One day, a friend at work casually mentioned that Austin Boxer Rescue was looking for foster homes and I figured that sounded like a pretty cool idea and filled out an application. Little did I know then what an amazing road on which I was about to embark. Not long after that, I got a call and was asked to foster Sebastian. The moment I picked him up, I fell in love. Sebastian was a gentle, sweet boy who just needed confidence and to learn that humans could love him unconditionally. As I worked with him, I grew more and more passionate about rescue and I knew that if I could find a different living situation, I could make even more of a difference.
I moved a couple months after I started fostering Sebastian and I began to take in more dogs. When he found his furever family a few months later, I didn’t cry. I knew he was going to exactly the right place. This amazing family had a son who was very wary of dogs, but never Sebastian. We kept in touch and I got to have visitation. It was the best of every possible world.
When his mom texted me a week ago and asked me to call, I knew that Sebastian (now Jack) had crossed the rainbow bridge. It was with a breaking heart that I made that call and I heard the sadness and the pain as she told me the news. It was all I could do not to break down as we talked about how special he was. She said that he had taught her a love she didn’t know before. I explained that she and her family had given him a life he could never have known otherwise. The year plus he was able to spend with them was easily the best of his life and I was grateful to have played even a small part in making that happen.
I shared with her two things. First, that a friend had once shared with me his belief that one of life’s greatest injustices is that humans outlive their canine companions. Second, that it is often the case that a rescue dog rescues his human much more than his human rescues him. I knew my words were of little comfort, there is nothing that takes away the hurt of this type of loss.
As I write this, I look around my living room at my four foster dogs, my two foster failures (dogs that I took in as fosters and wound up adopting) and my female who journeyed to Austin from Boston with me two and a half years ago and I am filled with love and gratitude. Sebastian/Jack was my first foster…there have been many since him and there will be many in my future. He taught me what rescue is all about. He showed me how special it is to be the bridge between a dog’s previous life and his destiny. He introduced me to an amazing family that I am lucky enough to consider friends. Jack will always hold a special place in my life and I will always be grateful to have known him.