When we first heard that she was being returned, we panicked. We had seen Miss Stevie in the shelter, and knew how badly she might regress if she ended up back there. And with the shelter close to full already, we didn’t know how good her chances were of making it out.
We didn’t realize how many lucky stars were aligning for Miss Stevie while we were freaking out and coming up with unreasonable, irrational plans. Plans like driving back to Maryland from Texas to fetch her and bring her back home with us. 50+ hours of driving and 1.5 dogs too many in our house, that would have been. Luckily, we kept looking for other solutions.
Lucky Star Number One: we found out from Stevie’s family that they were committed to keeping her in their home for at least a few weeks — until a suitable foster home could be found. We can’t overstate how much respect we have for a family who realizes that they have to / want to / decide to surrender a beloved family pet, but then is willing to hold on to the animal until a good option arises. It must have been heartbreaking every day. But it turned out to be critical.
Knowing we had at least a couple of weeks, we reached out to rescues. We contacted Jasmine’s House, our friends at Bully Paws, and a few individuals and families we know who sometimes foster. We even put a vague post out on our Facebook page, stating that a dog we love very much needed a soft place to land — hoping that one of our DC area friends would step up.
Lucky Star Number Two: our friend Catalina at Jasmine’s House remembered Stevie’s story well, and agreed to do what she could to bring her in to the rescue. Several Jasmine’s dogs were being adopted that week, so a suitable foster home was likely to come up.
Lucky Star Number Three: one of our friend-of-friends and blog followers sent us an email in response to our Facebook posting. They were thinking about getting into fostering, and were interested in meeting Stevie-girl. They were a young couple with two dogs, two cats, and no kids.
Catalina arranged a meeting, and took Stevie up to meet her potential foster. A few hours later, we got a call from Catalina, gushing about how wonderful Stevie’s would-be fosters were. They had lovely dogs, a nice home, and were clearly thoughtful, kind, educated, and actively interested in dog behavior and training. Potentially perfect. And judging from the quick iPhone photo we got, it was love!
A few days later, sh** hit the fan in Maryland. The state Court of Appeals issued an opinion that casts a label of “dangerous dog” on any pit bull type dog in the state, and creates strict liability for not only owners of pit bulls, pit bull mixes, and dogs who anybody thinks look like pit bulls, but on any landlord who has a pit bull living on his/her property. More detail on the opinion is available here, but in short: the Court of Appeals, in one catastrophic opinion, made owning or adopting out pit bull type dogs a hell of a lot more risky and difficult.
We immediately panicked again — what would this mean for our Stevie-girl? Would the family who had loved her get cold feet and back out?
Lucky Star Number Four: Nope. They quickly reassured Jasmine’s House that if anything, the Court’s ruling made them more committed, not less committed to fostering Stevie Wonder. Awesome!
Another week later, Stevie was safe and sound in their home in Towson, and we could finally sleep well at night. Her journey is far from over, but we already feel optimistic about her prospects. Stevie Wonder is a resilient, loving girl. She’ll bounce back from all of these changes — we have no doubt.
And while she starts the next chapter of her journey, please enjoy Lucky Star Number Five – her new foster family’s blog about their experience, Hound and a Half! Stop by to lend some support, ideas, or just plain thanks for being so awesome.
Bon Voyage, Stevie Wonder! We’ll all be with you all the way!
**And a special bonus, Lucky Star Number Six: Stevie’s new foster family is real-life-good-friends with the adopters of another of our favorite fosters, Curious Georgia! What a beautiful, wonderful, small world it is!