As veterinarians, we see many cases on a daily basis. These may include wellness exams and updating vaccines, surgeries, herd health checks, and treating sick patients. In practice, there are some unique cases we come across that impact us in a way that we never forget.
About two years ago, I treated a sweet little dachshund named Rosie for both parvo virus and pneumonia. She required a lot of intensive care and late night treatments. Over the course of her stay at our hospital, I grew very attached to her, not only because she was a dachshund but because her personality was so endearing. She was a sweet girl that always showed grattitude by looking directly into your eyes. With a week of hospitalization, she got better and was able to return to her family. I was so happy to have a successful outcome and see such a sweet girl get a second chance.
Later that year, I recieved a phone call from Rosie’s family saying that they were no longer able to care for her and needed to find her another home. She was timid in their household and had some behavioral issues that they did not have time to work through. They remembered that I had dachshunds and wanted to call me for help before listing her on Craigslist. I was grateful they contacted me, and without hesitation my husband and I became Rosie’s foster parents.
Having three dachshunds of our own, we knew that we could only foster Rosie until we found her a new forever home. Rosie was our first foster dog. We grew to love her just as our own and she became a part of our every day life. Being around other dachshunds helped her develop into a more confident individual. She became very close with the others and learned from them. Over the next few months, we knew Rosie would be traveling to her new home in Montana. She would be the only dog and get a lot of love and attention.
As the departure date grew near, my heart ached. My mom and sister met me half way to take Rosie to her new forever home. It was apparent how attached we both were to one another, and I felt so guilty she would have to re-enter into a state of unknown. As I handed her to my sister, she stared deeply into my eyes as if she knew I was leaving her. It broke my heart. I literally felt like I was giving away my own child. I sobbed the entire way home, feeling as if I did the wrong thing. Knowing how broken I was over the situation, my mom (who also has three dachshunds) decided that she would keep Rosie with them until we could be reunited at Christmas. I felt bad to have to call the the family that had agreed to take Rosie, but at the same time I coud not have been more relieved. I am what you may call a failed foster mom. I never knew how difficult it would be and do not think it is in my best interest to do it again.
It was hard knowing it would be several long months before I was reunited with Rosie, but I knew she was in good hands. They love dachshunds or “bear dogs” as my dad has nicknamed them, and Rosie was no exception. As Christmas grew near, I was so excited to see Rosie, as we were planning on having a permanent addition to our family. The one thing I hadn’t planned on or expected was for my family to grow as attached to Rosie as I had. Seeing how much she loved my mom and dad and how comfortable she was with them, I could not take her. She had found happiness again and in my heart that was all I wanted.
So over this process, I have learned that I am a failed foster parent, and my parents were also failed foster parents while fostering Rosie for me. It is a hard job, and I give props to those that can do it successfully. Rosie melted my heart, and she is a patient I will forever remember and love.