When you’re trying to adopt an animal from a rescue, you hear a lot about “forever homes.” It’s a pretty self-explanatory term – meaning you’re in it for the long haul, for the duration of that animal’s life, even when it’s inconvenient.
I think I have a pretty good grasp on the idea. When I had Timmy (my golden retriever), I lived in a 450 square foot apartment with him and and another person. An 80 lb dog in a tiny apartment. He was older, so not as much energy as a younger retriever, but he still needed lots of walks and bouncing balls off the walls. Some people told me I was cruel for NOT giving him away, but I had been with him so long I felt breaking that bond would have been more cruel. A couple years later, I was eating rice so he could eat his normal food. It was only for a little while, but again, someone told me I should just get rid of him. I saw the point. He did eat quite a bit, and he had food allergies so his food was NOT cheap. I chose to eat my rice and ramen noodles with him rather than steak without him. And to this day, I know his trust in me never wavered, not even when I took him to the vet’s office for the last time and he lay his sweet head in my lap and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
So why do I struggle with this term? Mainly because due to my current job (which could, however unlikely, send me places for extended periods of time and not allow me to bring a pet). Also because my sweet Alfie boy is still in the States. Is he in a good, safe home? Yes. Is he adjusting? Yes. When I can am I still going to bring him home with me? Absolutely. My friends understand this. They understand why I couldn’t fly him with me originally. But I still feel horribly, horribly guilty. Will he hate me when he sees me again? Does he think I’ve abandoned him? Yes, I’m still caring for him, but not in the sense an animal will understand.
That said, I applied to an animal rescue here in Korea, for a cat. I was honest about the whole job thing. They asked me a lot of questions. I answered all of them as honestly as I could. I told them about Timmy, and Alfie. And they decided I was still worthy of being a pet parent. Because I will, to the absolute best of my ability, give a permanent, safe home to any animal I ever call my own. I’m not perfect and don’t expect things to always work out ideally, but I will try and do the absolute best I can for them.
This is Tyrion (name probably changing). I go to pick him up this weekend. I am so excited…I’ve missed animals so very much. Many more posts forthcoming, I’m sure.