Sunday, April 26, 2009

The hardest part of fostering is in the goodbye

There is nothing worse than terrorizing your best friends, your animal companions who trust you implicitly, who rely on you totally, and who love you unconditionally. Whether it is putting a dog through a scary medical procedure, or corralling an alpaca for a much-needed surgery, or moving a dozen piggies to a new is upsetting for them, upsetting for us.

Today is moving day for the piggies, as they transfer to the sanctuary for whom I have been fostering them these past almost-two years. The pigsters have never known any other home; Scotch and Soda knew only a horrible, filthy, tiny crate before coming here. And today, I am doing the unthinkable – uprooting them from everything familiar and sending them away.

I have known all week that today was the day. I have felt sad, but not upset – I have always known this day would come, I have always known that the hardest part of fostering is the saying goodbye.

But it was not until this morning, as dawn broke and I stepped out of the house into the crisp morning air, that I wept. It was almost unbearable to realize that I would no longer hear their cacophony of morning squeaks and squeals and grunts and oofs, that I would no longer have their upturned snouties pushing at my legs, their sharp little trotters climbing on my thighs, to know that this chapter is over. And it was even more unbearable to know that ending this chapter is not without pain for the piggies who, no matter how calm I am or how carefully I plan it, no matter how efficient the transport driver, no matter how many treats I offer, were going to be terrified.

Ellen is arriving at 8:30, and Karen arrives with the horse trailer at 9:30. Janice is waiting at the other end for their arrival. There are 30 minutes of highway travel between here and there. Thirty long minutes for twelve terrified piggies.

And so I ask you, my readers, to think of them today – of all of us – and to hold us in your prayers as we undertake this challenge. May the Great Spirit watch over us, may the driver’s hand be steady, may the piggies know that they are loved and valued and that they are not being “sent away” but instead are being welcomed to the next chapter of their lives.

I love you, little pigs.


Anonymous said...

Oh Jean, i realize this is extremely difficult for you and we are all thinking of you & them today. But you must understand that they are very smart little piggies who have only known love and don't fear anything, anymore because of you.It is always hardest for us, the ones who feel the loss the most.I think they are looking towards a new adventure.

Anonymous said...

Awww Jean -- it will all be OK. Yes the piggies are going to be scared and confused, but once they arrive at the shelter and settle in, they'll move on and be happy, as animals do -- they're much better at living "in the moment" than us humans. Every living being moves through different stages and endures difficult transitions. As much as we would like to shelter our animals from these experiences, life doesn't happen that way for anyone. I know you'll make the move as easy as possible for this beloved little family and they will ultimately be fine. But I also know you'll miss them terribly.

Hugs to you today, and to all the piggies too.

Deb S.

Patience-please said...

It is so hard. So hard.
If it's any comfort to you, I have my dear, late friend's two dogs. Eleven-and-a-half-year-old littermates, who were living in the idyllic place of their births for all of their lives.

They are doing just FINE here.

Animals are so much more resilliant than we are. It's one of the infinite number of lessons they can teach us.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Thoughts and heart will be with you and the piggies, today, for sure, Jean! You have some encouraging comments from other readers, and I thought they were all right on the money. Still.. lots of empathy and hope for a smooth transfer coming your way.

mike said...

we're sending hugs and love your way, and will keep you and the piggies in our thoughts today.

looking forward to pictures of the big event!!


dp said...

Good luck to you and your oinkers. Whenever one of my foster dogs goes to a new home I take comfort in the knowledge that I have helped to provide them with the skills necessary to cope with transition. It is never easy, but they are going to a good place and once they overcome the initial shock they will look around and realize that it's not so bad. It's not a crate.

Anonymous said...

Jean, the hardest thing we can ever do as lovers and caretakers of animals is to do something that is "for their best", which causes them discomfort.

Big hugs to you today,