There are a great many dogs in this house. It would be easy to conclude there are too many dogs, outnumbering the humans, as they do, by a 3:1 ratio. I can excuse myself from accountability for two of them. They belong to my sister, who is currently living with us. Besides, given their combined weight of around twenty pounds, they hardly count in the scheme of things.
Think of comparing one of them to Marco, for instance, who outweighs them by an easy one hundred pounds.
And Marco is not the only big dog we have to step over and walk around in the course of the day. There is Sophie, Marco’s litter-sister, and Giada, the “baby”. These three maremmas are the guardians of our clan. I do not go anywhere without these mystically wondrous creatures at my side or shadowing behind me. Anywhere. Including to bed at night, which can make things a bit crowded if someone is not willing to relent and sleep on the floor; someone not meaning me.
Three maremmas, three wheaten terriers, that’s where we are at right now. Monroe and Maizey are the younger two, who can run and chase with a frency the whole day long only to collapse at night, feet in the air.
Gracie is a wheaten, too, but she is hobbling toward her sixteenth birthday on this planet Earth and spends most of her time sleeping in various choice positions on the floor. We know them by heart. We have to, because most of them are in a line between the bed and the bathroom and neither of us wants to step on Gracie in the dark. We would definitely regret that. She would make sure of that.
Maremmas are large and furry and blow their coats at least once a year (do the math on that), but wheatens have to be groomed. I do that at home and it’s a lot of work, plus, my broken hand this summer meant haircuts didn’t happened as usual. Those three wheatens looked like wild, orphan ewoks until I was able to clip them down to a recognizable shape.
That’s not all, of course, because there is Muppet…or as we usually say in our house “MUPPET!” It always comes out high and loud with an exclamation point at the end of it. She just does that to us. I’ve written about Muppet’s story, how desperately neglected she was and how awesomely energetic and joyful she is now. When she runs and dances around you at the slightest grace of attention given, you can’t help but respond enthusiastically.
All of this is to give you just a glimpse of the doggy-based chaos we call life at home. Note, that I have not even included in this telling any of the creatures who live in the barn. I’m narrowing it to dogs because of the way we do dogs which is to say we share living space with them. All of our living space is their living space. All of them. Everywhere.
So, what would you reasonably expect to happen if you were us and you are full-up to your eyeballs crazy with dogs of your own and you get a call to foster a dog being saved from euthanasia, a dog with medical issues?
You say yes.
Here is Gordy’s wisdom on that. The best time to foster a dog is when you are saturated with what you have. Overwhelmedness will keep you from keeping said foster. Clever. Except for one thing. You as the humans aren’t the only ones able to have an opinion on the matter.
Enter Gigi — all rag-a-muffin, anorexic, infected, and generally quite woeful. We helped her get the medical care she needed, we let her find her place in the pack, and to choose her own spaces in the house. Gigi rewarded us with a sense of devotion I am not worthy of. I’m not, but I’m lying anyway. Gigi’s sense of devotion is not for me, but reserved for Gordy and Gordy alone. Her day is spent calculating ways to worm a minute more of “be-with” time in with him. She is willing to pace behind him, back and forth, back and forth, while he mows the lawn or rides the pastures and she chirps in happy delight when he opens the truck door, summoning her to co-pilot status for a trip to the dump. I know where Gordy is by where Gigi is. Today I walked into the kitchen to find her sitting politely in front of the open pantry door, only to peek around to find Gordy standing out of sight behind it. There are no secret hiding places for Gordy now that Gigi is here.
And that is the dilemma — Gigi is here and Gigi is a foster and we have too many dogs. Hell, we HAD too many dogs and Gigi is one more. But, as I said, we are not the only ones with opinions to consider and I’m pretty sure Gigi does not know how to count, nor does she care. She has one opinion and that is that her new life began when she “owned” Gordy and not a thing is going to change that. And I would rather walk barefoot across broken glass than break the spirit of such a gentle, sweet-hearted soul. Yes, I meant both Gordy and Gigi on that one.
So, when I am done saying it here, I will say it to the Florida Wheaten Rescue: we are failing another one. Gigi is where she belongs. Please be my friend here. Don’t raise your eyebrows or roll your eyes at our clear craziness. Say, how wonderful. Even say, how you knew it! Just don’t ask us to do more fosters. We are seriously, seriously full-up. (wink)