I'm often asked, Why don't you keep Popeye? Or Iris? Or Sophie or Bandit or the dozens of other dogs I've fostered? Don't you fall in love with them? Isn't it hard to let them go? Obviously yes and yes. It would be the easier thing to do to just give up the hope of finding whoever my foster dog happens to be another home. There wouldn't be that little heartbreak that comes hand-in-hand with giving them over to someone else. And particularly with the fearful and other special needs dogs, there wouldn't be the stress, worry, and anxiety of wondering how they will cope in a new environment, if their new family will be sensitive enough to their needs, if anything bad will happen to them. So much easier to just keep them with me, secure in the knowledge that they will be safe and secure and have no need to be frightened again.
But I don't keep them because there are other Irises and Sophies and Bandits out there who are still waiting for their chance. I have had Popeye for a year now, and I don't know if he will ever be adopted. I try not to dwell on it because beyond caring for him the best I can, whether someone appropriate steps forward to adopt him or not is out of my hands. Keeping him would not be a hardship, in many ways it would be like a sigh of relief. Except for one thing. Knowing that I could not continue to foster new dogs. I think that fact alone breaks my heart more than anything else.
I know not every dog can be saved. I know there is only so much I or anyone else can do. But that fact is harder to accept when you are presented with a particular dog's story, when there is a face and an identity amongst the millions of nameless, faceless homeless dogs out there. This is Miko's story, which I learned about today.
Miko was found back in April. Just another stray dog in Taiwan subjected to the cruelties of humans. She was found with a rubberband tied tightly around her neck. So tight in fact that it not only cut deep into her skin but also caused her head to swell up like a balloon. This was not the first time I had heard of this kind of torture and I know it won't be the last.
This picture is particularly graphic so you have to click on it if you want to enlarge.
Miko has been since nursed to health (and spayed), but she is, understandably, incredibly fearful of people. She's about 9 months old, 22 lbs right now. Her time is running out at the hospital and if somebody doesn't take her soon, they will be forced to return her to the streets, where she will endure who knows what other horrors in her life.
Fearful dogs like Miko are the kind that have the most special place in my heart. I know her chances are slim, but if anyone is interested in taking her in to foster or adopt (and you would have to be somewhat knowledgable about undersocialized dogs), let me know.