My long-time foster dog, Kaiser, was adopted today. I can't lie - it was tough. Many people have either asked why I didn't adopt Kaiser or just assumed he was already my dog. There is a two-dog limit in my city and I already have two dogs, Gideon and Gretchen. Plus, I like to think there is a home out there for every dog. I have had other long-term foster dogs. Fritz (AKA "Fritty Cent") comes to mind. Arlo de Barlo. There have been quite a few. As a foster mom, my goal is to find that forever home for every dog. There is always another waiting to take that dog's place. It's all for the greater good, the cause.
Kaiser was adopted by a youngish guy (I am getting old, so everyone seems young to me) who owns a cross-fit gym and also takes college classes. He seemed to like the pace of an older dog. When he and his roommate came to visit Kaiser at my home, Kaiser appeared to peg the roommate as a potential pushover. He tested him by jumping on him as he was seated. Other than that, the visit seemed to go pretty well. Honestly, I was not sure if the applicant would want to move forward with the adoption or not, though. I warned that while Kaiser has many great qualities, he does have a couple of quirks. He can be squirrely at times with strangers, for example. He gets anxious when his routine is disrupted. Kaiser also loves car rides and naps and walks. He loves roaring fires in the fireplace and playing with toys. He is a great friend to my daughter and has been known to insert himself in the middle of a slumber party. Kaiser's good qualities certainly outweigh the quirks . . . or at least I think so.
I asked the applicant, Earl, to think about Kaiser for a couple days and just to be sure of his decision. A few days later, I was leaving the gym and took a quick peek at my emails on my phone. I saw one that said:
"Thank you for having me over Saturday. I really
enjoyed meeting Kaiser. I have thoroughly thought through the adoption
process and I think that he is a perfect fit for me. I would like to
adopt him and I'm ready to proceed to the next step in the process."
I've got to say that this guy's parents must have raised him right. I will just be honest here. Most applicants are well-intentioned but a few make it clear that they are doing us a big favor just by considering one of our rescue's dogs. It was refreshing to have someone say things like, "Thank you for the opportunity." Kaiser deserves to have a home with someone who will understand him and be patient with him. Eureka!
The kid and I drove Kaiser to his new home this afternoon. It was a two-hour drive. She brought her iPad and then lamented, "I wish cars had internet!" It was killing her not to be able to get online and play Minecraft with her cousins. When we got to his new home, Kaiser seemed anxious but surprised me a little by jumping into a recliner that was occupied by one of Earl's roommates, and planting a kiss on the roommate. The roommates were spending their Sunday afternoon in a semi-dark living room watching an X-Men movie. That seemed to be the extent of their plan for the day. Basically, what I am telling you, is that I think I found my husband's soulmates.
When I put on my coat to leave, I'm sure Kaiser wondered why he had to stay behind. That is always a heart-wrenching moment when you leave a dog in his new home. And no, I didn't cry, though I certainly had a lump in my throat. I'm sure it was hard enough for three college students to have a middle-aged dog lady and a chatty third-grader in their house. I didn't want to subject them to a crying middle-aged dog lady on top of it all. I felt I was leaving Kaiser in good hands. He has a nice new doggie bed, a fenced back yard, and plenty of attention.
Kaiser, buddy, I love you so much. I hope I did right by you. I want you to have what you deserve - a home to call your own. A home where you're not a perpetual guest, like you were at my home. You were always welcome here, but I wanted you to have something more. Tonight, I hope you sleep soundly in your new home, and that sometimes you'll still hear my horrible singing voice in your head. "How come everybody wanna keep it like the kaiser? Give it away, give it away, give it away, give it away now . . . "