If you love something, set it free

For those who follow me on twitter or flickr have heard that we were approved to adopt another French bulldog from French Bulldog Rescue Network in January. This is Lindy.

The smoochable softness of Lindy LobsterRoll

We had applied back in November for another dog, but didn’t end up getting her. The rescue sent a lovely follow up that asked us to go into more detail about what we may be looking for in a dog, beyond the one we applied for. After filling it out and looking at who was available, we decided to apply for Lindy. Although she was an older girl, and beyond what we thought we were comfortable adopting, there was something about her that both C and I wanted to try and be her forever home.

We went through the application for her and were lucky enough to be contacted by her foster mom. After a few emails back and forth (and nothing set in stone as to whether or not we were approved) she asked to see if we wanted to meet her. This was just before the New Year and we went over to Concord, a suburb about an hour away from San Francisco, to see the old gal.

She was being fostered in a home that also ran a pug rescue. There was a resident Frenchie (also a FBRN graduate), four resident black pugs, Lindy, and two other foster dogs (one a Frenchie, the other a pug). Janie loved being in a house with tons of toys to grab and steal, plus the joy of a backyard. We got to me the slightly overweight, hard of hearing, visually-impaired, poop-eating sweetheart. We learned about how she was working on losing her weight, she enjoyed exploring and didn’t really engage with the other dogs. I could tell C was smitten when she fell asleep in his lap, like a 30-pound sack of flour. (Just one that happens to snore and fart a lot.)

Well, fast-forward through a home visit with another FBRN volunteer and more waiting, I finally received a voicemail from the foster mom to say we were approved and Lindy was ours, but could I please call her immediately. A cryptic message, but she said everything was OK. I was down in Long Beach at TNNA at the time, so I called as Wendy and I drove back to her place.

Apparently, Lindy had been attacked by her foster brothers and sisters. It wasn’t clear who was responsible, just that there was a squabble and she received the brunt of it. She had an emergency vet visit and was pretty wrecked. She had stitches and drains in her wounds from bites on her front legs and ears. The vet said there was no nerve damage and she would make a full recovery. But first, the foster mom wanted to keep her for a few more weeks to get her all healed up and stitches removed. She was happy to hear that we still wanted her. It didn’t matter to us. We had already fallen in love with Lindy, now nicknamed LobsterRoll, and were eager to help her through her recovery.

Who wouldn’t?

We were invited to visit her a week or so later and she was quite the sight. Shaved front- and hindquarters, mangled ear, and an even more pronounced limp/hobble. The poor thing was so beat up, I with I could make her an “It gets better” anti-doggie-bulling video. During our visit she tottered around the backyard; according to her foster mom, a big improvement since the attack. She was obviously hurting, but still a hungry little hippo in her porkbelly body.

After another two weeks, she was cleared to come home with us and we eagerly welcomed our newest family member. She was slower than we realized and quietly explored the apartment. In all over our previous visits, we spent as much time with the bossy extroverted other dogs of the house as we did with the regal grand dame. She isn’t one to force herself on you, but loves to snore beside you. She was given two beds, her own food bowl and a prime spot on the couch each night.

In going out on walks, it’s clear that a leash was no replacement for a doggie door and unfettered saunters around a fenced in yard. She also seems upset by the noise of the traffic (we live near a busy on-ramp to the freeway in an industrial area of San Francisco). She perks up at any indication of food, but mostly hugged the wall along buildings, even when lured with treats. There are a few quieter streets that she enjoys, as evidenced by her trotting, otherwise, she freezes up stops at a standstill. We’re also in a mostly concrete environment, so we tried different surfaces, such as patches of dirt around trees, landscaped areas, anything soft that may resemble her former environment, to encourage her to be “productive.”

Her energy level is so vastly different from Janie’s, that walks had to be separate. She is perfectly housebroken with a doggie door and access to the outside, but in a second-floor loft with an elevator, surrounded by sidewalks, it’s a bit of a challenge. She’d walk for up to 50 minutes without going, but then be too exhausted to go out later. All the love in the world couldn’t make up for her impaired mobility and preferred environment. It wasn’t fair to her to force her into a new schedule with less than ideal potty conditions, per her taste, and put her in a home with a sibling that wants more playing than she’s willing to give.

As you can guess by the title of this post, our home, it turns out, is not the perfect match for Miss Lindy. On Saturday, we returned her to her foster home. After much consideration and tears (well, body-shaking sobbing) we knew it would be best for her in the long run. I feel like we failed her, but she deserves to be comfortable and happy. Lindy just isn’t cut out to be a city girl.

Luckily, there is another family who was interested in her. And whether it’s them or someone else, my wish for Lindy is her own backyard, perhaps as an only dog, with a stay-at-home guardian who can make sure she’s fed (which should be a problem for such a chowhound), continuing to heal (and maybe lose a few more pounds), and well-loved.

For us? My heart’s not quite ready to look for another dog. I need to know that Lindy’s going to be alright before I go down that path again. Janie would love a spunky sibling to run around the rough streets of South of Market one day, but until then we will just have each other. And, Lindy’s old bed, which Janie’s taken to as her new favorite spot in the sun.

Janie misses Lindy LobsterRoll, and sleeps in her bed.

12 Responses to “If you love something, set it free”

  1. Sonya Says:

    You’re breaking my heart.

  2. Alice in the Heartland Says:

    It’s a wise person who knows when to let go. Well done.

  3. Mel Says:

    Sucks that sometimes the right thing is also the most heartbreaking. I keep thinking about whether we should consider another dog, but I just don’t think it would be the best thing for Tuck. High energy dogs, in particular, make him nervous, and he begs to be picked up.

  4. QueenCobra Says:

    (((hugs)))) That’s pure selfless love. She’s a luckier dog for having known you guys.

  5. steven a. Says:

    oh god! you made me hug my mo extra tight.
    so so sorry boys!

  6. grr Says:

    sorry grr. you made the right decision … your heart’s in the right place. buckley send his offer for a play date anytime…

  7. Laurie Says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry it didn’t work out. I think you were right to put Lindy first but you shouldn’t feel bad about showing her so much love for a short while. You just fostered her for a bit. I tell my fosters that I’ll always be their mum and will always make sure they are safe and happy. I think it only makes me feel better but it can be hard to give the puppers up when we love them.

  8. Darcy Says:

    Oh, honey, my heart goes out to your sweet family. I hope Lindy finds another home as loving as yours. Big hugs.

  9. margaux Says:

    so heartbreaking. but you send her out with so much love. I truly hope she’ll find a good home!

  10. Kyle Kunnecke Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear little Lindy didn’t work out – but I’m really proud of you for being brave and making the right decision to let her go back to find a family where the surroundings will make her even happier. We look forward to seeing you soon and giving you a hug.

    Stay brave, and give Janie a big hug for me!

  11. Angela Says:

    Oh, I am so sorry. How heartbreaking for all of you. It’s been a hard week for both of our families, hasn’t it? Sigh. Give Janie Sparkles an extra big hug and kiss.

  12. beckyhoho Says:

    This breaks my heart Chikohn, I am sorry you have to experience the hurt, and as many others said, Lindy was lucky to have what time she did with you. You are so loving to acknowledge what what she really needs. I love you and Chris and Janie!