Anyone who follows me on Facebook and Twitter knows at one time I fostered a Siberian husky puppy for my son’s former girlfriend. Why did I do this? Well the obvious reason is I am stupid. But I like to think of it as an investment in my future. Or as I constantly told my son, “remember this when its time to pick out the nursing home.”
I thought life would be fairly simple once Achilles came to stay with us. After all, I’m at home all the time, I have a fenced back yard, I already have a dog, a long hair doxie named Cody. So what’s the big deal? Well for one thing Achilles is the big deal. He’s a snow-white Siberian husky who topped out at seventy pounds. But he thought he was a doxie. So when he arrived, at five months old he was constantly getting stuck under the bed and tried to lay on the back of the couch. He also shed. Big time. White fur on wood floors. Not a pretty sight. One time my neighbor asked me if a rabbit had died in our yard. I didn’t factor in all the extra work he would make for me.
And did he ever. My office is upstairs over the garage. I got plenty of exercise going up and down the stairs because he howled. I want in. I want out. I want food. I want water. I want to play. I want to walk. I just want to howl because I like too. Huskies don’t bark. They talk. And the entire neighborhood heard it. It’s hard to concentrate when you are constantly being interrupted by a dog.
Then there was the rampant destruction. Actually I was keeping a journal of what he destroyed at the time but he ate it. Off the top of my head he ate a leather ottoman, a pottery barn rug that I bought to cover the big stain he made on our bedroom carpet, three pairs of my husbands shoes, the insides of my uggs, the corner off our stairs, my daytimer, books, and an entire pan of brownies. (yes I know the dangers of dogs and chocolate and that was a sleepless night) Also my husband’s softball glove, my wallet the day before I had a flight, and the ottoman that matched my living room furniture. We also had to get rid of a room size rug due to stinkiness and we have a big crack in our ceiling in the kitchen from the day he decided to have a romp around the attic.
He was a full time job. Just like having a child. My entire life revolved around this dog. Trips were a big deal because I couldn’t leave him alone for a long time. Boarding was expensive. I have to make sure doors were closed and stuff was out of his reach and he’s got a big reach. No counter or table was safe. I’ve had to replace our back door. My porch furniture was ruined. Our back yard has no grass. My house, which was only two years old at the time was a disaster but there was no need to fix anything until he left, after 15 months when my son and Achilles owner broke up.
Needless to say my writing suffered. Big time. I was up and down 100 times a day. I got really frustrated because our house was no longer the way I wanted it. There were times when I screamed and cried. But today, when I look back, I know I did a good thing, because the alternative at the time was for Achilles to live his life on the end of a rope.
It’s been over three years since Achilles left. And I still miss him. I miss our walks. I miss the way he looked at me with his beautiful blue eyes. Eyes that say I love you. I appreciate how you take care of me. I miss how he watched through the window when I would leave and how he watched for me to come home. I miss dropping my hand down to touch him when he laid next to the couch while I watched TV. I miss how he would lie on the floor in my office as I wrote and dreamed about his next meal, which was probably the sofa.
Fostering Achilles was an adventure and a learning experience. One I will never forget because he will always have a place in my heart. I think about him often, and yes our neighbors still talk about him. But I know he’s well loved and always will be. I was a small part of his life. As he will always be a part of mine.