Kingsley and I took our last ride together this morning.
Kingsley has lived with us for the past 3 months. Almost 3 months: tomorrow would have been his anniversary with us. During that time we helped cure him of a heartworm infestation and taught him “civilized” behavior. He was pretty unruly when he came in.
During his exam the Vet Tech, Alicia, commented, “You are just a totally different dog from when you left here.” And he has come a long way. He is now ready to go live in a good home and enjoy a good life.
Kingsley passed his physical and is queued up for loading into the Rolling Rescue van this evening. I am at that postpartum depression point. I go through it with nearly all of them. I’ll get over it. It’s that look he gives me when I put him in his transport crate. It says, “Wait, wait, where are YOU going? Aren’t you taking me home? What did I *DO*? I’m SORRY!”
I tell him, “You’re starting a new chapter in your life, bud, and that chapter doesn’t include me. Things are going to be confusing for a few hours. Maybe a little scary. But once you are there, it will be worth it all. You’re starting a new chapter, and it will be wonderful. Even if it doesn’t seem so right now.”
Of course, he doesn’t understand any of that. But I hope the tone of my voice tells him that I’m not mad. He isn’t being punished.
I sometimes wonder if dogs retain memories of past experiences. I’m pretty sure they do: I’ve seen dogs that were traumatized by something and retain a fear of similar situations. It works for fear and self-preservation. What about good things? Will Kingsley remember Marie and I? Is it just vanity that I even wonder that? I don’t know. We did our part: we took him in, cared for him during his treatment and recovery and trained him in civilized behavior. Now he’s going to where he has a better opportunity to be adopted into a loving forever home. That’s a lot better than being put to death because no one wanted him. I’ll assauge my postpartum depression with that knowledge.
Besides, I still have Buster to get well enough to adopt. And Boomer is half-way through his recovery, I need to start campaigning to find him a home to go to. And Smokey: he’s in recovery and will be needing a home soon. Then there will be another. There is always another. There are so many good dogs who have been abandoned or snatched out of abusive situations, we will keep busy. But, should we find ourselves on furlough because all the dogs have good homes, it wouldn’t bother me a bit!