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New year, new...I don't know yet.

Each year starts off with resolutions and decisions for change, for most people. In our house we really don't believe in resolutions - not out loud per se. But this last year was incredibly hard for our house and many others we know too. We experienced some major losses.

In August our basset hound, Barnes, was sick and we had to make the difficult decision to put him down. It had been coming for awhile, he had a seizure (or two) a few months before, he was already blind and couldn't hear very well so we knew it was a matter of time. The day we decided his quality of life was no longer there, we called our vet and made an appointment. He was 12 1/2, which is the average for a basset hound. He was a rescue so his age was approximate, but like all our pets he had a set birthday and we celebrated accordingly each year.

Then in October I was looking through a rescue site and they were asking for fosters. We hadn't fostered in more than a year but something made me go look that day. A beautiful shepherd was coming up as a breeder release bought at auction (so was a mini They were looking for someone with German Shepherd experience since he was under socialized and a bit scared. I jumped on and asked for him. Not sure why - but I knew he would do great with us as a foster.

In an effort to give Rufus a break from the puppy he went for a car ride and when he got home he jumped out of the car and ran around the front yard like normal. Came in, ate dinner and seemed normal. Until bedtime, when he didn't want to come upstairs -that was when I saw him limping. This had happened before so we figured give him a day or two and he will be fine. It was Thanksgiving week, we were very busy at both our jobs and like I said, this had happened before. So now it's a week, and he is still limping - uh oh, lets get him to the vet. He goes in, they say sprain, give us anti-inflamatory medication and send us home. Says see us in 2 weeks if no better. Well, to say he wasn't better would be an understatement. It's my last day of school before break, and Rufus is declining horribly, he won't eat, he sleeps 90% of his day - lets get him into a vet stat (our normal office is closed so we go somewhere else).

Now, let me tell you something. We called Rufus the Buddha - he was stoic, smart, sassy and extremely tough. And what I saw that day at the vets office was absolutely heartbreaking. Rufus was broken. It appeared he had a degenerative disease that shattered bones in his leg and compressed his spine- but he never cried, winced or even acted like he was broken. The vet said he couldn't tell how long, but Rufus was in some serious pain. I did bring him home that night on major pain meds. I did give him tons of whipped cream, cheese, cheeseburgers,cheese, cookies, bones, chicken and anything else he loved. We all had our chance to see him, hang with him and cry over him. But the next day we said goodbye.

Bexley is missing Rufus terribly. She had been with Maximus, and then he was gone, with Barnes and now Rufus. She is sad. She is fed up with this dork of puppy we brought home. Her confusion is palpable.

So this year my resolution is to listen to our gut if you think something is wrong, push it! Don't ignore it. And love the tender beasts with everything you have. Because sometimes they are just gone. No warning. No preparing. Just gone. And with them a little piece of your heart goes too. I knew Rufus wasn't right but I thought I had more time. I thought he would have to have surgery and my biggest concern was how would we get him outside post surgery. I had no idea what I would be told that day.

We, as a family, have fostered 23 dogs over 5 years. That isn't a lot. But we have said goodbye to 21 of them. Rufus was my very first foster. He was also my very first foster failure. He was the best "mistake" I have ever made. And I miss him with all my heart. (If you were doing math, Queso the foster stayed). More on him later!

So here we are, going into 2022 - 6 years of BrightDogs, 23 fosters, thousands of #Yourslikeours and ready to start the next chapter. We will make changes - that is inevitable. But we haven't made resolutions yet. Those are coming. Happy New year and thanks for sticking by us. We have high hopes for 2022

Our logo has 3 paw prints on it: Maximus (15), Barnes(12.5) and Rufus(10). The 3 Big Bright Boys. The end of an era.


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