An Empty Pillow

Fostering animals can be a heavy lift, and it can certainly be a challenge in unexpected ways. However, I want to highlight the joy and importance of fostering! I am currently fostering three female guinea pigs, and as I navigate their fear and uncertainty, I am reminded of the first dog I ever fostered a few years ago. Below is a post I wrote during my first night after she left. Spoiler alert: she ended up getting adopted by a very sweet couple who love her dearly!

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Tonight I have an Tonight I have an empty pillow. I bought this big pink pillow one day and it has been a comfort to me for many years. In college, I propped it on my bed for late night study sessions. In grad school, I rested it across my lap as I typed up papers. Years later, this pillow was now used as a comfort for a dog I was fostering.

This dog has really bad separation anxiety. Her family unfortunately had to bring her to the shelter and this senior dog was so confused and overwhelmed. She cried for hours and desperately searched for people who would give her attention.

There is something about this dog that I immediately connected to. It is terrifying being in a new environment and not knowing why the ground has been pulled out beneath you. As someone who had separation anxiety as a kid, I felt a bond to this dog in a way I can’t describe. This is the dog I knew in my heart that I had to help. I brought her home for several nights in hopes of easing her mind and offering her some peaceful quiet.

She bonded to me and quickly fell in love with my pink pillow. As she began to feel more safe over a few days, this pillow offered her comfort for her anxious body. To wake up in the morning with a fluffy face laying across this bright pink pillow is something too special for words.

This sweet soul was so gentle and loving. She would take walks but turn around to make sure I was still on the other end of the leash. She waited outside my tub when I showered just to confirm that I wasn’t disappearing behind the curtain. It was exhausting and draining to be followed around and in a constant state of worry, but it was so gratifying to know that this dog was really shining in a home environment.

Tonight I have an empty pillow. This little sweetie is going to a foster home that will care for her long term until she is ready to be adopted. I shed some tears knowing that she must be scared tonight, but I take comfort in knowing she has a great life ahead of her.

If you ever have the chance to foster, I urge you to do so. It’s an eye opening experience and we are always in need of foster homes that will help our animals become ready for adoption. There are so many animals that thrive once they are in a home environment. Even just fostering for a few days provides us with more information about what kind of home would be a good fit for this animal.

Tonight I have an empty pillow, but my heart is so full of gratitude and love. If you are interested in fostering, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you have room in your heart and home for a temporary furry family member, consider helping an animal in their temporary home. You will be comforting and nurturing an animal before you allow them to find their forever home. You may be left with an empty pillow, but I promise you will be forever changed.