Yesterday I visited the cats at the shelter and found that a former foster of mine, Honey, was terribly sick. Her eyes were glued shut, her nose hermetically sealed with dried snot, and she was a bit dehydrated because she couldn't coordinate drinking and breathing in her condition. Weak and snotty, she accompanied a human to the vet and they came back with interesting instructions that Frank and I had to implement. Have you ever had to medicate 20 cats at a time? Okay, imagine it. Now imagine that not only do they receive meds by mouth, but also nose spray and eye drops. Twenty cats. Twice a day. Can you believe I do this voluntarily?
So for the past two days, I've been the official cat restrainer, and we have five more days to go. The good news is that the Honey, by far the sickest, is already improving, so all this hard work should result in a big roomful of adoptable cats again.
The same vet that diagnosed Honey and sentenced me to a week of cat wrestling, also fixed up a wounded foster dog earlier in the day. A tall, wiry, terrier mix, Fish is not my foster, but he and I really connected when he was at the shelter prior to going into foster care. (Yes, Fish. I know, I know. He came with the name and now I can't think of him as anything else.) Anyway, Fish has major issues that extend far beyond his name and he bit the crap out of everyone at the vet's office. After they did his surgery, they refused to let him recover there and shelter folks had to come pick him up; this is the first dog I've known personally who was banned from the vets office for life. He also bit the shelter guys as they got him ready to come to the shelter and again after they let him out of this carrier so he could lay on blankets. I arrived awhile later and loved on him a bit (I could tell he remembered me), and by the time evening rolled around and it was time to close up, I was unanimously nominated to be the one to get Fish back in his crate. I think others may have gotten impatient watching me with him, but I coaxed him into his crate with love and patience and cheese, and he ended up going in on his own, with no trauma or upset to either of us. Mission accomplished!
Now, the big news. About two months ago, I brought home Banjo. Since then he has become a romping, affectionate, playful, obedient, loving little dog. At home. When out and about, he's still very timid, but will let people pet him if I'm holding him. He adores me completely, thinks he's my dog, and more than once I've caught myself thinking of him as mine as well. Last night we had a little photo shoot, and then he slept in my bed because his beloved crate had been usurped by an escaped shelter chihuahua that I'd finally caught and brought home until I could return him this morning. (Usurper went to a great foster home today.)
Banjo Beans, last night. Feeling playful:
He hasn't put on a lot of weight, but is otherwise doing very well. Here he is in all his sweetness.
When he got neutered last week, I spent the whole day missing him and kept looking for him in his usual spot, only to be surprised when he wasn't there. With his existing issues, I figured I'd foster him for several more months at least, and was concerned about his ability to find a home when he was already so attached to me. We had an extra fun and bonding night last night, which was quite serendipitous.
Well. Today he got adopted. Adopted! It was so hard to give him up, and I know he's so scared and will be for awhile, but the couple who took him have kind eyes and gentle hands and patient spirits (and all my contact information). I know he is in a good family. They know that he can come back to me if for any reason it doesn't work out for them. And I know that I can foster dogs without keeping them all, which I would never have known if I had kept Banjo.
I'm all raw and sore inside. I know I did the right thing, I know this is what we were working toward, but I need to go off and have a good cry.