Today, our foster Schnauzer/Maltese mix, Cletus, was taken to meet his new parents. Exhausted from spending a late portion of last night and the early morning of today with my husband in E-R, I completely forgot to take a picture of the new, happy family.
My husband was much too sick to go to work today, suffering from gastroenteritis, either food poisoning, or a severe stomach virus, so I asked him if he felt like helping me find the subdivision since my eye is still weak from the eye virus I’m battling. We must be the perfect couple together now, since we are depending on one another in this respect.
When we arrived, my husband was asleep in the car. Entering the home of the excited couple, Cletus hugged me tight. He knew something was up, and I suspect he understood the conversations we shared yesterday while bathing him. “You’re going to a new home, Cleet…Cleet. There you’ll have a loving, caring family that will take care of you, and accept you, just like we have.” His docked tail wagged as he looked in my eyes. No doubt, we were communicating!
Sitting on the couch, I introduced myself, feeling right at home with this loving couple. I placed Cletus down, to run and play with their beautiful and feisty Schnauzer. Cletus ran around for a few minutes, then rushed to me, patting at my legs. He watched their dog running around the room, but not approaching us. I felt comfortable and thankful that God had provided Cletus such a wonderful family with another dog to become his brother and mentor.
I stayed for a few minutes, chatting and sharing the history of Cletus in our home. “Just give him time,” I advised. “He will come to you and accept you with love, all in time.”
The adoptive daddy sat down. “Think he’ll let me hold him?”
I nodded, realizing this would be the perfect time for me to exit. I kissed Sweet Little Cleet, Cleet, on the forehead, and told him I loved him. Fortunately, I did not cry. My tears were shared yesterday while bathing and talking to him. During the five months we shared together, Cletus taught me so much about what fostering an animal is truly about…acceptance…and patience. Most rescue animals have issues they must overcome before they can develop or reveal their true personalities. Cletus was no exception. He arrived with many issues…fears…and he was stubborn and protective of himself – simply because his history was that of a ‘stud’ in a puppy mill. He refused to look me in the eyes, a signal that he did not trust humans. He communicated that he needed time. Mornings started with screams and shouts from grumpy, impatient puppy mill people who only considered the ‘benefits’ of Cletus. The afternoon meal included the food bowl tossed at him. At first, Cletus was hesitant to eat around us. He hovered down, lifted his head to see if we were looking, and if we were, he sniffed the bowl but would not eat. We learned to move away from him after placing his bowl beside him. And when we moved, Cletus ate every bite of food. Cletus taught us that he would not come to us with love until he was ready. We were willing to give him the time. His favorite spot in our home was in the corner of the breakfast room. I placed his doggy bed in that corner, with a blanket.
There were more issues with Cletus. Watching his personality developing, I fell in love with him, so thankful that occasionally he would sneak into the den, to enjoy family time. This morning, Cletus did not look into my eyes — he stared, locking his eyes with mine. I picked him up, kissed him and told him I loved him. His eyes still stared deeply into mine. Our last communication!
Cletus will do well with this family, and I am certain that they will love him as much as we did. Once a lonely, lost and frightened little boy, Cletus grew into an amazing animal. A bit stubborn and shy, I truly believe Cletus will become an amazing dog, happy and thankful to find such a wonderful home. This story is shared to let others who might consider adopting a foster to understand exactly what fostering and adopting is for a mistreated animal. Today was a new day for me, and for Cletus. While watching his new daddy cuddling him, I took my cue to exit.
Cletus was now part of a loving couple who would give him a loving, gentle home…all in time…on his terms. I thanked them for being such wonderful, caring people.
Now, the next happy chapter starts for Sweet Little Cleet Cleet with my love and the love of an amazing couple willing to give him time, with the guidance of another Schnauzer family.
Happy Tails for Cletus…Happy Tales for this foster Mom! As for me, I am happy and honored that our household, our silly and loving troop of pups, were able to show Cletus it was AOK to step into another chapter of his life — only this time, this chapter is a happy one, with Cletus as the star!