Trop de chiens

That's Chloe on the left and Tula on the right.

I had a lot of dogs at my house this weekend. On Friday, a dog was returned to the rescue. Tula's original foster family was out of town for the weekend, so I agreed to take Tula until they returned. The adoptive family brought Tula to my home on Friday evening.

It goes without saying that dealing with a surrendering owner can be challenging. This particular family had had Tula for 12 days. They returned her to the rescue because they decided that they are "too busy" for a dog. Now, I don't mean to imply that I've cornered the market on "busy" but it was hard not to wince as this family stood in my living room explaining how "busy" and "active" they are. I work full-time and devote 12+ hours a week to rescue. I have a husband, a three-year-old child, two dogs, a foster dog, a cat, and a fish. I do at least six loads of laundry every week. I pick up the poop from the backyard. I prepare most of the meals. I bathe and dress my child (and just keep her alive in general) each day. I won't bore you with all the tasks with which I fill my days, but suffice it to say that I know a little about "busy."

The family that returned Tula has two children, a boy and a girl. The girl cried when she said good-bye to Tula. They had purchased lots of accessories (toys, bed, treats, etc.) for the dog, and brought those along as well. I suspect that they liked the IDEA of Tula, but not so much the day-to-day walks/food/water part of the job. As they stood in my living room on Friday evening, I was cordial but probably not what you'd call gracious. I've been through these situations before and generally I think it's best to keep the process short and sweet, lest I say something regrettable. People adopt and return dogs - it's a fact of life when you work in rescue. But here's the part that upsets me: when a family with children returns or surrenders a dog, I can't help but think about the lesson that the parents have taught their children. If something inconveniences you, get rid of it. Don't bother honoring your commitments.

All I can hope is that they will make a more careful decision if they ever decide to add another living being to their family. They seemed like nice people and . . . I suppose they just made a mistake.

As luck would have it, Tula got along great with the other dogs here. In fact, she and Chloe wrestled so much that Chloe's surgery incision suffered for it. I have to cart her to the vet tomorrow morning to have her incision re-stitched. It is really my fault - I should've worked harder at keeping the dogs separated. It doesn't help that Gideon had been licking the incision obsessively.

Before A was born, I usually had two foster dogs at any given time. However, since that time I cut back to one foster dog. It's funny how our home seemed plenty large until we added a baby to it. Now it just keeps getting smaller and smaller. So, a fourth dog was fine for one weekend, but not something I can do long-term.

In other news, it is HOT. It is in the 90s again today. Yesterday after church, I took the kid to see WALL-E at a second-run theater in town (because I am way too prissy to be outside in this kind of weather). We had seen WALL-E before, but I had free tickets that had been in my wallet forever. A does pretty well at movie theaters, though her behavior is still iffy once the popcorn runs out. She kept getting up and wandering around the theater. I noticed that one of the back rows of the theater was occupied by some developmentally disabled kids and their adult chaperones. I found it interesting that THOSE kids managed to stay in their seats quietly, while mine could not (or would not).


Mary said…
Not again.... I mean a returned dog that is, you could have taken every word you wrote about that right out of my mouth but I'll give you the credit.;) Geez, how can't people realize that a dog REALLY does take some time? Who were they expecting to feed and walk it, the dog fairy?? Honestly sometimes I think it's just better for the dog in the long run when these people return them (not that I agree with the actual return and reasons for it) but if they aren't willing to put the time into the dog the dog will be better off elsewhere. It's just hard to see the dog tossed around in the first place, for some that is very rough on them. I hate the lack of commitment many people have towards animals in general, so sad that some people give them such little worth. Well, once again thanks for letting me vent on your blog but one thing I will say is your A is lucky to have so many dogs around!! How awesome for her!

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