Dog, Interrupted

25 Jun
BowserThe original plan was to return our foster — the bouncing, bumping, body-checking 1-year old Lab Shepherd mix named Bowser — back to the shelter next week before our annual Canada Day backyard party, since the thought of a yardful of family (half of whom are allergic to dogs) and grandkids and grandnieces and grandnephews mixing with this crazy canine was just too overwhelming. The animal shelter agreed and admitted that we’ve had our hands full lately with two ‘high maintenance’ dogs back to back. Bowser is finished his run of antibiotics for kidney stones (although they never even slowed him down) and he’ll be soon ready for adoption. Hubby and I will also be babysitting more now that summer has arrived, and decided we needed a wee break from the fostering, maybe until September. 
However, hubby woke up yesterday morning finding it hard to breathe, and although he has a summer cold it had gotten a lot worse quickly, and mysteriously improved whenever he was out of the house. Our conclusion? He’s probably allergic to Bowser’s fur. 
I hadn’t prepared myself emotionally, but was forced to pack up Bowser’s things and bring him back to the shelter just before noon. I said a prayer that he’ll find the right family: owners who are committed to exercising him at least twice a day — and we’re talking 30 minutes of running beside a bike or a jogger, plus 30 minutes of chasing a ‘Chuck It’ ball. That’s what this big guy needs. 
It’s also why hubby and I are exhausted. And finding the chewed remains of two garden chair cushions, several plastic children’s toys, a life jacket and the handle of a scrub brush strewn across our lawn, despite the presence of Kongs and doggie chew toys, we’re kinda done. 
But that didn’t stop me from crying while I drove him back, or feeling like I had somehow failed him. That maybe if I’d spent more time on training or given him more walks, he wouldn’t have needed to chew my chair cushions? That if I’d vacuumed more there would have been less fur around the house?  That if I was younger and stronger and more of an ‘calm, assertive’ type like Cesar Milan that I could have handled everything better?
Except I’m not calm and assertive. I have struggled with anxiety my entire life, have a history of being a bit of a doormat (although in recent years I’ve improved in that category) tend to get excited easily and being a perfectionist, have always expected way too much of myself.
So now I feel like a big loser in the dog-fostering department, and am worried I’ve bitten off more than I can chew . If hubby is allergic to my new hobby, I’ll be forced to stop anyway, but maybe I can find a more ‘hypoallergenic’ breed. 
In the meantime, I miss my big bouncing ball of fur. 

7 Responses to “Dog, Interrupted”

  1. judyalter June 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Nancy, what a hard, hard place to be. Don’t beat yourself up. A few months ago I took in a dog, not even a foster but a straight out rescue. He was wonderful; he loved me, and I loved him. But he would randomly but viciously attack strangers and he bit my grandson twice. On the advice of my vet and two professional dog trainers, I had him put down. I still can barely say his name. And oh boy, did I get hate mail which ranged from “You don’t understand love bites” (believe me I do–he did that all the time) to “You should never own a dog.” I’ve had dogs all my life. Who knows what shaped him that way? Who knows why your Bowser had such a lively nature. It is what it is, and you did the best you could. Banish that guilt–sent by another non-aggressive, anxiety-ridden dog lover.

  2. Selena Robins June 26, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    You did everything you could, and you are NOT a big loser in the fostering department! xo

  3. kathleenkaskawrites June 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    You are my dog hero! Not that YOU are a dog, but you know what I mean. Anyone who takes the time to care for unwanted animals earns a special place upstairs. Keep up the good work. Being a hero is not always easy, otherwise we’d have more of them.

  4. juke01 July 8, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    You didn’t fail him mom…you brought him back to life and you only dropped him off earlier than expected …you would have had to let him go anyways…and besides dogs live in the moment!

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