Sometimes rescue is hard. Sometimes it doesn’t come easy.
As I put the final touches on my next book, due to the publisher December 1 (and if all goes well, released July 2020), I’ve spent a lot of time remembering one particular dog who changed my life. Gala was with us for over eleven months, but truly she has never left my heart.
The new book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues (and yes, that is a mouthful and no, it wasn’t up to me), begins with Gala. Up until Gala, fostering had been mostly fun, occasionally stressful, but ultimately a win-win for all parties involved.
Gala challenged me, not just in terms of exposing how much I don’t know about dogs, but emotionally as I wrestled with multiple bad decisions, profound failure, and my own ego. With Gala, for the first time, I questioned whether we had helped more than harmed her along her journey. Life with Gala was never boring, so it makes for great material, but in telling her story I had to once again confront my own personal demons—insecurity, ignorance, fear of failure, selfishness, and anger.
She was a turning point in so many ways. It was fostering Gala that made me question why we were doing this and wonder if all our efforts (mine and OPH’s) were having any real effect on the situation. The endless stream of dogs in need had not decreased, in fact, it seemed more desperate. That fact is what sent me south and has kept me returning again and again. It’s why I started Who Will Let the Dogs Out with Nancy Slattery.
Since Gala, we’ve had our share of tough dogs. Many of you have followed Daisy’s story. She remains in foster care, now with fosters Deb and Scott in York. We’ve had the opportunity to babysit her two weekends now, and along with volunteer Paul, we’ve enjoyed her visits.
Daisy seems more settled, maybe a tiny bit more trusting, and certainly, she is always happy to see us. And yet today is Day 290, and she does not have a forever family, not even an application.
Daisy is a sweet, loving dog. She will make an incredible companion. She is quiet and calm (except for the occasional zoomies) and would be happiest in a quiet, calm life. She is fabulous on a leash, happily walking or hiking wherever you want to go. She is housebroken and crate-trained and enjoys her chew toys but never, at least in this house, chewed anything she shouldn’t have.
Why Daisy is still waiting is beyond me. I can only assume it’s that her forever family isn’t ready for her yet, because she is more than ready. (and if you know someone who might be perfect for Daisy, they can apply here.)
Another dog who challenged us in different ways than Gala, was Flannery.
A reader pointed out that I hadn’t told you, the blog community, whatever became of her. I suppose I was worried about jinxing her.
I’m happy to say, she is much loved and doing just fine with her new ‘dad’. He is an experienced dog person and didn’t flinch at the idea of dealing with a quirky pup like Flannery, quickly seeing that she was worth the extra effort.
My mostly-grown children had been anticipating her return, since she’d come back the two other times she’d been adopted. They were conspiring to figure out how they could adopt her themselves when (if) she did. Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary because last I heard, Flannery was doing just fine.
But maybe the best update I have for you has to do with Gala.
Gala was finally adopted this month by her other foster mama, Pam. Longtime readers of this blog, remember that Pam was the person who stepped in to help me with Gala, taking her so that I could have some respite and so that Gala didn’t have to go to boarding.
I remember the first time we talked about Gala, two years ago. It was clear then, at least to me, that she loved Gala. I remember our first conversation when Pam told me she’d been watching Gala online and that she reminded her of another special dog she’d had who had passed. Even after I told her about a few of Gala’s adventures, she wasn’t fazed. “We’d love to babysit her,” she told me.
Later, when Gala was adopted and returned, I was on a book tour and devastated, unsure I could take her back but certain no one else would. Once again, Pam stepped up. And Gala has been with her ever since, slowly but surely worming her way into Pam’s world until Pam finally acknowledged what Gala had known from the first time they met on a cold morning at the Park-n-Ride, Gala was her dog. She and her son officially adopted Gala this month. I had happy tears at the news and a huge, overwhelming sense of relief. Gala is safe. Now, if we could just find Daisy’s family.
Speaking of finding families, the puppies were made available to the OPH puppy waiting list this week and will soon appear on the site. They will be ready to go home December 21rst, just in time for Christmas! If you’re interested and haven’t put your application in, you better get on it. These cutie pies will go quick. And in case you’re still on the fence, maybe these pictures will convince you….
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like regular updates all my foster dogs past and present, plus regular videos of the PA pups, be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
For information on me, my writing, and my upcoming book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, visit CaraWrites.com.
And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org.
Our family fosters through the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes, a network of foster homes in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and south-central PA.
Recently released from Pegasus Books and available anywhere books are sold: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs.
I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.