(Lucy with her new family)
I almost turned around five times on the drive to Springfield for a meet and greet with a promising forever home for Lucy. I had been fostering her for two months after she had been dumped in rural Tennessee. She had delivered eight healthy puppies under a house that had all been adopted, but she had nowhere to go so I took her in as my first foster dog.
She had been spayed and vetted, and had settled in at my house; she was a great dog. The only problem was she was forty-two pounds and she liked to rough house with my twelve-pound dog. As the days went by, their play got rougher and rowdier and eventually crossed the line into fighting.
Donna, ICHBA’s head honcho, had shown Lucy’s picture and story to a couple and they were interested in her. I took the back roads, driving from Nashville through Ashland City and up Highway 49. It was grey and drizzly, and Lucy sniffed the familiar country air with a worried look on her sweet face.
I had woken up with a hangover, brought on by a midnight dwelling on this task that I was both looking forward to and dreading at the same time. I had no appetite, but I thought about stopping at a fast food joint to get Lucy a plain hamburger, then thought better of it.
I’m not usually a flip-flopper – I make a decision and stick with it, but with Lucy it was different. I thought: she is such a good dog, maybe I should just keep her for now and maybe give her to a trusted friend someday. Maybe I will call Donna and tell her to just ‘eff it, I’m keeping her. I am a foster failure -just admit it and go back home. But I drove on…
I had never been to Springfield before, and I encountered a beautiful old downtown and stopped at a nearby Kroger to buy a Nyla-bone and a stuffed hedgehog so Lucy would have some toys if she ended up being adopted.
After I met Donna, I followed her to a new subdivision outside of town. As we turned in, the street was full of young families and their dogs outside enjoying the Saturday afternoon.
We walked up to the house and were warmly greeted by a nice couple with a toddler. Donna and I had a seat on their couch and I let Lucy loose to go sniff around. I didn’t know how she would react to the antics of this little human creature, but in characteristic fashion she was calm, mellow and unaffected. She sniffed his little face and licked him gently.
One thing I like about ICHBA is that the foster has complete veto power over any potential adopters. “If for any reason at all you don’t feel comfortable with something, anything about them just give me a signal and we will bag it,” Donna said.
Melissa had told me that Donna was a no-nonsense type and didn’t mind hurting feelings because it was all about the dogs.
We stayed an hour, but I knew in the first minute that this was the right home for Lucy. They had shiny new food and water bowls and toys were waiting. After a while, Donna looked my way, squeezed my arm and I gave her a slight nod. She got out the paper work and it was a done deal.
I kissed Lucy smack on the maw, whispered “good luck sweetie” in her ear, quickly turned my back and walked out the door. My first foster dog project was now complete and I felt pretty good about myself.