This morning our foster puppy Maggie was a toasty little bean bag in my lap. We sat in an upholstered rocker by a window, rocking and looking out at a tall magnolia and the milky sky. When she started to drift into sleep she tucked her head in the crook of my arm and I smiled. Her breathing was heavy from pneumonia. In a few minutes her lungs settled, and she took on the gentle rhythm of a healthy puppy at rest. There was peace and love in the room.
Sitting in the rocker has been our routine. Our symbiotic ritual. We are soothed by rocking motion, our tummy-to-tummy attachment, our breathing, and our heartbeats. We sit in the morning and the evening and sometimes in between.
This is Maggie’s eleventh day with us. She’s easy in all the ways that puppies can be pesky. Plus, she can already potty outside on command. I swear she got it on the second try. She’s patient with our dogs and brimming with affection for all of us.
At the hairdresser this afternoon, I read an email that tightened my chest. I must have looked stricken because I noticed a man looking at me with deep concern. I gave him a quick, weak smile so he wouldn’t worry. The email said that a veterinarian is adopting Maggie. I had the same feeling you have when your child leaves for college. Overwhelming sadness.
I created all the scenarios for keeping her, including a courtroom drama where the veterinarian and I fought for custody. Then I called my husband and my children to lobby for adopting Maggie. Everyone said no because we have two dogs and a cat. In a few hours I let go and started focusing on getting Maggie ready to leave.
I am dropping her off at the Atlanta Humane Society tomorrow at 3. Today we washed her blankets and collection of cotton onesies. She has to wear them because she lost her hair from mange and chills easily. Tomorrow morning we will take a warm oatmeal bath to soothe her red skin and rock together as long as we want. We’ll start packing the car at 2 because Maggie has an awful lot of stuff. It will sort of be like dropping a child at college. Only this time she won’t be coming home.