Friday, December 30, 2011

Compassion Junkie

Compassion: n. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

I am pleased to announce that Mikey has finally found his forever family. With the light at the end of the tunnel shining brightly, I find myself reflecting on the six months we’ve spent together. There were bad moments, sure (for example, the time he put a hole in my bedroom wall!), but with the end so close, it’s much easier to remember the good. Mikey’s not perfect - not yet, anyway – but we have compiled a long list of “At Least He Doesn’t Do That Anymore.” And once again, I find myself reflecting on that most important of questions:

“Why do you do it?”

After all, raising a puppy isn’t all sunshine and butterflies. Quite often, it’s mud and disemboweled pillows and frustration and did I mention the hole in my bedroom wall? All for what? So someone else can reap the rewards of all that hard work? For the chance to do it all over again with the next dog? Clearly, there is something wrong with my brain.

Yet I’m very definitely happy. Ever since hearing that Mikey will be finishing off the year with a family all his own, I’ve been floating around with a great big grin. Everyone I know gets to hear the story of how after ten (10!) failed applications, Mikey has found the one the one for him. I’m euphoric and not just because he’s finally out of my hair. I’m genuinely thrilled for Mikey and for his new family, and I’m excited to meet my next foster. I’m buzzed. But where does this feeling come from? It’s good, it’s great, but where is the mourning that so many other fosters seem to feel? Why am I not sad that Mikey is leaving?

Photo by Paige Reyes

It’s not because I don’t like Mikey. We’ve had our rough times, sure, but he’s really been fun to work with and raise. He’s a fantastic dog, much as I have complained about him in the past. He reminds me an awful lot of my Good Dog when she was his age, and for several weeks, I considered keeping him. But I’m not going to miss him when he’s gone. I’m too busy being happy for him, pleased with having made what seems to be a perfect good match.

And that’s it, isn't it? It feels good because I’ve done a good thing. I’ve taken a puppy with a tenuous exsistance and made him and two people very happy. In my own small but significant way, I've made the world a better place. Me! Wow! How awesome is that?! I can make a difference! It's like taking a hit of pure joy, as potent for me as any drug. I've made a career - two of them, really - out of seeing who I can help next. And as with any drug, I'm jonesing for my next hit.

I can't wait to see who the Powers That Be send my way next.


  1. He is a stunning dog. You can always feel peace that you helped him become who he is today and who he will become. Plus, he has some cool toe nails! :)

  2. Interesting perspective. Fostering is different for me, since I haven't really had any happy endings (other than keeping the dogs). Hopefully Prof will turn that around for me.

  3. I sorta miss his expeditionary recons over here. One thing about him, he has a great heart for the joy of life.

  4. Congratulations! We are fostering our first dog currently, and approaching the 5 month mark. I can't wait for the celebratory moment!