Reality Bites: the consequences of falling in love

When B and I met in 2004, he had his sights set on law school in general, and Texas in particular. I was pretty settled in my DC life — I hadn’t ever lived anywhere else. In a few short weeks, it became clear — he was moving to Austin, and so was I.

I didn’t have a plan, and at the time it felt like I was giving up a lot to make the move. It was exciting, but scary. I was dazzled to have B in my life and be so sure about that puzzle piece, but felt a little crazy giving up what seemed like so much. But I jumped in with both feet, and life has been one amazing ride.

Eight years later, we met Snickerdoodle. As we have done with a handful of foster dogs in the past, we started joking a few days into his stay with us: “I’m going to keep him.” Only the more we joked about it, the more we realized that we weren’t sure if we were joking.

Obviously, the Dude fits in to our family quite well. Our own Chick took to him pretty much right away, which is a real rarity for him. Over the past weeks as we’ve walked into a room to find them laying on top of each other in a sweet, napping dogpile, we’ve gotten to thinking — is it possible that we have chosen the Dude for ourselves, and Chick chosen him for himself, too?

As with any other big decisions, this one comes with consequences. The biggest? The fostering career that we have put so much of our hearts into will have to go on hiatus, at least for a while. Β As much as we love the idea of a houseful of dogs, we just can’t properly care for more than two — the Chick and one other.

This scares us a whole lot in some ways. Because everything will be different. And it excites us a whole lot in other ways. Because everything will be different.

Stay tuned to follow along on this ever-wild ride.



71 responses

  1. You guys have been through so much together that it will seem impossible to let go of him – but it seems you also are (one of) the best foster parents that any dog could have so it would be sad to see you let that go. Difficult decision!

  2. Oh man that’s hard! We have asked ourselves that same question (to keep or not to keep) so many times. It’s really hard not to fall in love with them. Ours were mostly selfish on our part because the foster didn’t mesh with our dogs as well as The Dude and Chick have. But there was one…..and as hard as it was, we let her go; sadly only to hear that she is very much loved but has some very bad behaviors now labeling her as a potentially dangerous dog. 😦 Good luck and follow your heart!

  3. I was just thinking about this yesterday! I mean, you wonder how attached your Chick has become to Dude and you wonder if Dude leaves would Chick be sad. I know, I’ve watched too many Disney movies. But, they certainly are best buds…

  4. You silly! Don’t be scared because you are SO ready for the next stage: whatever that is. This is only one bend in the road which Chick knew before you did. You were just smart to recognize and to honor that decision. Yea for all of you!

  5. two isn’t a lot more difficult than one. three is just as easy as two plus one more. don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, and don’t make yourselves feel guilty one way or the other. the universe will tell you what it wants and you just have to gather up the bravery you showed 8 years ago and jump in with both feet.
    it will all be fine, just fine….

    • Brigid, This is so true. We already had two and were fostering another ( which ironically we failed at that too and now own three!)
      Follow your heart and respect that Chick has found true pittie love…

  6. Awwww I hope you keep him, I mean you could not ask for a better fit for both humans and dog from what you have shared with us. And after all you have gone through with him, which has to be really difficult of a task and it has gone so apparently well, that has got to be a sign too. I am sure if you do keep him you will find a way to continue to foster, he sounds like he would be a good additional helper and a great companion for Chick who has helped you all so much.
    I don’t envy the decisions for you all that are coming up but go with your gut, it has served you well thus far.

  7. Aside from his treatments, seems like Dude fits seamlessly into your lives. I’m waiting for a foster dog to do that, but with our crazy Izzy, don’t think that will ever happen. People do say two is easier than one and you already have the approval of master Chick!!

  8. Hi A. Maybe some part of you could also use a fostering break… I have adopted three elderly rescue dogs in four years. Lots of rewards for me and them, but also lots of time, heartache, money etc. I want to take a break, so when I lose my 14 year old retriever mix (doing excellent, can hike an hour still) I will get another pup to match my young golden and keep to just two dogs. Some day I will do more senior adoptees, but not for now. And that is Ok. I have never fostered, but I have a sense of what it entails. We have to recognize when we need a break and take it so we can have energy for future great work, Ruby

  9. As someone else said, listen to your heart. And listen to Chick who is obviously in love with Snickerdoodle. Maybe Chick should make the decision….take it out of your hands and leave it to him. Whatever you decide, all of your fans are here to support you!!

  10. I’ve read every one of your posts (and Chick’s too!) about Snickerdoodle. Every time I finish one, my heart melts a little more and I’m falling in love with him and Chick! But the more I read, the more I want you guys to keep him. Even though you don’t know me from a hole in the wall (and thus my opinion counts for little) I think it would be wonderful for all of you if you kept Snickerdoodle!

  11. What a tough decision — we went through the same thing with Addie. We ended up keeping her, but since have stayed very active in the rescue. I take “glamour shots” of as many of the dogs as possible to update their Petfinder profiles with, volunteer at adoption events, create Chip-In pages, and continue to do my best to share my knowledge of pet rescue to friends, co-workers, colleagues, and more. It sounds like you offer so much of your time, energy, and knowledge to the rescue community as it is, that even if you may not be able to foster another dog, you will be making a tremendous amount of difference still. Best of luck with your decision and the future!!

    • Wait, okay, I just re-read this…upon first read I thought it was just a decision you were thinking about, now I see it’s a done deal!!! Congrats!!!!!

  12. Miss Aleksandra – something told me the very first time you wrote abouts the Doodle that he was “the one.” I know it’s prolly skeery cuz you do luvs fostering so much but, it won’t mean the end of fostering. It’ll just be “for now.”

    My mom always says everything happens for a reason. The reason your other fosters found you was so they could find their Most Perfect Homes That Ever Were. And Doodlebug found you cuz you ARE his Most Perfect Home That Ever Was!

    As Miss Emily Dickinson said, “The heart wants what it wants.” Sometimes you just can’t help it.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  13. Wow! I can’t wait for the ‘official’ news. The Doodle has been a seamless fit for you all. While I’ll miss your adventures with fosters, following the adventures of Chix and Doodle will be just as rewarding.

  14. That is awesome! Sometimes you just know and why fight it when you could be enjoying it! While you might not have room for a foster, I have faith that you will find new avenues for your passion of pit-bull-type advocacy. And the world will continue to be a better place because of it!

  15. I remember reading your post wayyy back when, where you said you would only keep a foster if Chick loved the dog. I’m so happy that Chick has found his canine best friend! Congratulations to the four of you, and I’m sure you will continue helping out pitbulls in a different way.

  16. Each time I read your blog- each time I read about The Dude, I couldn’t imagine you ever letting him go. Chick loves him. You love him. I think it’s already a done deal.

  17. It sounds like may people (including celebrity Handsome Dan, as per facebook) have read this post to mean it’s official: Snickerdoodle is adopted. I read it more to mean that you’re taking us on the wild ride of deciding whether or not to go for it. Either way, I’m excited to read more! I know you will stay involved with pittie rescue, regardless of whether you continue to foster or not. I’m looking forward to learning what other creative ideas you come up with. This community is incredibly fortunate to have you!

    • Andrea, we have a very small handful of “real life” friends who get the inside scoop before the blog world does — Handsome Dan’s mama is in that handful. Looks like she let the dog out of the bag!

      • Haha, well then…CONGRATULATIONS!

        We know the feeling of “not being able to foster and feeling guilty about it” all too well (for us because of the parameters of our lease, landlords and square footage). But, as you undoubtedly know, there are so many other ways to be involved! Some new friends and I recently started a pack walking group in the Hudson County NJ area, and it’s been incredibly rewarding. Can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.

        Thanks for sharing all these adventures with your “blog life” friends! πŸ™‚

  18. Chick and the Dude. With monikers like that, it was inevitable that he would become a permanent part of your family. I’m so happy that Chick has found his soul mate and you a perfect addition to your family. Congrats! I know it means a fostering break as you settle into life as a foursome and figure out how to make fostering another dog work in your lives but if anyone can do it, you guys can!

  19. Because of this blog, I think you’ve inspired dozens of people to become foster parents. If you keep Snickerdoodle, you can rest assured that your fostering arms are being replaced by others.

    Not that we have anything to do with it, but I think all your readers want you guys to keep this dog. Just don’t give up the blog, either way.

  20. Oh I read this with tears of joy. The pictures you’ve posted along your fostering journey are always touching. Still, for whatever reason, the Dude’s pictures with Chick seem natural – peaceful – and right. The Dude seems to be home, and Chick is comforted to find a forever friend.
    You know when you’ve met ‘the one’. The same is true for pooches – Chick knows, and he is hoping his two legged friends know, too. πŸ™‚

  21. It sounds like Chick has made your decision for you πŸ™‚

    We had the same issue with our foster Lady. She was sprung on the fourth of July weekend, running out of time at the local shelter. We though we’d have her a bit, get her more social, crate trained and someone would snap her up quickly for a great new home….. After all, she’s a yellow lab mix, with a sweet face and abnormally long tongue., and who doesn’t like yellow labs?

    Only one problem, the longer she stayed, the more we thought about keeping her.Unlike our previous foster that was too much puppy and active for everyone, Lady fit in great, but it would put us at four dogs in the house.

    Well, we are now foster failures, and while we really can’t do another foster in this house, we donate our time other ways. Thru donating money, networking, phone calls, facebook and emails, we have become better advocates for adopting the “pit bull” type and spreading the word about low cost spay and neutering–which most people in Memphis, don’t know about.
    We are happy with our decision to keep Lady, it just took us a bit longer to figure out what Lady already knew, she was home πŸ™‚

  22. They say love happens when you’re not looking for it and you’ve all obviously fallen hard. I admire all you do and am excited for your family’s next stage.

  23. It has seemed for a long time now that Sir Chick and the Dude were meant to be together, so I couldn’t be happier for all of you!

  24. Really looking forward to hearing your decision. The Dude and Chick really seem as though they’re a perfect match, and the pictures of them together are so sweet. On the other hand, I can definitely see how giving up fostering, at least for a time, wasn’t in your plan (heck, you barely stopped for your move!).

  25. Eee! I’ve been following you, the Dude, and Chick for a few weeks now and there’s always been a little sadness seeing how wonderfully happy your boys are and to wonder what that will look like when your Doodlebug is snapped up by a loving family. My firm belief is that no decision is a wrong decision they are just new paths and new directions. Here’s to making decisions.

  26. this is wonderful and exciting news! I’m so happy to read that the Dude found his forever home in such a great family! All the best to you guys!

  27. B brought you to Austin, which then brought you to Dude. It was a corse of fate if you ask me. Without making that big risk and moving your whole life, you may have never had this piece of the puzzle. Dude was waiting for you. Dude was waiting for Chick. It warms my heart to see the amout of love in those photos. Pure love. ❀

  28. I love this post because it’s all about your family as a whole and the sacrifices you’ve made to stick together. You are a wise one, and will absolutely make the right decision about the Dude, but I REALLY hope he gets to keep you. As everyone else has said, I know you will continue to foster when the time is right. It’s just incredible to think about how many successful fosters you’ve been able to help already. The answer is in yours and B’s (and Chick’s!!) hearts!!

  29. That has to be a really tough decision, but I have to say that the Dude seems to fit so seamlessly (or effortlessly) into your family that sometimes I forget that you’re only fostering him.
    I agree with others, once you make the decision please keep up with the blog. I love reading all of your adventures; they truly are inspiring and I can’t wait for the day that I can adopt and then foster πŸ™‚

  30. I was just wondering how you were going to ever separate your two lovebirds. They are so sweet together.

    I will be very interested to see how you can continue the foster love and to give back without actually fostering another dog yourself for now. I don’t have room for another dog in my home but would love to help dogs in need. I’m guessing all the things you do will be inspiration for those of us in the same boat.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the journey unfold.

  31. I cant imagine Chick without the Dude after all this time. They seem to always be squeezed together like 2 peas in a pod.
    I think even a temporary break from fostering while you settle into life as a 2 dog family would be totally worth it. You could get into your new groove then realize you can still squeeze in a 3rd foster every once in a while.

  32. I have been waiting for this post….
    I’ve totally been in your shoes.
    I wept beating myself up for even considering keeping Ruby I felt like I was being so selfish. But I realized that my home was “right” with her in it. I knew I would raise her to be a true ambassador to her breed. And later as she developed some complicated allergies we realized that most dog owners would have given up on her and her health issues. How many people would have put Doodlebug down when they got the heartworm diagnosis?
    Maybe you stop fostering for a while, but that isn’t the end of your contribution to the rescue community.I have come to accept that my role in rescue changes and evolves depending on where I am in my life. Sometimes I am active in the shelter directly, sometimes I am a foster mom, now I do transport, and more of the desk jockey stuff. I don’t think you realize how much even maintaing this wonderful blog helps pit bulls.
    It looks to me like your boys have chosen each other. That is what happened to us. Ruby walked in a foster, and proved she was our families soulmate. Miko loved her, my geriatric cats loved her, my moderately evil younger cats loved her. It became clear that our family had spoken. She was one of us. She is my tiny best friend and she very much saved my soul.

    I know you will make the best decision for your family.

    Trust your heart. You will always be needed in rescue somehow someway.

  33. I think it is wonderful and I know you once you fall in love with something you will continue to do great things in the arena of rescue and once your family has settled who knows maybe they will let a girl into the Boy’s Club Crate! I am so happy for you-look how well it worked with your wonderful B : )

  34. Aleks- We are in the same boat over here for sure! I really can’t even imagine not having Brodie to be honest, and I keep telling myself he CANNOT be permanent. But why would that be so bad? Sure we couldn’t foster for awhile maybe longer, but we could have two amazingly awesome ambassadogs that we could advocate for pitties, MOlly is still working on her ambassadog skills but Brodie is truly a natural and we adore that about him. I can’t wait to read more about your journey with the boys and we are sure to keep you posted on ours.

  35. I love this.

    When you know, you know. I just sent the dog I was fostering to Seattle to live with her Forever Family; as much as I ugly cried last night and as much as I’ll miss her, I know in my heart it was the right decision.

    For me, the decision was to give Nalla the best life possible. For you, same choice, just different outcome. I’m excited for you!

  36. So happy for all of you πŸ™‚
    When we decided to keep our foster failure Amy… it’s hard to explain, but it almost became not a decision at all… the more we talked about it, the more it was found we just couldn’t live without her. Her and our other pup Luke just get along so well and that is really what sealed the deal.

    Yayyyy for you all and congrats on your new addition!

  37. I can’t imagine reading about Chick’s adventures without the Dude and I can’t imagine reading about the Dude’s adventures without Chick. On top of that, I can’t imagine reading about your adventures without both of them. Good luck, it’s a difficult decision but whatever decision you make, it will be the right one ;o)

  38. First of all- CONGRATULATIONS! Some matches can’t be denied, and Chick has made his choice clear. When I adopted Skye, I did it knowing that fostering was taking a back seat. Other than Sinatra, I haven’t had a foster dog since. But I process adoption applications, do home visits, and do training with other people’s foster dogs. I’m not as directly involved, but I have Skye. Usually, she’s enough.

  39. Super exciting! In all honesty, I’m glad you kept him. Since we have lived with a dog with separation anxiety, I understand the uneasiness about giving up a dog with this type of anxiety. He may not have transitioned into a new family well, but who knows. What we do know is that he will do BEAUTIFULLY in his new, stable home with his amazing family. I never really hoped you adopted any of the other fosters, as much as I loved reading about them, but this one just felt “right”.

    I share the news with my husband (who doesn’t read your blog, but hears me talk about it like a TV show), proclaimed “I knew it! Love and two, six-foot leashes!”

    Will you still please write a letter to him? I always love those!

    Many congrats. (I totally cried as a read this post.)

  40. Congratulation for finding a such a special dog! I think it is very important Chick has a buddy on four legs. We humans all try but dogs can understand and support each other on a different level. I don’t see why not!
    I’m a one woman band here, but I have two big resident dogs and occasionally care for the third. (I’m currently boarding and training one.) Yes, it’s a lot of managing, but it does find its way. I don’t think it’s the end of your fostering at all.
    Best wishes for your new adventure!

  41. a perfect pack is hard to come by so i say do it. yeah that means you will have to help in a different capacity but so be it. dude is home, let him stay home…i learned this from my current foster who is also faced with health issues…he’s home and he’s staying home. i say you can continue to help by using your photography to plaster the web with beautiful pics of fosters and other homeless dogs so they can find themselves a nice little spot to rest their heads, just like chick and the dude.

  42. When it’s right it’s right & you can feel it in your heart. We kept one of our fosters. Little did we know she’d only live 5 short years before we lost her to cancer, but we’ll always treasure that we spent those years with her in our lives. When you find that kind of a match, embrace it and all of the warmth & happiness it brings. Cheers to you & the pack!

  43. This post sent me reeling back to meeting my own significant other and how I jumped in feet first moving from DC to Miami for a man with a 3 year old daughter. What did I know about kids? What did I know about moving to Florida? Nothing, really. But I knew when it was right. I haven’t regretted a moment of my life since.

    I love my family and the 3 pups in my life. Our newest addition, Fenway, was a complete surprise for us. He just showed up literally on our door. Our daughter fell in love with him ( we did, too) and the rest is history!

    Let your heart be the judge. It’s really never wrong. As far as fostering, I know you 2 will still work with adoption in some other capacity. Sometimes finding a new way is just what’s needed – maybe showing your 2 lovabulls to the world will change opinions!

  44. I’m so sorry I’ve been out of touch! As you’ve probably noticed, things were completely haywire in our world. But I saw this post on Facebook and I was so happy for you (all of you!). You have to follow your heart (as you know better than most) – it never steers you wrong. Congratulations!

  45. Pingback: Holiday Cheer, Our Style « Love and a Six-Foot Leash

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