Foster Failures

We constantly say to our girls that we want them to try stuff and not be afraid of failure. Well, we did it. We tried fostering a dog from the Williamson County Animal Center, and we failed. Big time with a big dog.

Over the weekend of May 8th, Aspen, Oakley, and I went to Sevierville for a volleyball tournament. Another weekend of dividing and conquering as Lou had a soccer tournament at home. Tim and Lou have been volunteering at the animal center and decided it would be the perfect weekend to foster a dog. They got a brindle Great Dane mix named Zeus in between the 2 Saturday soccer games with plans to take him back on Monday morning.

All Saturday afternoon I received text updates from Tim on how well it was going along with cute pictures. Until that evening, when I got a text that started with, “Things have taken a turn for the worst.” My stomach dropped as I read that they were in the Vanderbilt Childrens’ ER awaiting a plastic surgeon. Tim saw the whole incident – was right there – as Lou and Zeus were lying together on the gymnastics mat in the barn. Zeus was falling asleep and got startled either by Lou or by his own dream. Zeus quickly jerked and basically collided open mouth with Lou’s face. More of a hit or punch than a bite, which explains her black eye. Just a truly horrible accident. Even the ER doctors said they’ve never seen a Great Dane bite.

16 shots to numb, 12 stitches, 5 hours in the ER, 3 facial wounds, 1 tough girl still in love 1 with sweet dog.

Lou’s love for Zeus is undiminished. In fact, it’s grown. Maybe that’s what forgiveness does.

Lou even petted him when she got home from the ER. Granted, she is a bit more cautious (but not overly so – just appropriately so) and is learning to read him better. He really does bring her (and all of us) such joy. Even Aspen and Oakley insist on walking him to the bus stop each morning. I still feel majorly conflicted each time I look at her face. I’ve been a hot mess of emotions this week. When we got home on Sunday night, I was so ready to hate Zeus, but I couldnt. The Gentle Giant wouldn’t let me. Nor would Lou. I’ve learned a lot from my youngest child this week.

Lou sings to him so sweetly and he lovingly puts his head on her lap. When we tucked her in Tuesday night, she said she needed a new heart because hers was too full! (Mine, too.) How do you say no to that? Well, we couldn’t and so we adopted him on Thursday. 

When he went to sign the papers, Tim learned that his previous owner lived in an RV and travelled around the country, which may explain why Zeus is so friendly and good with people. We wonder if his old owner was a big man because he took an instant liking to Tim. Zeus is about 5 years old (Danes only live to around 8 on average), weighs 80 pounds, and is on the smaller side for a Great Dane but is still taller than me when we’re both sitting on the ground. He’s well-trained – will sit, come, stay on command. 

If you would have asked me a week ago if I wanted a dog, I would have said, “No.” If you had asked if I wanted an inside dog, I would have said, “Hell, no!” But as I write this he’s asleep across from me in our den. As Tim likes to point out, when you say “Hey, Zeus!” it sounds like “Jesus” in Spanish, which is appropriate since we all think he walks on water.

Zeus is home. We’re foster failures and couldn’t be happier (or crazier!). Life interrupted, indeed.

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