The definition of what life is can be extremely subjective. It can be our own personal existence, the one that forms our individual identity. It can be the collection of time that consumes us, being one cohesive progression. I personally believe that life is a continuing cycle created by cause and effect, and I am constantly looking for ways to pay what I have forward despite where I am in my life. When I first met Kita, my foster dog, I had no idea that she would become my karma animal with the help of VIPP.
Kita is a 14-year-old Akita Inu -- a dog that looks incomplete without a bandana. She belonged to one of my pet sitting clients who had just fallen in love with her new Australian Labradoodle puppy. Kita slowly fell into the shadows of this new adoption, becoming extremely withdrawn and spending a majority of her time sleeping. Her bond with her person of over a decade was broken -- along with her spirit.
On one of the last nights I was taking care of the two dogs, Kita was showing neurological deterioration that was getting worse by the hour. Her owner was certain that it was her time, and we eventually received the call: she was going to be put down, and we were welcome to come by that morning to say our goodbyes. I’ll never forget the heartbreak and staggering guilt my husband and I felt thinking she was going to leave this world not knowing where her love went.
It was discovered that Kita’s neurological dysfunction was only a reaction to one of her medications and was completely reversible. I took advantage of a rare opportunity to right a wrong, and I asked Kita’s owner to let us foster her through VIPP. After Kita’s relinquishment, VIPP set us up with Fair Isle Animal Clinic so that we were no longer in the vulnerable position of paying for a senior dog’s full medical expenses. We were welcomed into the VIPP community with open arms. On her ride home with me, after signing as her owner, I bought Kita her first bandana.
There are days when fostering is really difficult. No doubt, it’s hard to readjust your life to make room for more needs, to give more attention, to express and risk more love. There are days when I know I could be more attentive, do better, try harder. I want her to have the most of everything, always. But then I spend time with her and I become enchanted by her enthusiasm, bounding around the yard just to run back to me with this look in her eyes that says, "It’s you! You’re still here!" Those are the humbling moments that remind me how she isn’t the lucky one, but rather how I am.
I decided to share my story, hoping to inspire other people to consider how fostering or adopting could open up new doors. When it comes to bringing pets into our lives, we spend a good amount of time waiting for the perfect alignment of variables. VIPP is an organization that offers resources and networks that pet owners wouldn’t otherwise have. These animals every day have so much to give if they had the opportunity. When Kita passes, she’s not going to be just a dog that found a good home. Kita is the dog that taught our family things we thought we already knew, and I’m forever indebted. Kita will know where her love is.