For years, Maddie struggled with “shutting down” at night. Our bright and energetic girl just couldn’t fall asleep. The doctors insisted she was healthy and would learn how to relax and fall asleep in time. Maddie was exhausted. We were exhausted.
Simon entered our lives two years ago thanks to our neighbor Diane, a foster for The Animal Foundation. He was abandoned at the shelter as a newborn kitten weighing less than 1.2 pounds. Maddie, who was 7 at the time, and our son, Colton, 5, loved to visit Diane and see all the baby animals she fostered. When little Simon arrived, they began walking across the street every day to help nurse the tiny, grey and white fur ball back to health. It soon became clear Simon had won their hearts and when Simon hit two pounds, we couldn’t get to The Animal Foundation fast enough to neuter and adopt him.
Maddie quickly assumed the role of Simon’s “mom” and Simon happily accepted her motherly love. He’d bring her birds and lizards.
She’d push him around in a stroller. Even I have to admit he looked pretty adorable in her doll’s clothes.
After a couple weeks with our family (three kids in kindergarten through high school, a son off at college and an aging husky),
Simon did something miraculous. As Maddie laid awake at bedtime, he climbed into bed next to her, rubbed up against her skin and
settled down by her side. Maddie promptly fell asleep!
It turns out Simon’s motorboat purr and soft, warm body were exactly what Maddie needed to drift off into dream land. A sense of
calm began to wash over our household as Maddie and Simon began sleeping together—soundly—every night.
Simon and Maddie are still the best of friends. She’d like to tell you more in her own words:
“Simon loves to put me to sleep. He likes to sleep on top of my face, inside my dresser and on my big stuffed dolls. Simon likes to
rub against my soft, stuffed animals. His favorite is a little stuffed kitty that’s brown, white and black. He likes to snuggle it a lot. His
favorite color is blue.”
Simon really changed Maddie’s world and, as her parents, our world too. Who knew this little guy—who is now well over 10
pounds—would turn out to be just what the doctor ordered!
Roxy, a sweet one-year-old Canaan mix pooch, entered our care very shy and frightened. When Misty, one of our volunteers and a
foster caregiver, went to bring her a dog bed and blanket, Roxy tried to hide in the corner of her kennel and wouldn’t come out. It was
immediately clear to Misty that Roxy would benefit from the less stressful environment of a foster home and needed special care to
help bring her out of her shell and make her more adoptable. Without hesitation, Misty immediately volunteered to take Roxy.
So began one of the over 1,000 foster care stories that happen through the efforts of generous volunteers for The Animal
Foundation every year. Misty fostered Roxy for nearly a month. Two weeks into her foster stay, Misty began looking for a forever
home for Roxy, reporting that Roxy “has really come out of her shell. She gets along with other dogs. She’s so smart. She’s potty
trained, kennel trained, and will sit for cookies. She even listens to commands and will give you a kiss when you tell her to.” She
noted that while Roxy was progressing every day, she would “still need some basic training when she goes to her forever home. She
is still learning to play, walk on a leash and socialize around other people.”
It was a bittersweet moment for Misty the day she found a home for Roxy and delivered her to her new family. On the ride home
Misty cried, but was comforted by the knowledge that she had been able to help Roxy find a good home and a better life.
However, after just one night, Roxy’s new family could tell something was wrong. Roxy refused to eat, and sat by the front door,
apparently waiting for her best friend, Misty, to return. The concerned family called Misty and suggested that she take Roxy back,
and without hesitation, Misty agreed. Once she was back at Misty’s house, Roxy cried with excitement and ran in circles as she
wagged her tail.
“That’s when I knew we had fallen in love with each other and I decided to adopt her. It’s been over a year now, and she fits in
perfectly with our family and other dogs. When I look at her my heart melts. She is so loving, joyful and loyal. She is always by my
side and follows me everywhere. She even sleeps in our bed! I’m still not sure who got lucky, Roxy or us?”
Misty is what we call a “foster failure” at The Animal Foundation (a foster volunteer that ends up adopting the animal in their care),
and proud of it!