Friday, December 31, 2010

A sunrise walk and a bittersweet farewell

Crofton sunrise

I lie awake in the early morning, the crisp cold dawn slipping through the slightly open window. I snuggle further under the blanket, spooning around Lucy as she sleeps on, oblivious to what lies ahead. Soon, I feel her nudge my arm and start to lick my hand. I stroke her soft fur and she wiggles up the bed to cover my face with her morning doggy kisses. It is time to get up, though today my heart is heavy.

In just a few short hours, Lucy’s world is about to be turned upside down. This is the last time she will sleep on my bed, the last morning she will wake me with her kisses. For Lucy Lou has found a home.

She came to me a scared, anxious, sad, and very pregnant girl. Slowly she learned to love car rides and walks about town, to crawl up on my lap and sneak into my bed. She gave wonderful kisses – timid at first, and then more generously washing my face and hands with her tongue. And she grew to trust me – to trust that when I left the house without her, I would return, and when I took her places where she had to stay without me, I would come back for her.

Today I am going to break that trust. Today she is moving on – to join the family who has pledged to love her forever, her adoptive family. In time she will learn to trust them, in time she will love them as she does me. Friends tell me dogs are very adaptable. And I know that is true. But I know before her trust and love will be freely given again, there will be a time of sadness and confusion, a painful time for Lucy – and how I wish I could protect her from that pain.

I get out of bed and go to the back door. I pull on my boots and warm jacket and step outside with Lucy. The sky is orange and red with the glow of sunrise, and I impulsively forgo our morning routines and grab the camera and Lucy’s leash. We head down to the beach and watch the sunrise, sitting side by side in the frosty morning air. It is a perfect way to spend our very last morning together. A perfect time for a final walk.

Boat leaves the marina

Sunrise from the seawalk

Sunrise and reflections

I have always known this day would come. And for nearly a week, I have known it would be today. The family came to meet her last Sunday, and I took her to their place for the homecheck on Tuesday, and then I recommended the SPCA approve the application. And they did. It has been my secret, one that I didn’t want to share on the blog until all was complete.

By noon she seems to know something is up. Perhaps she senses my emotions, perhaps she makes sense of the things I am packing for her. She sits by the window and watches and waits.

Are they here yet?

I'm tired of waiting

I am going to miss her terribly. I will miss her enthusiastic greetings when I’ve been gone, whether for five minutes or five hours. I will miss her climbing onto my lap and pushing me out of my chair. I will miss her running to her crate and sitting up tall as can be as she waits for her meal. I will miss her wonderful silly grin, her willingness to dress up and her excitement as soon as I pick up her leash or the car keys. But most of all, I shall miss her climbing up onto my bed and snuggling up to me, licking my hands and covering my face with her kisses as we wake up in the early morning hours and head out for a walk in the sunrise.

It is always good news when a shelter dog finds a family. She joins a mom and dad, and a boy and girl. The girl, Kaia, shall be her special pal, and it is on her bed that Lucy shall likely sleep. Her new family also has two cats, and she’ll have doggy friends to play with regularly as her at-home mom walks neighbourhood dogs each weekday, walks our Lucy will now enjoy too. Oh, and Lucy will have a gramma just down the road, whose two dogs she met and liked on Tuesday.

She will live in a lovely comfortable home with a nice yard to play in, protected by a solid six foot fence, though it will be awhile before she can be out there unattended for even a minute, as we all know about her invisible pogo stick and superpower flying abilities! Her new family has been well versed in the rules of keeping Lucy safe.

And so Lucy rides off, not into the sunset, but into the sunrise of her life – into the promise of a brand new day, a brand new life. With her she takes her martingale collar and a new id tag, her sweater, a few favourite toys, some dog food and some treats......and a very large piece of my heart.

My sorrow is a little girl’s joy. My pain is a family’s excitement. Such is the role of fostering – to nurse back to health, to teach some manners, to care, to love, to let go. Lucy Lou is going home.

Heading home

A Poem for Lucy

It is perhaps the hardest thing that I have ever done,
To love a dog and earn her trust, and then to send her on.
In fostering, the joy I feel at seeing safely placed
A homeless dog, is bittersweet; with sorrow it is laced.
A young girl's gain will be my loss; my mind has but one thought:
That I will truly miss this dog and all the love she brought.

Have a great life, Lucy Lou.

© 2010 JFB

Lucy's morning sunrise, December 31, 2010

Viewed with her foster mama the day she begins her new life


Anonymous said...

So bittersweet...


Jen said...

Hugs, Jean!

I too know how hard it is to let go of a loved foster, but you and I both know she'll have a great life and you'll be able to open your heart and home to another. But, at this moment it's hard. I get that; I'm still sad that Ben is gone. He was only here a few days, but I loved him dearly. Lucky boy has already found a home with loving owners and a little girl to grow up with. It's the way it should be. And, it's the way it should be for Lucy.

You did a beautiful thing, bringing Lucy and pups home!

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

Nana & MP said...

Oh how bittersweet. Tears, tears, tears. I fell in love with Lucy so very fast—and I never even met her! I can't imagine how hard it was for you.

Hugs your way, Jean. And have an awesome life, Lucy Lou! We all love you so!

Anonymous said...

Big sniff and double kleenex for me!! You've done a wonderful job and I'm so grateful you shared it with us! Happy New Year Jean, Charlie and Sadie!!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Yes, tears here too but I am happy for Lucy and greatly appreciative of you and your oh so generous heart, that I know is aching. Absolutely beautiful post, Jean. Thank you! You have ended 2010 with the kindest of acts, and I know there will be many more in 2011.

EvenSong said...

It's okay to grieve for the loss of one you love, even if they go on to a wonderful new life. Know that your home and heart were an important stepping stone on Lucy's path. Hugs and horse snuffles.

Anita said...

Add me to the "kleenex crew" !!

Lucky Lucy for all you've done for her and the love you've given her -- including the perfect family for the rest of her life.


Janice Gillett said...

Even thought you aha full house , it must feel incredibly empty.


Caroline said...

oh boy, I was only going to check the Turtle Gardens website to see if they had won and then as there is no news there yet, thought I'd check your blog and now I too am in tears. But happy for you both as this is the happy ending you had wished for her.

Louise said...

I too am starting New Years off with a few Kleenex. I am a Turtle Gardens supporter who found your blog on their website and have been following this story from the beginning. You are amazing to be able to open your heart & home to help so many animals! Thank you for making a difference in this world.

Daphne's Pal said...

Jean, I fell in love with Lucy when I walked her at the Duncan SPCA. I have followed her (and the amazing number of puppies) from the beginning.

You did so much for Lucy and her babies, but you also did much for the cause of homeless animals. Anyone who read even one of your posts was touched and changed, I am sure.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the kleenex crew. Didn't know this was coming so soon.

Wish you all the best Lucy, you were well loved and cared for at your foster home - and you will do well, as will your pups - because of the care and nurturing you received there.

Huge hugs to you Jean, for being brave enough to take on this special dog and her many pups, and love and train her - and then let her go.


Alphamutt said...

Jean, your love for Lucy (and her family), your commitment, passion and patience, all for dogs you knew would ultimately leave you with a broken heart ( the puppies-not so much) is a testament to the true breadth and depth of your dedication to rescue. You are a true hero in my eyes.

Robin said...

I love the happy endings you created with Lucy and her pups. You are a hero, Jean!

Lori said...

One of my favorite quotes:
"It came to me that every time a dog leaves they take a piece of my heart with them...and each new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.If I am lucky enough and live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog and I will be as generous and loving as they are"

Jean, you truly have a "dog heart" Lucy and all those babies are alive and well today thanks to you!
Thank You for sharing Lucy with all of us, please post updates if available.....