It feels like this year has flown by. In December of 2009 I was just discovering geocaching; was more active than I’ve ever been;had three foster dogs, six foster guinea pigs, two foster bunnies, and a foster cat… My, how things have changed.
Shortly after the new year, I sprained my ankle geocaching. This would come back to bite me later but I did TRY to stay off it for a while…
On a positive note, the year also started off with one of our fastest adoptions ever as Brodie the shih tzu/yorkie mix came into the rescue and barely made his two week evaluation period before he was in his new home. Brodie was a senior that I picked up from Fairmont West Virginia on a parent-visiting trip; my dad even came with me to pick up the dog! We also had two beagle adoptions as Buck and Bear found their forever homes. These two pound puppies had arrived on Thanksgiving Day in 2009. They were not both supposed to be fostered here but when the other foster home fell through we’d ended up with two beagles, in addition to Bunny. Our border collie/german shepherd mix girl Bunny had arrived in February from a seriously neglectful hoarding/shelter situation. She had gone three years with minimal contact with humans and we were unsure if she’d ever find an adoptive home. As for the beagles, Buck was an easy adoption and in early January went into the white picket fence, 2.5 kids stereotypical modern family home but Bear was a fearful dog and had undergone a lot of conditioning to help him overcome some of his issues. Two weeks after Buck’s adoption, though, Bear found a place to lay his head. Though things were rocky as his new home had to learn how to communicate with him, he’s now a much beloved member of his family.
In February, things really started to move. The backdrop for it all was the heaviest snowstorm we’d had since ’92, leaving a few feet of snow on the ground. After one year in rescue, we discovered Bunny’s forever home and were spending as much time as we could having doggy playdates and helping Bunny acclimate to her future family. We had two extra dogs here as well, my in-laws’ two English setters, and we were working on rescuing not just one, but three dogs. On Facebook I had seen a photo of a white faced little chow mix dog, attached to a note from a Catahoula rescuer stating that a displaced woman’s three dogs needed a place to go. They had a potential home for the male catahoula, rescue for an aussie mix female but no commitment for the 15 year old dog. Something about her face just made me want to help her, and so I stepped up to take her. That weekend we also took in a senior lab/hound mix dog that had been used to hunt coyotes for 8 to 10 years and was dumped at a rural midwestern pound. He had never been given a name. The shelter called him Buddy, and his photo and story was being passed all around the internet, but we were the only group willing to take him in. He was fostered at my best friend’s house, where Brodie had stayed before him. He and Callie were vetted the same day, our two seniors, and Buddy received a clean bill of health. Callie, however, was diagnosed with kidney failure, but it left me all the more determined to do what I could for her. After several vet visits and days of nonstop research we developed a plan of attack, and that’s how I became the owner of a chow mix! I couldn’t stand the thought of sending her somewhere that wouldn’t give her every chance for a good life, like she had with us. When we made it official in the beginning of March, it meant the end of my dog fostering indefinitely, and I was broken hearted but it enabled me to focus on her. The stay on fostering was a gift in disguise as it enabled me to take a much needed step backward so I could focus on our long term foster guinea pigs- a pair of which were adopted at the end of February! That same weekend, Bunny went to her new family for a sleepover- and never came back. My yearling foster dog that came to me with no experience, now in a new home where she settled in as if she had always lived there.
March came in quietly. With our newest family member settling in, our in-laws’ dogs back home and all our other fosters adopted, things were going well. Our feet of snow slowly disappeared, bringing in spring, and I was geocaching again. Callie’s veterinary care was under control and life was good. Then… I fell. My ankle hadn’t had a chance to heal properly and went out as I was walking down the steps from the front porch. It crumpled beneath me and I could barely crawl back in the house. I was sure it was broken and Ross was at a gun show (where, incidentally, he bought my first handheld GPS for geocaching, which I had to stop doing.) It would be months this time before I could walk comfortably again, let alone hike with the dogs. I went to the hospital, sure I had broken something, but it was just a bad sprain. I was still able to go to adoption events at Petco, with crutches, and did my best around home to stay busy. One of my oldest guinea pigs became ill and before I could get her to the vet, she passed away. To make matters worse, Callie spent that weekend at the vet’s office with an IV to flush her system and we began giving her subq fluids daily. It was a very stressful way to end the month.
April came and went without any losses or injuries, but L’orange had become very ill and we feared she wouldn’t make it. She pulled through after many worrisome nights and lots of tears but the vet was waiting for test results that could be condemning. Our long term bunny foster Thumper was adopted, as was Buddy the senior lab mix, and we continued to take our guinea pigs and foster cat Tally to adoption events in the hopes that we would find them a home. We watched in horror when an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded on April 20th, causing the most tragic oil spill in history. It lasted for three months, spilling over 60k barrels of oil into the Gulf each day. As late as November, parts of the gulf were re-closed, and the ecosystem in the gulf has been altered forever. My heart was breaking…
May can be summed up in three words: geocaching, geocaching, geocaching! I was recovered enough to start with level walks and by the end of the month, I was doing short hikes. I even took my mom geocaching for Mother’s Day. Fast forwarding, June was much the same, but brought with it a new (used) truck and more vet visits with L’orange, who was diagnosed with FIP (fortunately, that diagnosis appears to have been wrong because she’s still with us six months later! ) While this carried on and the fear of losing my little heart-cat was eating away at me, Ross and I made the decision after to adopt our foster cat, Tally. He has special needs emotionally that prevented us from finding a suitable home for two years. He seems very happy here although it took over a year for him to even be comfortable within our home, so we promised that we will not uproot him again!
Loss, near loss, and new family members all accentuated the first half of the year. Stay tuned for more, if you’re crazy enough to enjoy this kind of thing. Click the thumbnail below for a slideshow of photos that accompany this post.
For the second half of the year, click here.