As some of you know, we foster Australian Shepherds.  We’ve been doing it for almost a year now and it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  People say how can you give them up?  I could never do it. I thought the same thing.

Our current foster arrived here in January.  We named her Ginger.

She was a sad, stressed, super shy, worm infested, sun bleached dog. For the first week she laid around, only getting up to eat and potty.  At the time, she was also really sick.  We didn’t know that right away but once we realized it we took her to the vet where they took great care of her and gave her the medicine she needed to get better.

She was sad, sick and scared. A shell of a dog really.  If you looked at her for more than 3 seconds, she would drop and roll over. It was heartbreaking.

When I took her home that day from the vet, I made her a promise.

I laid with her one our bed, and held her paw.

I promised her that we would love her, and make sure she was healthy and happy.

I promised to always give her a big soft bed to lay in, fresh water and food every single day.

I promised her that we would pet her head gently, scratch her belly anytime she wanted and hold her paw when she was scared.

I promised her that life as she knew it was over, for now and always she was safe, never to have to worry or be in pain again.  We would take care of her no matter what.

Days turned into weeks and when Ginger was better there wasn’t much interest in this now beautiful red head.  Her coat has turned into a luscious deep red, her eyes are bright and grateful.

She is a beauty.

But that’s just icing on the cake.  Her real beauty is her heart.

She affectionate and kind.  She is gentle and sweet. She loves us. We couldn’t love her more.

In April she was adopted; off to a forever home where she would have other big dogs to play with.  It was bittersweet but I thought it was going to be so awesome for her.  I had such high hopes.  This was the right choice, I told myself.

Sadly two weeks later they returned her because she was herding the little kids…ya know, things that herding dogs do.

I was heartbroken for her. So sad for her.

I felt like she had been rejected and not given a chance to show her true self.  The self that Sean and I both loved so dearly.

She’s not perfect. I don’t know very many dogs who are.

She has her quirks…like barking to get her dinner and doing the zoomies in the morning when she gets out of her crate and always miraculously landing on one of my toes.  The rest of the time, she’s pretty damn awesome.  So awesome she lets me wrap her up in a rainbow tutu without a peep.

This Saturday another family is coming to meet our girl.  They were interested in her before and when they found out she was adopted they were really disappointed.

Is this the right family for our princess?

Will they love her the way we do?

To be honest, I’m torn.  Not because they aren’t a great family. But because I was so wrong last time.  I had given her to a family that was perfect for her and yet she came back to us.  Am I doing the same thing again?  Can she handle it?  Can I?

We just have to take a leap of faith.

In the meantime, I have three more days to get in as much love and hugs as possible.

Of course Ginger has no idea what’s to come. Dogs live in the moment.  She’ll go with the flow and be okay.

She had no idea that when I picked her up this morning and cradled her in my arms, squeezing her extra hard, that I was memorizing in my brain and my heart the feel of her in my arms, the sweet smell of her head (like lilacs for some odd reason), the beating of her heart against mine…every little detail down to the 6 speckled marks on her front left leg.

For now, as much as it saddens me, Ginger has the chance to live with a great family, that is over the moon about meeting her.  She’ll have a couple of acres to romp around in, and a great big friendly german shepherd for a brother.  There will be fishing and hiking and COWS for her to herd.

COWS!

She’ll also have some teenagers to follow around and a family that understands that deep inside this beautiful girl, there is a herder that wants to run around and chase squirrels and birds and cows!

I’m sad…but selfishly so, for me.

I will miss her nose kisses (she doesn’t lick, she just pushes her nose against you).

I will miss her big dog barks when it’s dinner time.

I will miss her big paws up around my shoulders giving me a hug.

I will miss my bruised up toes from her digging a paw into one in excitement.

I will miss my wanna-be-lap dog.

I will miss her soulful amber eyes that tell a beautiful story of strength, survival, trust and love.

I will miss so much about her…and at the same time be so thankful for the time we had together.

Everything works out the way it should and even though letting her go hurts, it’s a pain I’d do 100 times over, if it meant she would get to live.