For new followers – (yay big life events!) – I may need a little background before I begin. Brian and I foster for the Greater Charlotte SPCA. We’ve been fostering for about a year and a half now, and have helped ten of our foster fur babies find their forever homes. Many people ask us “how can you possibly let them go?” and the truth is it does get harder and harder each time. Hopefully this story will help explain.
Our latest foster is a sweet little long-haired Chi named Eden. I can’t tell you what her life was like before she came into mine, but right away I knew it had been rough. Although she appeared to be well-fed and well-cared for, the moment we met she clung to my leg for dear life. Who knows what amount of neglect might cause an animal to live with that level of anxiety. I can only imagine. Unfortunately Eden’s start with me wasn’t a good one either. Our first attempt at a trip outside to go potty resulted in her being lost for nearly 24 hours. Still traumatized from a recent spay and stay at animal control (props to those at CharMeck AC as they do everything they can with limited help and resources), she managed to slip her lead and disappear into the night. A terrifying night alone and subsequent dramatic capture left poor Eden in rough shape. The fleeting trust we had built was gone, and my sweet girl was terrified to even let me touch her. She would hover at the back of her crate and stare at me suspiciously, sometimes baring her teeth. This would go on for three days, and for those three days she’d be too scared to even leave her crate to use the bathroom. Neighbors and friends saw how distraught I was. They gently told me it was ok, not my fault, not every one could be saved. My heart broke for this sweet, terrified little girl who wouldn’t let me give her the comfort I knew she needed. And this is how Eden taught me a lesson in patience.
I wanted to hold her close to me right away, but I had to wait until she was ready. After nearly eight long days of soft encouragement, tons of treats, and giving her the space she needed to feel comfortable with us, Eden has done a complete 180. She still has a bit of a ways to go, but this is our sweet girl now —
It is tempting for us to keep Eden. She is a near twin of our personal little long-haired Chi and is such a complete doll. But if we kept her, we wouldn’t be able to keep giving others like her a soft place to land. Some may have given up, lost patience, and just shuffled her off to the next place when she wasn’t ‘perfect’ – but we’ve learned patience and love are all that’s needed to transform a fearful animal into a complete cuddle bug. Eden has a potential adopter, a wonderful woman who was adopted herself, and wants to offer the same love and second chance she was given to another. These are the stories, this is the why. Fostering saves lives, and not just the furry ones. I am certainly changed by Eden and all our other fosters – and always for the better.