Layla put her front paws on the glass and wagged fiercely as she watched her new adoptive family leave to fill out adoption paperwork.
She looked like a happy pup watching people she found interesting. But she was also bewildered by having a big dog and his people in “her” house. And not quite sure why our usual habits were being disturbed.
Layla was excited by the attention of her new people. But she was also worried. Happy and sad shared space in her little fuzzy body.
Sadness is Good
Despite writing cheerfully about how good it feels to see a foster dog go to her forever home, I always feel sad when a foster leaves.
Many people say they could never care for a dog or give and give him up. I won’t judge that.
But I know that sometimes sad is a good thing.
After all, what kind of foster experience would we have if every time a dog went to his home we said,”Wow, I’m sure glad he’s gone.”?
Sadness Makes Happiness Sweeter
My husband keeps threatening to move me south.
I struggle mightily with winter—the clouds, the cold, the darkness. And my husband, unfortunately, has to live with me. So no wonder he eyes Florida real estate despite hating humidity as much as I hate cold.
But once I get through the six month winter, I come alive. The three months of summer in Ithaca are pure bliss.
I work, play, and eat on the front porch. I stop wearing shoes unless I absolutely have to. I want to sleep outdoors.
I can’t imagine summer days being so joyous if I didn’t have a strong memory of struggling through winter.
And my friends born in raised in California suggest I’m right. They talk about taking good weather for granted. “Oh, it’s sunny and warm? Well, of course it is.”
So for now, I’ll make the most of the winter to enjoy my awesome summers.
Just like Layla will be a little uncomfortable fitting into a new house until she finds bliss in the love of her family.
Living in the Moment When You’re Happy
Dogs find change stressful. They can’t makes sense of what’s happening to them. They just know they’re uncomfortable.
Luckily, once they settle in to a new place, they are also fully present in their joy.
Layla is lucky.
Her new dog “brother” is much more polite than Honey and will let her roam the house without treating her like a toy. Her family likes exploring the wonderful parks and hiking spots in our state. And they’re caring and knowledgeable about dogs.
Hopefully she’s already getting comfortable in her new home and has put Ithaca and the Websters behind her.
Her brief sadness at making a change will be replaced with happiness every day. And she’ll experience that sadness combined with happiness isn’t bad, for dog or for people.
What do you think? Does sadness or discomfort have a place in our lives? Or should we try to wipe it out–for our dogs and ourselves?