I’m on a mission to save Otis. He is a five(ish)-year-old Boxer I found yesterday near my office. He was walking down a busy street. I picked him up without thinking it through. I can’t leave a dog.
My last fostering experience ended with the death of a dog I had grown to love. Cooper was an English Coonhound I fostered through a rescue. I had never fostered formally before, and I expected more support. I expected more communication. I networked the dog myself, and found a potential home for him in Florence, South Carolina. The people filled out the application, sent in their vet references, and I did the home visit. Everything looked perfect. A week later, I received a text from the rescue organization director. It read: Cooper is dead. Upon calling the director, I learned that the adopting couple had left the dog in their parents’ outdoor kennel while they were moving. Cooper was bitten by a snake and he died. The director was angry and sad. And she blamed me.
Rarely does a day pass that I don’t think of Cooper, being bitten and dying — maybe slowly — alone on a summer day. It gnaws at me. If I had just kept him a little longer. If I had adopted him to a family in Greenville. If I had not been so eager to get him adopted.
There’s no happy ending there. No resolution. For a long time, Matthew forbade me from fostering. I complied, not because I’m good at listening, but because I felt like I was shitty at rescuing dogs.
A few people I work with love animals as much I do. About a month ago we pooled money to rescue a yellow lab, Cherokee, who was just hours away from euthanasia. After pulling her from the shelter, we realize she was in bad, bad shape. At the emergency vet, we were advised that due to a vast number of simultaneous issues, the dog should be humanely euthanized. We agreed. And we were publicly berated for the decision.
So yeah. I’ve had two horrible experiences. I’ve questioned myself and my ability and my commitment and my decisions. But when I saw Otis lumbering down the street, panting and affixed with a thousand-yard stare, I didn’t question myself.
If you’d like to learn more about Otis and his story, check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/saveotis. If you’d like to help us with his medical expenses, check out his donation page: https://www.youcaring.com/saving-otis.