The puppies came back from the shelter Friday and were met with great joy. Even Samurai was glad that the babies had come back. I was surprised he had missed them. Being a typical male, he was really good at hiding his emotions.
I have raised a lot of young animals to final form yet I am still amazed at how fast the puppies grew. In a matter of five days they went from adorable generic puppies to beautiful miniature versions of the adults they will become. And they are going to be gorgeous. No, I am not saying this just because they are mine.
I look at the scene in my living room. I am on the couch watching TV- correction, Sam’s couch. One kid is on the computer and the other is playing the Xbox 360. Emily (little black girl) is engaging in her two favorite activities: being cute and annoying Sam. Sora (brindle boy) and Scarlett (brindle girl) are fiercely battling it out on the floor.
This Norman Rockwell rendering of mundane life is the picture a dog should be part of. Hanging out and being part of its family’s life. Warm, fat, happy and safe within their pack, interacting with and enjoying the company of their fellows. I am happy for the pups. They started life being discarded like so much trash and now they are here.
However I realize that this is not their life. We are only giving them a start in the life they should have, but they can’t stay. In a couple of weeks they have to go back to the shelter and wait for a forever home. I know they could not be going to a better adoption center than PAWS. They will be fed and loved and cared for. But a shelter is not a home, a kennel is not a living room and a drastically overworked staff with a lot of dogs to take care can’t lounge on the couch and play “Scratch My Belly.”
How long will they have to live in a kennel? How will Emmy, who loves people, make it at night when the lights are out and no one is around? Who will Sora cuddle with and Scarlett tease and taunt? I know the pups’ adopters will be carefully screened and they will go to good families. Will they be able to stay there? Will the people get to know them like we have and learn to love them like we do?
It is like being a parent watching your children getting ready to leave the nest. You worry about everything and hope for the nothing but the very best. The one significant difference is that you stay in contact with your kids and they can come to you if they need help. These kids can’t. When they leave, chances are we will never know what happens to them.
All we can do is give them love, care and the best start in life that we can. Then we send them off with our hopes and prayers. At least we know we gave them the best start and the best chance that we can. We will never know if it was enough.
But we tried. That’s the best any of us in animal rescue can do. This is a business for the softhearted but definitely not one for the weak hearted.