Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sometimes Accidents Happen--A Guest Blog on Fostering by My Awesome Sister

As a reproductive rights advocate, women’s health nurse practitioner and contraception counselor, I never thought that I would be faced with the question of what to do with an unplanned addition to my family.
KT, Webbie & Cameron: Perfect foster parents
 and one lucky dog

My partner and I are currently raising the love of our lives: a three-year-old blue-brindle pit bull rescue, Sophia.  Out of our gratitude for the foster mom that pulled Sophie from the pound, we decided that for Christmas we would do the same for another pit.  Without much planning we went to the Philadelphia Animal Control Shelter and came home with a scared and emaciated pocket-pittie named Webster.  He was just 22 lbs when he first came into our apartment.  Nervous and apprehensive, he slowly began taking to my partner, Cameron, and I.  In the evenings he would crawl into one of our laps and fall deep asleep, becoming as heavy and warm as a bag of coals.  It was at these times that I felt the most connected to Webster.  It was as if curling up in my lap in front of the television was the first time he felt truly safe enough to fall so deep asleep.  Like baby and mother, Webster and I started to develop a special bond.  

After a couple of weeks, we began taking steps to recruit a forever home for Webbie.  Starting with an ad on petfinder, the process was encumbered by feelings of loss and sadness.  Webster’s relationship with us was special.  Another family wouldn’t understand him the same.  And most importantly, wouldn’t he think we were abandoning him?  One night as we were snuggling in a giant pit bull/human pile, my partner and I came up with a whole new idea. Looking up from stroking Webster’s velvet ears, Cameron said to me, “You know…we could just keep him.”  I protested at first, “I know, but that is not our life plan.  We have planned our future with room for just one dog.  We love Webster, but he is not supposed to be part of our family.”  Cameron responded with a comment that changed everything. “Honey, sometimes accidents happen.”

Webbie on adoption day.

From that evening on it was nearly impossible to decide what to do with Webster.  As soon as I felt like I would miss him too much, I was reminded that families make these types of adaptations all the time.  An accidental Webster could be the luckiest thing that happened to our family.  Surely we could make room in our apartment for another pittie, we had already made room in our hearts. 

And that’s when I learned that being a foster parent is one of the hardest things to do.  Of course Webster had made his way into our hearts, he basically had done so when we first met him in the shelter.  And making room in an apartment and budget for another dog is always possible.  But I had been right.  This wasn’t our plan.  We wanted to become foster parents to help save pit bulls, not simply to save Webster.  If we kept Webbie it would mean that our family was really truly full and we wouldn’t be able to foster any dogs in the future whose lives were risked everyday that they weren’t pulled from the shelter.  
Webbie making out with his forever dad, Drew.

Eventually the perfect family came forward to adopt Webster; a young couple who were looking for their first dog.  They just wanted to spoil Webster and it was clear that adopting him out to them was the right thing to do.   When we handed Webbie over to Drew and Holly, my heart was much less heavy than I thought it would be.  There was joy and comfort in knowing that this is why we first brought Webster home.  He would get to be the princess of his own home and Drew and Holly would get to know the beauty of parenting a loyal and loving pit.  We are now taking the love that we felt for Webster and using it to get ready to pull another needy dog from the shelter.  Her name is Sam. 

1 comment:

  1. CRYING BIG FAT TEARS at work. Thanks a lot pibble lovers. THANKS A LOT. For everything you do!