Something Wicked This Way Comes By Ray Bradbury
Weight: 4 oz
Method of Disposal: The foster puppy, Leda, ate it and the remnants are in the recycling bin
The joys of puppyhood and of fosterdom. I always tell people, confidently and smartly, that I only adopt dogs 4 years and older. It is not exactly true, but I want it to be. In a world where I did not adopt dogs so that they would not be euthanized, I would only adopt adults and seniors. I know this is counter-intuitive since adults and seniors are put down more often than the younger ones, but in the case of pit bulls—all bets are off, all pits are at risk, and if you meet the right one at the right moment you take it home whether it is 10 months old or 12 years old. Hell, I took the wrong one at the wrong time, when she was 10 months old, and she reaffirmed every reason I ever gave for not adopting a puppy, and now she is the perfect 4.5 year old girl for me. All of this is to say, that I am still adamant that adults and seniors are the way to go. They need you and you need them.
So, why do I torment myself with fostering kittens and puppies?! I foster adult animals too, but I do not have a foster age limit or maxim. I guess that it is true, on some level, that babies (particularly animal babies) are made super cute for a reason and that most people are susceptible. When I walked into the clinic over 8 months ago and saw a little baby girl that looked like my Sergei, licking the vet techs' faces, despite the fact that they were removing an embedded collar, I just had to take her home to heal. I knew it would be a short-term commitment, and I knew I could give that puppy some of the things she needed until someone else could do better.
I took her home. I cleaned, medicated, and re-bandaged her oozing neck wound. I treated her for mange, and then I took her in to be spayed. I thought she would go on the adoption floor days later, but that was not what was in store for us. As it were, Leda had a failing kidney that had to be removed. I took her to the emergency vet and then to the specialist. There was a terrible and sickening chance she would die. But she didn't. The relief was overwhelming. We just had to make sure her other kidney was functioning properly.
Once that was in order, it was time for her to find a loving home. Wrong. She had ringworm. We went through quarantines, lyme dips, and oral medications. It took a Long. Damn. Time. I am getting excited/nervous ahead of time, and I know I shouldn't do that lest I test the universe, but she may go into a forever home this weekend or next week.
One of my many heartbreaking trophies from my relationship with this beautiful, intense, hellion I loved for so long is this copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes. It was one of many books to be shredded when I was not paying attention (it only takes a few moments). It is the only one that remains recognizable, though not readable. I was frustrated when I found it in the living room, the kitchen, her bedroom. I had wanted to read it, but I never had. Why was this dog still here?!
It is true that I am about to put it in the recycling bin now, but as I hold it in my hands I think about all the wonderful attributes Leda contains in that tiny little tank of a body and that always-rearin'-to-go mind. I think about all the goofy things that have made me laugh out loud and all of the sweet kisses she gave me when I rubbed her belly. The way she so eagerly and rapidly sits, shakes, and lays down (seemingly all at the same time) when she sees a treat. Sure, I also think about all the times I complained about her (SO MANY times) and all the aggravation, but it takes on a whole new light. I also, miserably, recall her crying in pain after her surgeries, waking her up during nightmares, and falling asleep with her many nights on a pallet on the floor since she could not sleep with my dogs. I think of her exuberance when she gets to play with other dogs and new people. I love that wicked little dog. I love her so much.
And I worry, now that the time is finally here, that she will never know how much, that she will never know why I had to give her up, and that her new family will not fully realize her wonder. But I also know that I cannot offer her the things she needs. I cannot afford her the life she deserves, the life she will soon have. I cannot do these things with my current work hours and with my own special needs dogs. For 8 months, I have known this, fretted over it, mourned it, stressed about it. It is time, for me and her, but I hope that I can continue to get updates from her new life and know that what we did, while imperfect, was incredible and that it has bonded us for life. Even if I never see her again. That I gave her the chance she needed to survive and that she gave me the experience of witnessing and partaking in her embodiment of all-encompassing joy, despite all of the hurdles she had to overcome.