Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A tale of two adoptees

Remi's Love Note
Foster and new adoptees have their own timeline for assimilation into a family.  I currently have two failed fosters: Macy and Remi.  Macy came to me from unknown origins in May 2012, found in a locked shed in an abandoned house. The vet estimated her to be about three years old. From my earliest interactions with her, I suspected she was from a backyard breeder.  She was lactating, but there were no puppies with her.  She was easy to crate from Day One.  She was extremely gentle but very skittish.  She carried an affect of submissiveness and fear.  She won my heart immediately. 

Remi came into foster with me in November from an owner surrender in Kansas City .  She is 15.  I knew before I met her that I would keep her.  I knew how difficult it was for the owners to surrender her; I knew how hard it would be for her to assimilate into a new home at her advanced age.  There was no question that her re-homing would only occur the one time.  When she arrived, I discovered she was deaf, and of course, had old age eyes.  She didn’t leave her bed for a week, unless I physically moved her.  To say she was uncertain would be an understatement. 

Two vastly different foster intakes, but the process is the same.  Unconditional love. Structure. Patience. Time.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes until the shell breaks and their true personalities come through.  I’ve got the time.

After almost two years, I am not sure Macy is fully assimilated.  She’s happy and secure 99 percent of the time, but she still carries a sadness that wafts over her. I can see it, almost as if a cloud envelopes her. I think the busyness of my household contributes to these crises of confidence: there’s Iggy, my dominant male B, and the revolving door of granddogs for Sunday lunch and the occasional foster, plus visits from my four children, spouses and significant others, and my two grandsons. Was I selfish in adopting her rather than placing her as an only dog in another loving home?  I hope not.  I hope that I have given her the security she deserves.  I know she’s showered with love. I long for the day when that sadness is finally gone.  I will wait. I've got the time.

Remi is coming along much faster.  She came from a very loving home.  She has only known a wonderful life, and while she cannot hear my voice, my actions are proving to her that she is safe, secure and loved in my home, too.  It took about two weeks for Remi to settle in.  She follows me everywhere now.  She sleeps under my right shoulder where my sweet Roxy used to sleep.  She has started to smile when I rub her ears. But the tell…how I know she knows she’s home? Every day she leaves me a love note: a tiny tear in the toilet paper in my bathroom.  She’s old enough and smart enough to know she’d be in trouble destroying the whole roll, so she just takes a small nip out of it.  Every day.  I believe it’s her way of telling me she knows she is home.

I am truly blessed.  BRAT has allowed three fabulous basenjis to brighten and fulfill my life:  Roxy (RIP 2012), Macy and Remi. I know it is my responsibility to ensure they are loved for all time.  I’ve got the time.


  1. So sweet, Janet. I'm certain that Macy's sadness will someday disappear completely. Love Remi's love note! I'm so glad you each found each other!

  2. Linda S. KrajewskiMarch 4, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Lovely story. I too have been blessed by three failed fosters from BRAT. It is so gratifying to watch them reveal their true spirits over time.