Hello again Golden family! Your girl is back with a story about her first foster experience! Before I dive into our story let me give you a little backstory first.
My soulmate Golden was Jewels. My husband got her for me for my 21st birthday after a few months of us dating. He knew I always wanted a golden retriever! I brought her home at 7 weeks old and my heart was overflowing with love for her. We had her with us for 10 short years. I’ll talk more about her in a later blog, but she’s my reason for fostering. I whole heartedly believe her spirit lead me to GWB after searching a year for a way to help fill the whole in my heart.
Saturday October 5th while working, I received a text from Sheila about one lucky golden girl that was able to catch a flight with a poodle rescue. There happened to be one available space and there was a golden ready to take her freedom flight. She asked me if I could pick her up that Thursday the 10th at 9:30! Well as fate would have it, my husband was off work that day and could take care of our kids for the few hours I would be gone. I immediately was filled with excitement and anticipation for this day. I told Sheila I would ABSOLUTELY be able to get her and it would be my absolute honor to be the one to bring her home.
Later that evening Sheila sent me photos of this sweet girl, and she asked me what I wanted to name her. Without any hesitation I said Fate. She would be my first golden back in my house since Jewels had to cross the rainbow bridge almost 16 months ago. Of ALL the Goldens that need rescuing and ALL the people who can foster, her and I would cross paths and be together. We would experience firsts together. My first time fostering, my first golden since Jewels, and just my first experience all together. It would be her first freedom flight, her first safe place, her first never ending water bowl, her first consistent healthy meals, her first bed, her first experience of being loved, her first time not feeling scared, and her first true home. How humbled I felt to be the one that would provide her with all of this. So for me THIS.WAS.FATE.
The morning arrives and I have all the excitement in the world! I didn’t even need my alarm clock, I was up and ready to go at 6:15am. I had already packed everything I needed to bring the night before so I hit the road. Now if you know me you would know the Bay Area completely freaks me out! Do you even know how aggressive these drivers are?! Also the traffic is CRAZY! So that being said I was extremely nervous driving into the city as I NEVER HAVE BEFORE. I completely avoid the area. So my beautiful friend Laura offered to ride with me for moral support. Plus she drives to that airport often and could be my navigation!
Have to say I’m quite proud of myself as I made it to the airport in one piece! Thank God. I can’t even describe the nerves I was feeling; yes excited but also nervous as this was my first time! I didn’t want to let anyone down. After figuring out where she would come out inside the airport I patiently waited. After some time I finally see sweet Fate being pushed out on a cart, and let me tell what a sweet moment this was. Being the first person to greet her after her long flight is a moment I’ll cherish and never forget. Poor sweet Fate looked scared and very small. When we got her into my car I opened her crate and gave her some water. Poor girl easily drank an entire water bottle in the water bowl I gave her. After she finished drinking I gave her a stuffed baby dog toy to snuggle with on the drive back home. I talked to her in a calm voice and told her how safe she was and loved almost the entire drive back.
Coming home I was a bit nervous. I could tell she was very skinny and scared for obvious reasons. We have two sister black labs and I was a little worried how they would be and I didn’t want to overwhelm Fate. I came inside and got my husband and left our dogs inside to give Fate some time. My husband Jesse picked her and her kennel up and brought her inside our gate and onto the grass. Opening her kennel was amazing. She stepped out very slowly and cautiously but we both told her she was safe. That day was very windy so there were leaves blowing everywhere. Well let me tell you how cute it was when Fate just perked up and started chasing and playing with the leaves! She then started sniffing around everywhere and as I like to think, telling us thank you. She came up to both of us tail wagging and all. As we saw in Fates first photo she likes to give hugs, well we got hugs from her! She carefully jumps up and literally wraps her front paws around your arms. So sweet!
Now it was time to introduce her to her foster sisters. Jesse got both our labs on leashes and brought them outside. Callie, my one lab was very chill but Sadie my other lab is a talker! Yes and a loud talker at that. She startled Fate a bit but after some time and a watchful eye, everyone seemed to be getting along. Fate was very skinny and didn’t look like she weighed much, so I was worried about her trying to play with my chunky dogs. I also noticed Fate was wanting to hump. This totally surprised me as I was not expecting a female spayed golden to do that. I immediately got very worried at this point if I’m being honest. My labs didn’t like her humping them and I was scared one of my girls would snap at her and a possible fight occur.
By the evening time I became extremely overwhelmed. I had so many emotions I just couldn’t keep it in. I was trying to bathe my 5 year old, bathe my one year old, get dinner going, and watch all three dogs like a hawk. One thing I struggle with internally is being my worst enemy. I tend to imagine the worst case scenario a lot and I can get pretty emotional. At this moment I basically just lost it and the tears just wouldn’t stop pouring out. Did I make the wrong decision? Maybe Jesse was right about me already having a full plate. Here’s the thing tho, for me fostering isn’t something I just wanted to do. It was absolutely something I needed to do.
At this point I start worrying that now this process won’t work for my family, and I’m mourning at the thought that my need to have a rescued golden in my home, may now not be possible. Well let me tell you guys my husband was SO supportive and this is why I love him so much! He knows exactly how to talk to me and knows what I need to hear. I remember him saying a few time “I won’t let you fail at this”! He told me how proud he was of my determination and my perseverance to make this new foster dream a reality. I literally cried for 3 hours you guys! We all know how insanely busy Sheila is and how full her plate is, but she still took the time to send me many texts of reassurance and encouragement that night. Her and my husband definitely got my through my anxiety and by the later evening time Fate and my labs were all calm. My labs were asleep on the couch and I was sitting on the floor with Fate snuggled up on my lap.
It was truly in this moment I realized something. For a year and a half I was worried that I may never feel ready to have a Golden in my life and home again. I was worried I would never have that soulmate connection, and worried that another golden would make me feel as if I was trying to replace Jewels, and I didn’t want that. The black labs we brought home was a quick decision after Jewels passed. I was 28 weeks pregnant with my second child Lucas when Jewels was at the vet getting surgery to have her back leg amputated. Again I’ll touch more on Jewels later but she didn’t make it out of her surgery that day. Was a horrific traumatizing day for me as you can imagine. I was devastated and still to this day have never felt heartbreak like that.
My husband loved labs and in my head I thought “ok it was his turn now”. His genius thinking was to not just get one but two. I quickly realized that this wasn’t a good decision. I have love for all animals but I’m strictly a golden retriever girl at heart. It was hard taking care of my infant, my STRONG-WILLED daughter, and two crazy, high energy puppies. I hate to admit it but I developed some resentment towards callie and Sadie. I was still grieving Jewels, and I realized that with two dogs I would never be able to consider a golden if I became ready. It was extremely difficult dealing with them and the kids alone while my husband worked.
Fast forward a year or so to one of my clients suggesting I find a golden retriever rescue and consider being a foster!It was like a light bulb turned on, how did I not ever think of this? What an amazing idea! How perfect this could be for me! I can have Goldens run through my home part time and this would open the door to meeting MANY golden babies! After much research and one lucky day I found GWB, and Sheila and I completely hit it off! After our phone call I realized being a foster for Sheila was what I was meant to do. GWB felt like home. I fully believe Jewels spirit has been in every decision I’ve made to guide me to where my life is today. We got two labs that would in time be amazing foster sisters, and now I’m able to be apart of rescuing as man Goldens Sheila will allow me. I feel as if each rescue will be honoring Jewels and her life.
In three short days I had Fate she answered that question I had for a year and a half. Bringing another golden retriever would NOT be replacing jewels, in fact it would feel as if a piece of jewels was coming back to me. My heart hasn’t been fully content or complete until Fate laid in my lap that first night. I will remember Fate for the rest of my life and I will always be grateful to her for opening my heart to love again.
Fate was a perfect houseguest. In those three days she stayed glued to me. She enjoyed being outside to play with Callie and Sadie and enjoyed exploring, although she never went far. She new where her bed was and which chair in the family room she could lay in to keep safe from my son in his walker. She never even got on my couch as if she somehow knew that was my dogs “spot” and she didn’t want to overstep. She took her prescribed medication from the vet with ease every morning and night, and she very much enjoyed her food.
Sheila found Fate the most perfect home. As well as she did in my home, I knew that the best place for her would be a quiet home where she would be the center of attention. Debbie and her home was just that. What an absolute pleasure it was to talk with her and get to know her over the phone and finally meet her this past Monday morning. She lives alone in a wonderful place near the Bay Area. She walks with friends and their dogs every single day for an hour, and she visits her grandson once a week in Napa! Truly a match made in heaven between Fate and Debbie. When Debbie came to pick Fate up it was evident that it was love at first sight.
I expected to be more emotional but seeing their interaction and knowing the wonderful life Debbie was about to give Fate, just made me feel such joy! Debbie has been updating me and sending me photos of Fate daily. They are BOTH so happy. This experience has easily been the most rewarding of my life. What an amazing thing to be apart of. I was able to help save a beautiful golden baby from China, and help with her new home placement. I told Jesse last night how much I missed having Fate following me around already. To my surprise his words were “oh honey I know. Well get another soon”!
To make it easier on my heart I have told myself to remember that with every goodbye, there will soon be another hello. I hope to have as many golden paw prints on my heart as I can get.
Golden Jewel 💎