Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How We Came to Foster + Adopt Penelope (Our experience with Beagle Paws)

I know it seems like Penelope kind of popped up out of no where. 

One day I was blogging about Cuba, and then Penny popped up months later. 

While I am not quite ready to get into the details around Cuba's passing (honestly, I don't know when I will be), I am ready to talk about how Penelope Scotland Babb Hamlyn came into our lives and took some of the sourest lemons life had to offer and helped us turn them into something resembling lemonade.  

I knew there was a void in my life when we lost Cuba. I knew I was lonely in a way I couldn't remember being and I didn't know exactly what to do. 

Matt is willing to support me in any of my crazy ideas so he watched and listened as I researched breeders, looked at dogs for sale and dog sat within days of losing Cuba.  

Except, I constantly felt like I was looking to replace him. He wasn't even gone and I was looking for something to fill the feeling of him being gone. 

This is where my friend Emma came in. 

She had started volunteering with Beagle Paws earlier in 2017 and had fostered her dog, Freckles and she had also recently lost a lifelong companion. 

Through her constant praise of Beagle Paws and the work they did surrounding homeless and neglected beagles in Newfoundland, I felt something click. 

Filling out the paperwork, I felt empowered again. Cuba had given me a purpose I didn't know I had. It was someone smaller and more helpless than I depending on me. Being a Foster Mom would give me the same feeling of purpose, without feeling like I was replacing my boy.

After sending in my paperwork, I was able to meet with a Foster Coordinator (FC). Since we worked in the same building, we met and had a great chat. They were so willing to listen to what I was looking for, my schedule, living arrangement and experiences with Cuba that I knew instantly I was doing the right thing. 

Next came the home visit with the same FC. It was quick and thorough, which comforted me to know that they really cared about what home they put their dogs into.  

When Penelope (then Tikka) was dropped off, my heart broke into a million pieces. She was possibly the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, but she was so timid and nervous. She walked with her head and tail down and a constant look of mistrust on her face. 

She had many accidents in our house those first few weeks. She would eat her supper so fast she would throw it back up within a matter of minutes. She didn't know how to walk on a leash, and shed hair like it was nobody's business (Sorry Mom). 

I was told she didn't give kisses and was surrendered for being nippy. 

So, Matt and I started getting her ready and loved for her forever home. 

We took her to the dog park with another dog about her size that we knew and trusted around her. 

We bathed her, brushed her regularly and scratched her for hours on end, I am sure. 

We walked her, encouraged her and bought her a harness (to be given to her forever home with her.)

We taught her to give paw, to go into her kennel without making a fuss and wait outside the kitchen when we're making food.

The FC was in constant contact. Answering any questions we had, always concerned about how (Tikka) was doing in her temporary home. 

Until we got the text. Someone else was interested in (Tikka). 

But ... (Tikka) went for walks on a leash now and was starting to sleep on the bed with me. She walked with her tail stuck up like a flag. She looked us in the eye and ran towards us when she was frightened instead of away and into a corner. 

She was ours. 

Matt and I quickly discussed and decided that she was going no where, that we tried our hand at fostering and at this moment she was ours and that was that. 

We thanked the FC and said we would be at Beagle Paws the next day to pay our adoption fee. 

You think you're ready to let them go until you aren't.

Thankfully, Beagle Paws was so understanding and just happy that Penelope-Tikka had found a home. 

We had watched her grow into such a self assured dog with a quirky personality and so much love to give, we would have never been able to part with her after that. 

Beagle Paws gave me the opportunity to find a dog that fit with me. I needed to foster when I applied. Healing Penelope helped me heal my heart as well. 

I don't feel that I replaced Cuba because he is irreplaceable, but I could help another dog that needed me. It was the right situation for me and for Matt and I to take the next step and adopt Penelope together. 

Now I wake up each morning to puppy kisses. 

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