One of the greatest legacies my mom left was the gift she had for finding dogs and "not finding them another home". So they stayed with her and my dad, much to his dismay. It was a point of contention many times, new dog, same argument, consistent winning score for her.
I would always rather rescue than buy a specific breed. My hounds were rescues and they were the epic combination of both perfection and quirky. She instilled that in me.
But despite her best efforts and her endless effort to be the home for all the dogs, I learned something else. That not all homes are the right environment for certain dogs. You can't always cram a fluffy energetic ball of fur into a tight, crisp round hole.
I have been feeling the pull and feeling ready to bring a dog home for a few months. But I knew I needed to find one that fit my needs and the needs of my partner. An ad came up one day for a Toller Retriever Rescue named Annie. We jumped, well maybe me more than my partner, but if there were ever a sign. A rescue that had been given my mother's name...neon lights pointed toward adopt now.
Unfortunately we didn't get her, only because we hadn't been pre approved with this organization and they already had other applicants which had gone through the approval stages before so they got first dibs.
Officially, my heart was ready and had been disappointed so I put on my blinders and walked straight into the next one.
That's when we met Kenny. Kenny, we were told, was potty trained and crate trained, well behaved and energetic.
None of these traits were true. Sweet, yes, and full of love, and so playful. But also rough and sharp teeth and couldn't sit still and couldn't ever burn enough energy, was not potty trained and destroyed his crate. We were not the right home for him. He needed a yard and other dogs. The training we could have tackled, but we were told the opposite. We knew almost immediately what was a good fit for him and we weren't it. And I didn't want to continue to grow more attached, because I am my mother's daughter and was already there.
The rescue told me we needed to keep him for two more weeks, that meant two more weeks of paying for doggie daycare and messes in the house and having to buy a new crate for bedtime because he destroyed the other one we got for him. Two more weeks of stress at home and sleepless nights. Two more weeks of getting attached and getting heartbroken. Two more weeks of beating ourselves up and feeling like failures. Two more weeks of trauma. So, in my despair, I sent our mayday messages asking for help. And I found him the best home. I found him a place where he could run all day with other dogs. With the best person to love him, and where I could visit him too and knowing my mom would be okay with this change, though still disappointed we weren't the right home for him first. And once I told the rescue, and offering the number of the new home to talk to and feel just as confident, after which they were forcing us to keep him for two weeks and telling me they had no other choice, they brought my contract into play.
I had to return him, they would send him to CT, and try to find a foster there. I found Kenny a home, they found a way to get additional funds.
I was heartbroken for Kenny.
But I did what she would never do, I returned him back to the foster. I could not battle it anymore, I couldn't keep not sleeping, I wasn't ready for Kenny and I didn't have the strength to fight this rescue group for making a completely financial decision over what was right for the dog.
And all I have done for the past 10 days is ask my mom for forgiveness to not do what she would have done and to explain to her that I chose my home and a better environment for the dog too. Despite her best efforts, I can't rescue all of them and turn my home and my life upside down.
And I just want her to know, I'm sorry if I disappointed her.
Mom, I learned so much from you, though some of the lessons you may not have intended.