The following is an account of a foster mom meeting her foster dog, Decyon for the first time. The story is told through the eyes of the foster mom.—————————————–
I have always been fiercely patriotic and was investigating a few organizations that ask people to adopt soldiers and/or platoons and send supplies. Off on one of the side bars, I saw a link about fostering a soldier’s pet. Following the leads, I applied immediately. Would bringing yet another animal into my home create some chaos? Yes. Would it take dedication and possibly affect my comings and goings? Of course. Would my family also have to help out? Absolutely. Would it mean taking on the responsibility of someone else’s family member? Without doubt. Did I hesitate? Not for a moment.
I put in my application and waited like a 5 year-old on Christmas Eve. I finally got the email asking for a foster home with Deycon’s information in it. I looked at his pictures, read about him and fired off an email about wanting him to come live with me.
His parents are both dedicated military soldiers. They were relocating across the country to a base on the Canadian border and already had a pet in the program. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find that the big puppy’s mom was interested in him coming to live with me!
I have a grumpy old man living with me… a 9 year-old rescued Rottie/Shepherd mix named Bear. When he first came to live with me, there was so little known about him since he was a foundling. We found he was good with a new puppy one of my children brought to visit so I figured someone his own size would be fine.
Deycon is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and he is the baby of his family. His mom and I corresponded for a few weeks about him, their travels to their new assignment and how Deycon was faring. We exchanged emails and pictures and videos. The original plan was for Deycon to come to my home when they deployed in October of 2010. However, his mom asked if it would be possible for me to take him in the late summer while they went on vacation before leaving. It was a great idea!
I drove up to meet them and Deycon for the first time. What a love!! He jumped up and greeted me with those big eyes and that smile. We talked for a bit and found out that his dad and I share some medical background and we all felt pretty comfortable.
I have to say that driving a 4 hours with a new dog in the car was an adventure, but Deycon took it like a champ. He stretched out on the back seat…. the whole back seat and slept. Every now and then I would feel a huge head on my shoulder and we made a few stops on the way.
When we finally got home, I let him and Bear sniff each other through the screen door and then finally got them together. Deycon was busily investigating and sniffing around and cleared my coffee table with that huge tail of his. He jumped in surprise and darted away, starting a chain reaction of bumps, falls and spills. He was hilarious and Bear just stared at him.
The only trouble spot we hit was a challenge over an old plastic bowl that Bear plays with. Deycon was pushing it across the kitchen floor and Bear kind of growled and then just looked at me as if to say, “He has my toy!”
For the first few days, they ignored each other but gradually started to live easily around the other.
My grandson, now 3 was living with me again and he fell in love with Deycon. The big guy is so expressive and protective. At one point DJ, my grandson decided he was going to sleep with Deycon and often did. There was a beautiful moment that I did capture in a picture: DJ was over tired and crying as he lay on the blanket near the dog beds. Deycon walked over to him, lay down near him and placed a protective paw on DJ’s shoulder. He stayed that way until the baby stopped crying and fell asleep. He then rolled up next to my little man and laid there with him until he woke up.
Those first two weeks passed way too quickly and Deycon went home for a while. DJ was pretty upset, but made me promise that Deycon would be coming back. Apparently, somewhere during the visit, Deycon whispered in DJ’s ear that he wants to live with me now and not go away.
– Written by Eileen, current Foster Mom in New York.