Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fostering hearts

"I'm not worried now, about flying too close to the sun."

This pretty girl is Dolce.

You may notice her ribs are showing and she looks a little thin.

But this week she gained 5 lbs. She's a boxer, about 2 years old, and a week ago she weighed 20 lbs.

In other words, she was starving. And I don't mean she had a healthy appetite.

My daughter is fostering her. It's her first time to foster since she had the baby and when she saw this dog, she knew she had to help her.

The before pictures are especially brutal. Glaze your eyes if you don't want to see how very famished this baby was when she was rescued.

We don't really know her story. Stray dogs are usually good at finding food, so, as Sharon from Legacy Boxer Rescue says, this dog was either confined or tethered with no access to food.

Maybe it wasn't cruelty or abuse. Perhaps her owner died and she was in an apartment for days before someone came. Possibly she accidentally got shut in someone's garage, someone who went out of town for a month.

I don't know how long it would take to get that thin, to starve.

But she's safe now and on the mend. One of the volunteers bought her a very soft fluffy bed so she'd be lying on something other than her own skin and bones.

She's eating voraciously but showing no food aggression. She doesn't bite my daughter's hand when she picks up the empty food dish.

And she's starting to make herself at home.

That's Sabrina, my daughter's own boxer girl, with Dolce. As Kandace said, soon the skinny one will look like the fat one.

I'm so proud of my daughter. In so many ways. She has picked up the pieces of her own broken heart and she has built a new life for herself and her child. A good one.

This little Min Pin with the big ears is Buffy, on August 31, her 14th birthday. Buffy came to us when Kandace was 14 herself. Now Buffy lives with Kandace in Keller. She doesn't hear and she doesn't see well, but she's happy and still enjoys life.

And this is the rest of the clan chilling, Wilson, the boxer boy, and Rocky, the ridiculous cat with no bones.

Dolce will be up for adoption after she puts on some more weight and goes through heartworm treatment. I'm sure someone will want to give this sweet girl a forever home.

I want to clarify something about the events in 2001 that I've been writing about serially. The story I'm telling you isn't about Marty. It's about what happened to me in the aftermath of the turbulent end of our relationship. But I have to set the stage first. It's the only way you will ever understand.

We had our first date on a Saturday in early June. We had a mid-week work-night ice cream date, and on Friday he came to the house. I think he met my children. I know he met my cat Gris and my dog Buffy. We probably watched a video. Details have blurred in the dozen years since.

So the next day, Saturday was our fourth date. I slept with Marty on our fourth date. It shocks me still. But I'd been so lonely for so long, first in the final years of my marriage and then in my three-year long-distance rebound relationship. I had a deep need to be touched.

We met at the AMC Willowbrook. I purposely got there first. (I'm not known for punctuality in general.) I wanted to watch him come in. Which he did, in his jeans and Hawaiian shirt, a tall dark stranger who smelled so good, who made Stetson smell like some fine cologne. I don't remember what movie we saw. That shocks me too.

I think we got our tickets and with some time to kill, we walked over to a chain restaurant that shared the parking lot with the theater. We sat at the bar and had drinks, lemonade for me, a margarita for Marty. Feeling very mature and brave, I said to him, we need to have a conversation about safety and protection.

Backing up again, Marty was still married when we met, but he'd been separated for more than five years. I didn't know that in 2001, certain states, such as New York, where Marty was from, did not have no-fault divorce laws. I had no clue that places remained in 21st century America where anyone must stay married against their will.

In New York, at least then, there were three grounds for divorce. Adultery, abandonment or agreement. Marty had left the marriage, he had given his wife grounds for divorce, but she didn't want to be divorced. She had not committed adultery or abandoned Marty and until he moved to Texas she would not agree to dissolve the marriage. It takes six months to establish residency in Texas, at which time Marty would have filed for divorce. Just shy of that date, his wife preemptively filed a petition in New York.

Safety and protection. I told Marty I'd been monogamous in my 15-year marriage and had had one relationship since. Marty said his situation was the same, monogamous, one relationship. Oh, and he'd had a vasectomy after his third son was conceived.

So we saw a movie and I went home with him. If we ate dinner I have no memory of it.

It was sometime that night that he first told me about Mary.

The woman before me.

What he didn't tell me was that their relationship had been over for barely a month. I thought it had ended before he left New York for his job in Houston many months earlier.

He told me something else that night. Something that caused me to write this note to him the next day.
I am a little tired, not because I didn't sleep well, but more from the intensity of emotions, and the startling joy I feel about something you said to me before we went to sleep.

Oh Marty, I want you to feel loved the way you make me feel loved. I don't understand how any woman who loved you wouldn't go anywhere that you would go, if you wanted her to be with you. (Do you remember the story of Ruth?)
Because I already knew that I would have followed him to the ends of the earth. Where he would go, I would go, and his people would be my people.

"Something was pulling me, without knowing what was leading me on
Your shining light, your shining light
In my darkest hour the only way to bring the dawn
Was your shining light, your shining light

But you're unaware your shining light is even on

Like with a little glance when you take me by surprise
And I take a chance, and I see it all through your eyes
Free me from my history, show me where to draw the line
By lighting up the mystery, and you don't even know that it shines

I'm not worried now, about flying too close to the sun
Your shining light, your shining light
When December skies are cold, well you know I will always run to
Your shining light, your shining light

But you're unaware your shining light is even on."

(10,000 Maniacs - Robert Buck, Mary Ramsey, et al.)

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