Rule #1-don’t fall in love with your foster

Going for a car ride is supposed to be the highlight of any sensible dog’s day. Whether the destination is less than desirable (the vet) or the most wonderful place on earth (Grandma’s house) it is always the best time ever. Just you and the open road and with the window down, wonderful smells whiz by in the thousands.  It’s just can’t be beat.

Never has a more beautiful phrase been uttered than: ”Wanna go in the car?”

So imagine my surprise when Little Miss Maggie turns green and starts to drool as we drive down the street one fine winters day. Her heaving chest is coated with saliva by the time we hit the highway. Then, exactly 1 block from our destination, the entire contents of her stomach (3/4 cup of small breed kibble and 2 biscuits) are expelled onto the newly cleaned seat of our Prius.

I sniff the puke gingerly and look over at Maggie. “Hey, are you ok?”

“Yeah, sure” she gags in reply, “thanks for asking.”

She remembers her manners even while hurling.

Mom takes it in stride. Apparently, she knew all about Maggie’s fragile tummy and was well prepared. An old blanket had been carefully laid down and covered almost the entire seat. “Almost” being the key word because that vomit skillfully landed on the only portion of seat that was still exposed. After thoroughly soaking into the cloth for a minute or so, the vomit stream slowly oozed downward and formed a small mountain of semi-digested goo on the floor mat (also newly cleaned).

By the time we get to the pet shop, Maggie had no interest in picking out a new treat. Which happened to be the glorious reason for this particular car ride. She sits on the floor waiting for the queasiness to pass while I run merrily down the aisles wondering where the hell they stock the Greenies. I suppose I could have been more sympathetic.

Mom bends down and dabs at Maggie’s soiled face with a Kleenex.

We pick out the treat for her.

Back home, Mom curses the snow and ice. She is dying to parade her sweet Maggie around town and impress all of the neighbors with her perfect little foster. Instead, we hang in the back yard where Tommy has cleared a path for me, as I am much too delicate to manage the 3-foot drifts. Maggie, on the other hand, charges over the piles of snow like a miniature Mac truck. She is quite sturdy for her little size. She rolls around; grunting and snorting like a sea otter, showing off with back flips and somersaults. Mom runs to get the video camera.

That night, she uploads that sea otter video to Maggie’s petfinder profile. Which ends up being the catalyst to Maggie finding her forever home. I’ll get back to that later.

Below is a picture of Maggie playing in the snow (I was watching from a safe distance)

Loyal Readers, along with the unfortunate propensity to sleep a lot and the development a few achy bones, getting old does have its perks. I finally have reached a place where I no longer doubt Moms love for me. I’m positive that no matter what happens, we will always be together and I will always be her number one guy.  It’s a good place to be, mentally, and couldn’t have come at a better time because Mom is just fawning over Maggie. The more Maggie flowers the worse it gets. And the feeling is mutual; Maggie adores Mom and follows her everywhere silently proclaiming her undying love and devotion with every step. I can hear Mom has started to think about possibly keeping her. Maggie hears it too.

Don’t be surprised, it can happen and it’s what we in the business call a “foster failure.” More than a few of Mom’s rescue friends have a pooch or two in their lives that started out as foster dogs and ended up beloved members of their family.

But we have made a commitment to visit another family and we can’t disappoint them. Mom secretly hopes that Maggie will misbehave. She fantasizes that the family will be hiding some sort of puppy-torturing device in the basement. One, which she will discover only at the last minute, and after foiling their diabolical scheme, will shout triumphantly:


But the visit goes off without a hitch and by the time Mom gets home she has an email waiting for her

It went something like this:

“Thanks you so much for letting us meet your sweet Maggie. She really caught our attention when we saw her adorable video on petfinder. We think she is just precious and would make a wonderful addition to our family. We would be honored to have this dainty little lady in our lives and, if it’s OK with you, would love to adopt her”

Mom reads the message out loud to Tommy and her eyes well up with tears. She makes a hasty retreat and hides in the bathroom. From outside the door I can hear her sobbing.

Maggie’s new family picked her up that weekend, armed with a truckload of toys and treats. I can see they already love her. ” Mom figures within 24 hours Maggie will be following her new Mom around with same fierce devotion (and she was right).  Knowing she made a good match, she actually manages a smile while she utters her bittersweet good bye, whispering softly into Maggie’s ear “I love you, baby girl”

I heard the little munchkin puked in the car on the way to her new home, exactly one a block away.

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