In the last two months, I’ve fallen in love hundreds of times and had my heart broken just once (with just one false alarm). This time it wasn’t with a boy (Hartley has this covered), but with a 100lb+ dog named Sarra, a sweet rescue with a sad past; the definition of a BFG.
For context, I’ve always wanted to take care of a dog. Pleas for a canine companion fell on deaf ears as a kid growing up in a household ruled by a woman who was decidedly against anything that “pooped that wasn’t a person.” Despite brief rendezvous’ with an unknowingly pregnant rabbit and her six babies, two birds that my mum claimed ‘flew away’ from a locked cage (likely story, mom), and my dad’s mid-life crisis that culminated in 7+ fish tanks full of aquatic life in our abandoned granny flat; my childhood was dog-less, and I entered adulthood not knowing what it was like to be a ‘dog person’, and I struggled with the concept of being responsible for another life.
I dismissed the possibility of having a dog while working in New York, until my boyfriend brought up the idea of fostering – an idea that we flirted with on and off for a few months, neither of us really taking the final step, thinking it wasn’t possible. I started volunteering with a rescue company, and one day I just the bit the bullet and applied to be a foster parent. A week later, Hartley and I were walking around the Williamsburg Flea at Best Friends Animal Society‘s adoption event, falling in love with every pair of eyes that gazed up at us; me, hopelessly melting into a giant puddle. They asked us if we had seen Sarra, a huge 100lb sweetheart at the very back, away from the crowd, in a cage bigger than all the others.
She was really the only one who didn’t really have a home to go to, and after spending a few minutes with her, the leash heavy in my hand, we took her home. In hindsight, it’s funny to me the way I handled her those first two weeks – this giant dog who could have crushed me if she wanted to without blinking an eye. I was so sensitive about anything she did – if she bumped into a wall I would gasp, I would hold her leash so gingerly, not wanting to put any pressure on her collar. I had never really had or handled a dog properly before, and here I was, walking this big lumbering giant of a dog down the street, not really knowing what I was doing. We also didn’t intend to take home such a big dog – we had agreed upon a 50lb limit, and came home with double that. To put it into perspective, when I get on all fours, I’m the same size as her. It definitely made me feel a little safer about walking around at Bushwick at night.
The last two months have been so, so incredible, and also such a learning curve. My schedule completely changed and there have been a few late nights waiting for her to be taken to a vet after she decided to eat random fabrics (anxious dog is anxious). We have given her away on adoption event days, not knowing if she would come back. This may seem melodramatic and a lot to be written about a dog that I had for two months, but she’s the first I’ve ever had, and the memory of her sprinting down hallways, resting her giant head on my lap and the crazy body wiggle she does when I walk through the door after work will always stay with me.
After a month, she was totally comfortable with us – jumping onto our bed, playing with every single dog she saw (she didn’t understand that she was 100lb, and that playing with 9lb dog is a likely recipe for disaster), sleeping on the couch despite our multiple attempts to build a pillow fence to keep her out. She charmed the pants off everyone she met, and she is the kindest, calmest and sweetest dog I’ve met. My housemates have joked that she’s better named Daisy the Cow, and her time with us even culminated in a feature on the radio, a sad little Good Morning America segment (she looked so depressed on national TV) and a feature on News 12 Brooklyn.
She was adopted this weekend. I came home after camping all weekend to a pile of her fur that she had shed on the floor. I sat down in it and proceeded to cry my eyes out, flipping through old photos of her like a real break up. She was adopted by an awesome Maryland family with a big backyard and kids, and I’m so, so happy for her – but also devastated that I won’t get to see her grow old. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to foster again – if anything, it’s renewed my interest in rescue dogs and in giving another sweet dog a home, but I’m going to take an emotional hiatus in the meantime.