Every time I have the opportunity to see one of my former foster pups, I always wonder if they will recognize me, and pretty much every time I go away both sad and glad that they don’t. Or if they do, they keep it to themselves.
I’m sad they don’t recognize me because I still love them and remember the bond we had. Some of them were with me for months. At the same time I’m so very glad that they are happy in their new lives and not pining for me. As I said to someone who asked me about it at the Hamilton puppy birthday party over the weekend, “If they did, there would be 70 dogs roaming around the mid-atlantic (plus one in Indiana and one in Massachusetts) feeling depressed.” I’m glad they’ve moved on. I’m grateful dogs are so resilient.
On this past Sunday, I had the immense pleasure of seeing Schuyler and six of her nine pups a year after they consumed my life and solidified my puppy addiction. When I agreed to foster Schuyler and her newborn puppies, through a simple miscommunication or perhaps an assumption on my part, I thought I was getting a mom dog and three pups. That seemed manageable and my husband was game.
Then, a day before I picked them up I discovered there were actually nine puppies coming. Luckily, my marriage survived it. And I do still wonder if I would have ever volunteered for that many puppies had I known. Either way, it set my course and explains why since then I’ve fostered 26 puppies in less than a year.
When they left my house, the Hamilton puppies weighed 10-12 pounds and now they are all between 45-65 pounds. They are still a happy bunch and took over the dog park where the party was held. The Hamilton pack was back in action. They wrestled over sticks, just as they had in the puppy pen last spring.
Princeton (formerly Lafayette) still fell on the ground and played with the others lying on his back with a huge smile on his face and his tongue lolling out. Even if they didn’t recognize each other as relatives, they certainly acknowledged their kindred spirits as they raced and tumbled and wrestled.
Schuyler watched the action in the park for the first few minutes, nervous and unsure. It was her first visit to a dog park and all her pups, plus the few extras that morning, were bigger than her. Still, it wasn’t long before she was racing and playing, too.
Hercules Mulligan was always the biggest pup and is still the tallest, although Sampson (John Laurens) probably out-weighs him. Millie (formerly Angelica) is the largest of the girl pups and always was. Tiny little Theodosia, now Lucy, is still pretty small, but she is solid and just as sweet as ever. Sadie (formerly Maria Reynolds) is gorgeous – more houndlike than the others – long and lean with super short hair. I had Maria longer than the others because her first adopter returned her six days after he picked her up (he was not properly prepared to live with a puppy). So, of course, I became overly attached to that sweet pup and worried over her, rejoicing when she found a new adopter (right next door to one of her brothers!). And now I watched her racing with her siblings, happy, safe and well-loved. Good stuff.
Princeton/Lafayette’s adopter made pupcakes for the pups and they all loved them (except Millie/Angelica who is a bit of treat-snob, preferring duck flavored yummies).
We tried to pose for a picture, but getting seven dogs and twice as many people to look in the same direction at the same time was not easy. Here’s my best efforts:
Very few foster parents get to see much of their former pups in person/dog, so I feel incredibly privileged that this litter not only got together for a birthday party, but stay in regular contact with updates and pictures on a facebook group dedicated to the litter.
Sometimes fostering is not easy. I’ve had a rough few weeks here and I’m still not ready to say my newest pups are completely out of the woods as they are developing much slower than previous litters, so one happy morning with my grown up foster babies was much needed and much appreciated. If you’re reading this and you adopted a foster dog, if it’s possible, remember to let your dog’s former foster know that he/she is safe and happy and healthy. That’s all we really need to know. It’s why we rescue.
Here’s a few side by side of the pups, then and now.
Hercules Mulligan/Hercules Mulligan
If you’d like to do more to help OPH rescue more dogs, here are two great opportunities!
The first is an amazing effort being made by an amazing OPHer named Julie. OPH is collecting shoes for a different fundraiser (Wooftrax gives charities $1000 for collecting 2500 pairs of shoes which are then sent to devloping countries, so a win-win-win), and Julie is selecting the new or very slightly used pairs to sell online to raise even more money. So far she has raised over $300. Check out the selection and consider purchasing a pair at https://poshmark.com/closet/julieallan. And if you have shoes you’d like to donate, you can bring them with you to….
….The Fast & the Furriest 5k Run/Walk, one of OPH’s biggest fundraisers of the year. It’s coming up on Sunday April 9 in Frederick, MD. Nick and I will be running and I’m hoping to see lots of my previous fosters out there (including at least two of my Hamilton puppies!). It’s a fun event with lots of free stuff in your runner’s bag, plus raffles and silent auction. Get info here and Sign up here. There’s even a ‘sleeping in’ option for those of you who want to support it, but don’t get out of bed that early on a Sunday!
If you’d like near-daily updates of fosters past and present, please join the Another Good Dog facebook group.