is—they tell me often). With this shy girl Ginger, though, after five failed attempts, I have nothing but doubts that she has already adopted Blue and me as her family, and that she’s not going to be okay with anybody else. I honestly don’t think I can cry again the way I did when I tried to let her go once more last week. She is taking entire chunks of my heart with her every time I say goodbye.
My whole family had a meeting yesterday about Ginger, because for me to keep her during the book tour for “Little Boy Blue,” which starts this Friday, I’m going to need some serious puppy-sitting help. Mom, Dad, and my sister all voted yes—enthusiastically. And we couldn’t keep Ginger apart from the rest of our pack, which includes my boy Blue, my sister’s Labrador, Sadie May, and my parents’ Doberman, Quincy. She fit right in, playing and giving kisses like she’d been with us forever.
And so, as of today, Blue, Ginger, and I are officially becoming a family of three. I’ve promised the rescue that I’ll still be happy to foster, just as soon as the book tour and Ginger’s puppy training are complete, and I remain committed to helping as many shelter dogs like Blue and Ginger as I can. They all deserve to hit the jackpot and have a family who loves them as much as I love my two canine kids.
Sometimes we choose our dogs, and sometimes they choose us. In Ginger’s case, it’s the latter.
I can’t believe I’m the lucky one who has won the doggie lottery—again. My water bowl runneth over.