It had been a few weeks since the death of my last fostered dog, Parker.
I was sitting in my room and scrolling through Facebook when I ran across a page that uploaded pictures of dogs in need of families. They were all so damn small and vulnerable, but I did not want to foster one and get my heart broken all over again after what had happened to Parker.
So it was enough for me to send a screenshot to my sister of the cute, white puppy with mesmerizing eyes. He had one brown eye and one blue eye…and no name.
Suddenly, my sister starts spamming me with messages about fostering him.
What’s the harm in that? At least I’d be helping him find a family who would love him unconditionally.
But I knew the harm.
I couldn’t tolerate the loss of another dog.
After much talking and insistence, I was persuaded to talk to the person who found the puppy on the streets (mind you, he was one and a half months old and fully healthy; I will never know how people have the heart to throw such creatures on the streets). Next thing I know, my dad picks him up from the station where the man who found him was waiting, and the puppy is on my lap, licking my hand.
I bought him everything he needed, and I promised myself that I would say he’s my nephew’s dog, not mine. Perhaps, it’ll make it easier not to get attached to him.
Anyway, I thought, it’s just fostering, so he’ll be gone in a week or so.
Little did I know that flash forward two months, I would still be drinking my morning coffee with Loki—yes, I gave him a name—on my lap, while he’s excited for his morning playtime and walk.
We kept searching for a family to adopt him because, soon, my family and I would return to the city, and it was pretty difficult to keep a dog inside an apartment in a calm neighborhood.
And Loki could bark when he feels left out.
All the while, I fed him the finest dog food, gave him all the necessary vaccinations, kept him safe from possible diseases that little puppies could contract, and protected him in every possible way.
I fought hard not to become attached to him. I fought hard not to lie down on the floor and let him sleep on my stomach and feel safe. I fought hard not to teach him a few tricks only his permanent family should teach him.
I fought hard not to love him.
But, alas, it was already too late by this September. When I took him on his third visit to the vet, I learned that he weighed 9.1 kilos. When I first brought him, he was 1.5 kilos.
And I bet you, those are 7.6 kilos of love that he gained as he lived with us.
I looked at him, my eyes welling with tears, and laughed.
I remember telling him, “You need to stop growing on me you S.O.B.”
He just tilted his head and laid it on my shoulder because he was tired from the vaccine.
And just when I thought my happiness with this doggo would last forever, I got the call that there is a family ready to take him in.
I realized my bliss was only temporary, and my job protecting and raising Loki was over.
Nights after nights, I looked at the picture of the man who picked him up from our house, Loki sleeping in the car sad and spiritless, and I would cry myself to sleep. The cursed side of fostering caught up to me, and it was too damn hard to let it go.
My entire family was sad as well. It felt like we had lost a member of our own. My mother noticed how I looked anxious and sad all the time and caught me looking at photos of Loki on my phone.
Eventually, my parents and my boyfriend encouraged me to get Loki back. They said they would find a way for us all to take care of him, even if it was inside an apartment.
I didn’t waste one minute before I rushed inside the car with my father, went to the family, convinced them to give us Loki back, and brought him back to the house.
We brought him back home.
The image of him jumping with joy when he saw me, my dad, and my nephew cannot escape me. We hugged him, played with him, and loved him with everything in us.
I knew living without Loki in our midst would drive me crazy. I knew that only fostering him would make me feel like sh*t.
Which is why I chose to adopt him instead.