I have never been very good at saying goodbye. I think it’s because when I give of myself it’s generally in a pretty deep rooted way, it’s who I am and I wouldn’t really change that though at times it tends to just plain suck. Who is the poet that wrote, “it is better to have loved and gotten your heart torn to shreds than to have never loved at all?” or something like that, it was some Lord or Prince, someone fancy and wise.
Last week I received a call that my former foster dog John Wayne was moving with his family to Denver to start a new chapter of his life. He was adopted by an amazingly kind and loving family. I kinda fell in love with them from the moment they saw John Wayne at an adoption event put on by the Cincinnati Reds at the ballpark 3 years ago. The two boys in the family were so gentle and kind to John, asking permission before they petted him and spoke to him so sweetly. I was very happy to learn that they put an application in on John Wayne the very next day!
All of my foster dogs have been amazing, and I have loved them all. There is something very special about John, maybe it’s because he came to me very banged up after being hit by a car, just a pup with a lil blue cast on his leg and those big chocolate drop eyes that immediately burned right through to my heart. I had him longer than my average foster puppy and there was something about him I can’t quite explain, a connection of sorts. When he got adopted I bombarded his new family with information about what he ate, when he ate, how he liked to eat it and every nuance about his bathroom habits. His nighttime rituals, morning habits and everything in between. The one sided sheet we give out to new families with info was filled out in my small chicken scratch both sides with arrows and pictures and listings of currant recalled treats and food. It’s a wonder they did not run the other way, but they didn’t run and as a matter of fact they have let me watch John Wayne several times over the years, at Christmas when they visited family out of state, when they have gone on vacations and I think I was one of the first calls they made when John had gotten very ill last year and had to be rushed to the ER for care. I remember walking out of a restaurant having lunch with friends to get there. He rebounded and was back to his old sweet self in no time at all, and I was so grateful he had a family who didn’t even seem to blink when he needed expensive care. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about keeping him, but in the end I knew he belonged with his new family, oh the lessons of unconditional love, and friendship he would teach those young boys it was a job made just for him. The day he got adopted Chaz and Cameron told me that they had a family meeting and decided to keep his name knowing how important it was to me because he was named after my Dad whose name was John and the added Wayne because John Wayne was my dad’s favorite movie cowboy. People often ask how I can foster, how is it possible to not want to keep them all? I look at John Wayne and his story of adoption and my response can only be “How could I not?”
They invited me to come spend some time with John on Thursday night and say goodbye. It was bittersweet to say the least. We laughed, played and the boys showed me all the tricks they had taught John. We had a blast, and when it was time to go John jumped up in my car assuming he was going with me. “Not this time, buddy”, as my tears spilled into his soft fur, I kissed the top of his head and lifted him out. I tried to tell him he had big adventures waiting for him out west, cause he is a cowboy after all! I know it sounds crazy but he knew, in the end he knew it was goodbye. I can’t thank Natalie, Darryl and the boys Chaz and Cameron enough for loving him as much as I do, and for being so kind in sharing John with me through the years. Let the new adventures begin and here is a look back at some old ones.