It was in the early fall that I finally went to get Deycon for his long stay with us. It’s a 4 hour drive so I left early, but couldn’t spend much time before getting back on the road. His mom and dad were both home and they loaded his equipment, food and bed into the car. Deycon was happy to see me and did his dance around the house but when it was time to leave, Mom got a bit of “that look” on her face. The difference now was that Deycon would be coming home and this was not a final goodbye.
Deycon was great on the long drive and moved right back in. He and Bear spent a few minutes getting reacquainted and we settled in. Having Deycon here with us has given Bear new vitality. I didn’t know the old man liked to play or wrestle. The two foster brothers spend a lot of time doing that even though Bear’s back hips don’t work well. Deycon does most of the running and Bear waits for him to get close before pouncing. There is also what I call, the toy of the day…. like two human children they only want the toy the other one has.
I have a few adult sons living we me and they often help out with Deycon and Bear. Since I work the 3 to 11 shift, they spend some time playing with and caring for the two pups. Although I more or less volunteered them to help out, they do understand why.
A FOSTER SISTER
A few weeks after Deycon moved in, I received another email from the state management in NY. This time the need was for a short term home for another pup. I thought about it for a while and then responded that we would love for Gia to come here for a few months.
I was surprised and really thrilled that her mom and dad accepted my application. They too had just moved to the same base as Deycon’s mom and dad and came from the same base as well. Gia’s dad was going to deploy and they needed a place for her to stay while waiting for base housing to open.
So in October, I made the trek back to Deycon’s old neighborhood and met Gia, a lab mix who was another bundle of energy. Her mom was pretty upset about her leaving, but realized it was only for a little while. They had estimated perhaps 5 to 6 months to wait for housing.
Gia moved in and took right over. She and my boys hit it off immediately. They had a game that went on for hours, literally. Gia would jump up on my bed and run from side to side. Deycon spent his time running around the bed trying to catch her before she ran to the other side. Bear usually just stood barking and growling and pouncing when he could.
Those days were filled with flying fur, and paws and barking of all kinds. They decapitated quite a few stuffed toys playing tug of war and I often found that fluff all over the house. I did learn a valuable lesson though: don’t buy toy animals that are filled with those little beads. One good wag of that giant head and there were tiny plastic orbs all over the place. I vacuumed them up for days!!
I kept in regular email contact with Gia’s mom as well as Deycon’s. They both desperately missed their fur babies. Gia was an absolute love while she was here and one of my sons began calling her his girl. She often snuck up the stairs and knocked at his door. She would wait for him to come home and pounce and run away and back and away and back. She was really the princess while she was here.
I was surprisingly disappointed the morning I got the email saying that Gia could go home. It had been only 2 months, but their housing situation was straightened out and it was time to leave. Her mom and I agreed to meet at a halfway point to reunite. Little Gia almost wagged her tail off when she saw mom. Mom knelt down and hugged the puppy and cried a little bit.
It was a bittersweet moment for both of us. While I knew that Gia would eventually reunite with her family, she had become part of my family too. I know her mom was glad to see her, but it meant that it was that much closer to Dad’s deployment date. This however is the moment that foster care is all about. Mom and Dad don’t have to lose their little girl or boy. They won’t have to give up a member of their family when they are already giving up so much.
Military families are rarely “from” the area they are stationed in. That means leaving their human families far behind and often. They are constantly transferred from base to base and move away all too frequently. They are putting their lives on the line and their families make huge sacrifices watching them go. Is it so much to ask that their “children” are cared for and not put in shelters, given away to other families or on occasion, put down because there are no homes to take them?
Deycon and Bear looked for Gia for a few days after she left, but they adjusted. Gia is happily back where she belongs, with her family.– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.