My first experience as a Foster Mom

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This post is not really under the weight loss category so much as the “things I’m learning about myself” category.  

A couple of weeks ago I woke up and got ready to go to work like a normal day.  I didn’t know that morning that by nightfall my life would change.  I consider myself very fortunate in that some people have their life change in a moment with a disease, a death, an accident, a storm.  My life-changing moment came in the form of a puppy. 

I had heard of this one rescue organization through a friend and found out that the woman who ran it lives in our neighborhood.  I “liked” them on Facebook and you know what happens then?  You see posts, pictures, adorableness.  But that day, around 3 p.m., I saw a plea – a desperate plea to help foster a puppy for a couple of weeks because if they weren’t all rescued, they’d all be killed at a high-kill shelter.  I had zero experience in the “foster” department.  I obviously haven’t run to the rescue of every adorable puppy on my newsfeed, but something in me said I needed to respond.  I had to follow my gut and called my husband and plead to him.  He, of course, made me promise that this was JUST a foster – NOT an adoption.  “Of course…of course… we just needed to respond.”  I was so panicked that I respond in time to save the litter.  And so I did. 

So at 7:00 p.m. that evening Madigan came in to our lives.  She was 7 weeks old and less than 5 pounds.  I have a 75 pound Labrador Retriever – Guinness – who I put outside while she came in.  The cuteness factor was so high I couldn’t even stand it.  This little tiny face….oh my goodness…I was in love.  She was so light, so tiny.  Neither of my labs, I thought, had ever been that small!  I held her and at that moment, similar to when the Grinch realized what Christmas was truly about, my heart grew three times the size (bigger, I think, than the puppy.) We let Guinness inside and what happened was remarkable.  He’s a rough and tumble and klutzy goofball of a dog and he became soft – gentle – nurturing. 

For the following 10 days as Guinness didn’t let her make a move without him, she got under our skin.  She crept in to all of our hearts and developed an adorable little puppy belly and a fantastic personality.  We were in awe over her playing.  We ooohed and aaahhhed about her sleeping.  We laughed at the way she ate.  We giggled at her persistence, stubbornness, attempts at jumping and running.  For the entire 10-day duration my husband and I didn’t get more than two or three hours of sleep straight because puppies that small need to be taken outside.   We handled it.  We had to make a schedule – we handled it.  We had to make sure Guinness was okay – that was easy, he was in love.  We had to make sure she was loved, fed, and nurtured.  We handled it. 

All through these 10 days people told me that they don’t know how we’d give her up.  Did that mean my heart was cold if I could fall in love with this creature and then just give it away?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – What other people think of me is none of my business.  I made a promise to my husband that I intended to keep.  And my husband, in return of that promise, carried a huge brunt of responsibility towards this dependent and adorable girl.  We both gave our hearts to Madigan.  

We also chose to photograph her a lot because of her circumstance.  If we hadn’t agreed that fateful Tuesday to foster her, no one would have photographed her.  No one would have named her, loved her, played with her.  I shared her over and over on Facebook and in emails to friends so that more and more people would see her, love her, see how stinkin’ cute she is.  I brought her to work and more people loved her.  And who knew that this 5.6 lb little puppy can teach me that at 51 years old my heart can expand so much?   I cried my eyes out the morning the family came to get her.  And I’m sure she’s in a most loving home. 

Madigan had a chance.  The foster process gave her a chance.  Does that mean I’m some sort of hero?  It takes a lot of heroes to make this happen properly.  It takes the Rescue operation to find her.  It took me to foster her.  It took another family to say – this is the dog I want my 5-year old girl to grow up with.  I don’t need to be a hero.  I need to wake up and look at myself in the mirror and know I’m a person I can live with.  I need to go to sleep at night asking myself if I was the best Marci I could be and hopefully * most of the time * say “yes.”  Will I do it again?  Yes. 

 

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