I just finished spending nine glorious and exhausting days caring for seven puppies rescued from a local shelter. Where did I get seven puppies you ask?
Let me start this story where all stories should start, at the beginning. Like many of you the new year usually finds me re-evaluation my life. Ten years ago, before moving to Bakersfield and before developing Fibromyalgia I was lucky enough to have a very rewarding and fulfilling job in Pulmonary Rehabilitation. I won’t bore you with the details but I felt that I made a difference in the life of someone each and everyday that I went to work. I wasn’t discovering a cure for any disease or inventing some new and fabulous technology I was just making someone’s life a bit better each day.
Fibro changed that for me and my life became centered on dealing with this frustrating and debilitating condition. It has taken me seven years but I finally have a bit of a handle on how to minimize and somewhat deal with my symptoms. I will never be employable again but I do have the need to be needed, to make a difference the world and leave it a better place at the end of my life.
I started thinking about volunteering, I figured that if I paced myself I would be able to contribute somewhere. Naturally I gravitated towards a charity for dogs and finally settled on applying to volunteer for a local organization called Marley’s Mutts. I envisioned myself doing computer work at home or making phone calls. That is when I saw a Pinterest post about bottle feeding puppies.
I scoured the internet for information on fostering and bottle feeding puppies. It seemed like a pretty good fit. Abandoned newborn pups require an ample supple of attention and patience but I have all the time and patience in the world to sit around and feed puppies with a bottle or eye dropper. Apparently rescue organizations have trouble finding people who can devote that amount of time. This was something that I could do. Sure they would be moving about and eating on their own towards the end of the eight weeks before they were put up for adoption but I felt I could handle that. I mulled over the possibility for almost two months before decided that I could pull it off. Both my husband and son were on board with my plan so I filled out the application and waited for a response. And waited, and waited, and waited.
The next two weeks seemed like an eternity. Once I decide to do something I want to start yesterday. It was smack dab in middle of the holidays when everything grinds to a halt so I read everything I could find on bottle feeding puppies. My son was so supportive that for Christmas he gave me a wonderful book about raising puppies which I have read twice.
I finally heard from the volunteer coordinator and since I was willing to do some other work as well as bottle feeding she suggested that I go to a volunteer expo the following Saturday. I was so excited. My husband accompanied me to the expo where I met the volunteers in charge of the various activities. The line to meet the foster coordinator was long but I was finally able to talk with her for a few moments. It took only a few words for my dreams to fall apart.
As a foster I would need to keep the puppies for a full 12 weeks. My heart sank. I knew that eight weeks was pushing it for me but I thought with organization and help from my family I could do it but 12 weeks would be out of the question. I know it is only four weeks longer but during those four weeks the puppies would be very active and it was too long for me go without a major break where I could rest and recoup. It wasn’t the time or the place to let the coordinator know so I went home knowing that I would need to call and explain after the weekend.
The next few days were bleak to say the least and I avoided making the call on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon I still had not made the call and when the phone rang and caller id flashed the foster coordinator’s number I knew it was time to get it over. But before I could explain that I would not be able to foster puppies she asked if I could foster seven puppies for nine days. Nine days? Thoughts were flying through my mind and I realized that this might be the only opportunity that I would have to foster puppies. Nine days? I figured I could do just about anything for nine days as long as I had enough pain pills. That is when I heard my own voice say “Yes”. I would be completely exhausted afterwards but I could do it.
The next nine days were full of mishaps and mayhem and I hope you will return to read the next chapter. I promise you will not be bored.
Thank you for reading,