Yesterday snuck up on me out of nowhere. Four months after Jasper came into my life, his Gotcha Day was here. He was officially adopted a few weeks ago, but yesterday was the day he made the journey to his forever home.
I won’t lie and say it was easy. It wasn’t. Especially putting him in the front seat of Ken’s SUV, making sure he was strapped into his brand new harness, gently kissing him on his perfect snout, telling him to “be a good boy” and reminding him how incredibly much I love him. Oh man, do I ever love him. It comes naturally to anyone and everyone who meets him. He is a dream dog, in every sense of the word. Loving him is a breeze. But, choosing to be selfless with him, and help him find his place in this world, as well as in other people’s hearts, was one of the more difficult things I have done in my life. Sure, I could have kept him. I could have hoarded all his golden-hearted goodness in this little house in the country, with two other dogs and no kids, and reveled in all his syrupy sweetness every single day. And it would have been great… for me. But, that wouldn’t have been fair to him. More importantly though, it wouldn’t have been fair to the family I knew in my heart of hearts he was meant for; not to mention so many others who were, and still are, destined to meet him and have their lives touched by him.
Jasper came into my life at a time when I needed something more. I needed to be something more, to do something more. Something bigger, more important, and lasting. Something to occupy my heart, distract my anxious mind, and feed my soul. Something with reason and purpose. And so, when my friend Melissa of peacelovedogs in Houston, TX said she could really use some fosters, I blindly threw caution (and my heart) to the wind, raised my hand, and told her to send Jasper to me. I have been a hard-core advocate of rescuing for years, but have never really been in the position to foster before, and now I could. And what’s the big deal about hanging out with a dog for a couple weeks, teaching them a few manners, tricks, and showing them they are loved beyond measure? After all, those are all things I enjoy doing anyway, it comes naturally to me, and he is so cute he’ll get scooped up right away! Right? As it turns out, I was wrong.
However, every moment I have spent with him, I have thoroughly enjoyed, and will be cherished for as long as I live. You see, as utterly cliché as it may sound, I didn’t rescue him, he rescued me. Jasper was here for a reason, and he wasn’t going to get adopted until that lesson was revealed and the right family found him, neither of which could or would be rushed.
He reaffirmed one of my gifts and purposes here in this lifetime, at a time when it feels like so much else has been stripped away. Fostering him has proved to me that I am stronger and more resilient than I give myself credit for; even when I so often wish I didn’t have to be. He has reminded me that I am capable of doing difficult things, even in the face of adversity and unavoidable impending bittersweet ‘heartbreak’; including loving him so much, that I was willing to be patient enough to find the right home for him, and able to let him go, so that he can fulfill *his* purpose.
I could rattle on for days about him, how amazing he is, and all the ways he has touched my life in four short months. And maybe one day down the road I will, but right now, I feel like his story is more important in how it relates to so many other homeless pets. And how we as humans choose to react and relate to so many like him.
He may have been born a stray, been abandoned on the side of the road, gotten loose and subsequently lost; we may never know. No matter what the previous circumstances were, they left him homeless and in need of rescue. Thanks to rescue organizations like peacelovedogs, transport companies like Rescue Road Trips (who transported him to me), fosters who are willing to open their hearts and their homes, and amazing adopters like Ken, Sam & Drew, his story didn’t end on the streets either. He is now a part of a very loving family. He sleeps in a safe warm bed, next to people who adore him. He has food to fill his belly every day. He will get regular veterinary care. And most importantly, he will live a life overflowing with opportunities and the most exquisite kind of love there is.
Sadly, his story isn’t the last of it’s kind though. There are literally hundreds of thousands of homeless dogs all over this country. So many of them can use our help. I am so proud to be a part of the peacelovedogs family. Because to them, it isn’t just about putting a puppy on a transport and saying “see you later”. They are in it for the long haul. They are there for you, no matter what is going on. And because of that, they attract the most dedicated and loving fosters, and the most loyal, thoughtful, generous, kind, and doting adopters. That is a testament to who they are as an organization, but more so to the kind of people they are themselves. They attract their tribe. Those who are similar in heart, mind, and values, just by living in their purpose and standing strong in their truth every day, fueled by the passion they have for what they do, and who they are saving. Anyone can adopt a dog out to a family, but consciously pairing the right family to the right dog(s) and vice versa, is truly an art.
Fostering is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I have done. It fills up my soul in a way other things just can’t. There’s no other feeling like it.
Christie Rackley Photograpy