“Do good, and disappear” is an old nursing proverb. Most nurses work with patients in crisis, and if all goes well, our patients are healed and move on with their lives, never needing our support again. It seems to me that “do good, and disappear” also applies to animal rescue.
Wash moves on to his forever home today. I have done everything I can to give him not a second chance, but the first chance he was born without. He’s healthy now, neutered, well socialized, and firmly started on his basic manners and training. I have chosen for him the home I feel is best suited for him, and it was a difficult decision.
I always feel anxious in the week surrounding The Big Day. Did I remember to tell his new family how much he likes to shred paper, and that if he doesn’t have any paper, he’ll steal the toilet paper roll out of the bathroom to destroy? Do they know that if they can’t find a shoe, to look for it behind the couch because that’s his favorite hiding spot? Will they remember to give him his last dose of dewormer next week? Will they have the patience to stick with him when he behaves like an ass, the desire to continue with his socialization and training, the love to cradle him in their arms years from now when he is ready to breath his last?
I think so, but I can’t see the future.
People often ask me how I can stand letting my foster dogs go. I hope they understand that for foster families such as mine, it is never, ever a matter of not loving our charges enough. We fosters simply know that sometimes the kindest thing we can do for a dog is to let them go. I know that Wash’s new family will be able to provide more attention than I can spare, more training than I have the motivation for, more time than I can squeeze out of my day, more money and resources and love than I have at my disposal. Still, to foster is to cut out a piece of your heart, hand it to strangers, and beg them to be gentle with it.
Wash will always be welcome in my home. I know there is a chance that he will be in need of a home again, and not necessarily by anyone’s fault. People lose their jobs, die, run into behavioral issues they can’t handle, and in other ways fall victim to life’s unpredictable nature. I have been Wash’s launch pad, and if need be, I will be his landing pad again.
If all goes according to plan, though, my part in Wash’s life is soon coming to an end. Updates, especially pictures, are water in the desert to foster families, and I hope that I might be allowed to see Wash turn into the dashing gentleman I know he will be. People usually pass along updates while their dog is new, but often forget as the newness slips away and they settle into the routine of life with their new dog. I hope that Wash’s family remembers me fondly in the future, if they think of me at all. I have helped Wash in his time of need, and I hope to now fade into a dream, never required to provide healing or heart to Wash again. In short, I have done good and now hope to disappear.