The other change I have made is to resign (effective December 31st) from the board of directors for the Boxer Rescue for which I have volunteered for the past 15 years. That's a third of my life, so it's a long time when you think about it. I am hoping to stay on as a volunteer, limiting my involvement to fostering and working on the website (however, I am planning to train other volunteers on how to edit the website in case I get hit by a bus or something). The organization means a lot to me, so I'd like to remain involved in some way.
One minute, I feel like a weight has been lifted. The next minute, I feel a terrible sense of loss. Sometimes I feel like I might just sit down and have a good cry. Dog Rescue is my passion (and probably always will be), but I know it's time to step aside and let another (younger, more energetic, less crabby) volunteer take my place. I think I probably have the organizational skills to serve on the board but what I don't have is a thick enough skin. Ultimately, I think I just wasn't cut out for it. My dog skills are probably fine, but my people skills are . . . less fine. All of the volunteers are great and everyone has good intentions - make no mistake about that. I am sure that conflicts are to be expected (and are common in all rescues). It's just time for change.
I mentioned my resignation on Facebook the other day and was a bit taken aback by all the nice comments I received. I was also a little embarrassed, I must say. I truly do not want any recognition or accolades for the work I've done. I'm just one of many. I do hope that when I'm dead, people will remember me in a good way. I'd like to be remembered for helping lots of dogs. I sure don't think I'll be remembered for my stellar parenting skills. Ha!
I still remember many of my early foster dogs. My very first foster dog was named Daphne. She was
|Me and Caesar.|
|Elsie was so traumatized that she would only eat Easy Cheese.|
I also made some dumb mistakes over the years. I was bitten a couple of times. Dog bites are no fun, let me tell ya. (Just in case you actually thought they were fun, I felt like I should mention it.) I will never forget Arlo (AKA Arlo de Barlo). He was mostly a jerk (particularly with other dogs) but he liked me. He was goofy and had a good sense of humor. Here's an example of one of his quirks, though. If he could see his empty food bowl and another dog at the same time, he would attack that dog. I wasn't sure if he was adoptable, so I had him evaluated by a behaviorist. She deemed him a "yellow light" adoption. That's the tricky thing about rescue - what do do about the borderline dogs. You can't just go around euthanizing dogs because they've got some flaws. When my husband and I started the long legal process for adopting an infant, I knew Arlo needed to be moved to a new foster home. We had to deal with home inspections and social workers and all that jazz. We found a volunteer who could take him. I warned her not to take him to pet supply stores and stuff like that. However, because Arlo was such a nice dog when it was just him and one other human, she decided that I must have been mistaken with my warnings. She took him to a pet supply store. A little girl ran up to Arlo and hugged him around the neck. He bit her. (Side note to parents: please don't allow your children to hug unfamiliar dogs). Anyway, to make a long story short, I had to have Arlo euthanized. On my birthday, no less. The parents of the little girl got tons of money from the rescue's insurance company. I still don't know what I could have done differently, but I definitely felt changed by that whole experience.
Then there were the ones that took forever to place. I had Kaiser for three years before he found his forever home. Fritz (AKA Fritty Cent) was with me for a year. There were some other long-timers, too. My friend Candi always encourages me never to lose hope that there is a home out there for every adoptable dog.
|Evan, the distinguished deaf dude|
So, what will I do with my extra free time? I am already pretty involved with my church but I may take on extra stuff if needed. I may foster for other organizations. I told my friend Anita that I'd foster a German Shepherd for her sometime. So, who knows! My daughter wants to get more involved in a local reptile club, so I may sign us up for that (I'm not sure if she is old enough to volunteer without me being with her). I also want to spend as much time as I can with my Giddy Giddy Gum Drops. He is not doing well and I fear his days are numbered.
Anyway, I don't know what the future holds but I can't wait to find out. (I'm guessing there will usually be a dog in it, though.)
|Giddy and Chloe|
|Lucy and two foster dogs|