Five months ago, my family and I finally decided (after years of discussion!) to foster a rescue dog.
Within three weeks of the decision being made, and all applications & home checks completed, we collected the lovely Bella. A 15 month old collie/greyhound mix, she had been found in a field in Romania as a 4-month old pup. She had been in the UK with another foster family for about a year before we got her.
The first few weeks were immensely stressful – you can never be entirely prepared for this adjustment! It took a huge amount of effort and a ton of patience to get through those early days.
Bella has ‘stranger anxiety’. And it’s severe. I’m not talking about ‘a bit of barking’ here; I’m talking about unadulterated terror. It was heartbreaking to see her freaking out at the mere sight of a stranger (human or animal) passing the house or on the other side of the street.
Scroll forward a few more weeks (and a bunch of dog-training sessions later) and Bella had made huge improvements – we could see her trust in us (her ‘hoomans’) growing and she was starting to allow herself to be reassured by our reassurances. We couldn’t let up on our efforts however and I have to be frank … it was exhausting.
Fast forward a few more months to today and she’s like a different animal. She still has the ‘stranger anxiety’ but it’s much less fearful and much less ‘robust’! She is happy and settled.
Now I could give you #637 reasons for NOT having a dog, but there are only two reasons for having a dog and they trump all 637 of these … hugs and love! And Bella is all over these – she is the only dog I have ever known to enjoy having her paws massaged! Whatever love and affection is on offer … she’ll take it!
She loves playing chase and finding random socks (from goodness only knows where); she is a cheeky, soppy girl who will be an absolutely awesome dog in her forever home. We only have her as a foster; and we know there will be a big hole in our family when she leaves us (and the house will feel painfully quiet!).
We are still waiting for her to be re-homed and every extra day we have her is a blessing – she is so trusting; so adoring; so vulnerable.
But we started with the end in mind. We knew it would be temporary; we knew it would be challenging; we knew it would be heartwrenching; we knew it would be worth it.
So where is the connection between my ramblings and financial planning … ?!
It’s a big decision
It’s a big step
It’s hard work in the early days
It gets easier
It’s absolutely worth it
And for the dog-lovers among you – here are a couple of my favourite shots of our girl …
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