How Fostering Four Beagle Puppies is Teaching me to Let Go
I swore I would not do it. I was never going to be a foster to dogs. It was too hard, I would never be able to let them go. I would fall in love and end up with 20 dogs in my house. Adopt, yes. And I have. Four dogs live with the girls and I. You know them. Bud, Piper, Jack and Joy. I like to take in dogs who have no one else. The hard cases. The ones that have never known the love of a safe and happy home. Ones I don’t have to let go until their last breath.
But a month or so ago I got a call. The story was sad. A pregnant beagle was left alone in the yard of her family, days before giving birth, while they packed up and moved away, abandoning her to fend for herself. By the grace of God, the neighbor realized this, took her in and helped her birth seven beautiful puppies a few days later.
The rescuer kept the puppies until they were weaned and kept one. Two others went to friends of hers but she could not find homes for the other four. She called the Houston Hound and Beagle Rescue, where I had adopted Piper, Jack and Joy and asked for help.
The rescue did offer to help but four puppies is a lot of work. They needed a home for at least 6- 8 weeks until they were old enough to spay and get micro-chipped. They had worms and were needing a safe home with a foster that had the time and patience for them. The rescue called all of the regular fosters and could not find a home.
So they called me. I knew when I returned the call that this is what they wanted. I thought maybe a foster for one dog, but four beagle puppies?
Once I heard the story, though, and consulted the kids, the answer was an overwhelming YES!
We picked up the puppies and have had them since.
As I post about the #HBHRescuePups online, everyone suspects I will be a foster fail. They ask me how I will ever be able to give these little boys up. Honestly, I have to. If it were not for fosters, I would not have my beagles and my life would not be as enriched as it is now.
But the flip side is that these little boys, with their antics, potty messes in the house, ability to chew everything in sight and inability to sleep past 5am are helping me learn to let go.
For reasons that stem from my childhood and my intense fear of loss, I have a hard time letting go. I like to be in control of my life in every aspect. It is probably why single motherhood suits me so well.
I hold onto deep pain, disdain for those who have done me wrong, guilt from bad decision and emotional baggage that can only weigh me down. I am scared to change things because I am afraid that if I give away the things that are hard to part with I will lose my ability to succeed.
These puppies and the knowledge that I will lovingly hand over each one to their furrever families are making me confront the feelings that come with letting go. I will hand them all off, one by one, knowing that they will be as happy in their new homes as they were in mine.
I will relish in the quieter house, the time I will get back from tending to them 24/7 and the time to give more attention to my own four dogs. I will also hand a little but of fear of letting go off with each one.
With a kiss on the nose and one last puppy breath lick, they will help be teaching me to let go of those things that define my fears.
They say that when you do for other people and animals, you get a little bit of benefit for yourself back. I think I hit the mother-load of lessons in fostering these babies.
And I am forever grateful…
Have you ever learned something about yourself by doing for others?