As often happens, an email came in that had been forwarded many times already, and it was being forwarded to me from MDR's director. An adorable dog needing help ASAP, this is her last hope, she's on death row slated for euthanasia. This time the dog was a four-month-old husky
X puppy they were calling Autumn.
Autumn was in a small shelter with few to no adopters outside of Dallas. This time, the message was from the area's only animal control officer, who was trying to find her one last chance. Our previous foster dog had been adopted, so we had room in our home, and I replied asking MDR's director to find out more.
Well this email had been circulating for a bit, so it turned out that Autumn really was hours from meeting an early demise for no reason other than space and no one stepping up to claim or adopt her. We scrambled to get the most direct line of
contact we could, and after a little confusion that perhaps she was lost, somehow the word got to the right person in the nick of time. There happened to be a transport heading from Texas to Colorado the next day, and there happened to be a spot on it for Autumn.
Even though my husband had been gone for a week tending to his elderly mother out of state, and even though Autumn was arriving the day after he returned and I started an intensive workshop the same day, we made sure to be ready for Autumn. I don't say this to brag or try to sound like heros. I say this because for anyone who volunteers with dog rescue, this is normal.
Sometimes we don't know how it's going to happen, but when that email arrives with those hopeful little brown eyes gazing into the camera, you just make room for that innocent heart to have a warm bed in your home if at all possible. And so often, it's possible...you just might not be sure how, other than to trust the outcome.
So after a series of very helpful people got Autumn from Dallas to Denver, then Denver to Boulder, and finally Boulder to Nederland, Autumn made it to our house where she casually ignored the cats, gave the old mastiff a lick (which normally would garner a growl but instead he wagged and sniffed her), and settled down for some gentle playing with our young great dane/lab.
Because of the crazy luck that had gotten her to us, for the first time we renamed a foster. We called her Nyx...in mythology, Nyx was the daughter of Chaos. Even though foster names are usually temporary, we thought it fitting for the time being.
For three weeks this little girl snuggled her way into our lives. She learned house training, sharing toys, eating politely, and even recall off-leash outside. Being part husky, she had a sweet and sassy little way of conversing with everyone in the house. To help her learn that she should eat only from her own bowl, we taught her to "go to the restaurant!" at mealtime, and she quickly figured out that meant to go to her own spot to eat.
When I was under the weather for a day, she snuggled beside me by the fire. When my husband napped on the couch, she would hop up and give him kisses and make her sweet little mumbly sounds.
I mention these details to illustrate just a little bit of why we fell in love with her. We fall for each foster in a different way, but Nyx, unfettered by abuse or neglect or dire illness, was so easy to add to the pack. Every time a new foster arrives my husband and I agree that she/he isn't staying. But in this case, we started the conversation about adopting Nyx ourselves..
But the applications were rolling in. We knew we would uphold MDR's high requirements (and then some!) for whomever we considered for Nyx. With every promising application, my heart grew heavier at the thought of saying goodbye. Then a good friend in Denver applied to adopt her...volunteers interviewed him and agreed that he would be a great home! But even knowing that we would get constant reports, see her regularly, and probably even get to puppysit from time to time, as I filled out the adoption paperwork the night before he picked her up, I did so with tears streaming down my face and Nyx sleeping at my feet.
So many people put so much effort and hope and love and energy into each rescue dog that is given the chance to live a happy life. When we hand them over to their forever home, we are not just handing over a dog who lived with us for a while. We are handing over everyone's effort and hope and love and energy, so we do our very best to make every match as perfect as possible.
My heavy heart lifted the minute our friend called excitedly--just as I was finishing that paperwork, as a matter of fact--and told me he was at the pet store gathering a long list of goodies for his new girl. I could tell he was the newest heart that she'd snuggled up to. And I let go of being sad and instead found gratitude that we'd gotten to be part of her chaotic path to happiness!
Autumn who became Nyx is now Holly, and is happily prancing around her lovely new home and loving her new yard. She's had the holidays to meet her new grandparents and extended family, and bond with her new and forever pappa. We get emails and calls, questions and reports, and the adorable photos are starting to come in, which we add to the pics we see of the other fosters with their new families.
This is why we do it. Some of the dogs have more complicated stories, so we might spend our time with them building trust, nursing them to health, or simply trying to unlock the mystery of who they are. Some, like Nyx, haven't suffered yet at someone's careless or abusive hands and instead found their way into the temporary watch of some good soul like that animal control officer outside of Dallas, whose email got to the right place at the right time to deliver one more little soul out of chaos and into a happy forever.