As a shelter dog photographer, sometimes you can't help but fall in love (over and over and over again...). Meet Denver. This boy was filthy, poopy dirty, but so incredibly full of love, so after I finished my photo session the day I met him, I gave him a bath. Such a sweet gentle boy! He loved his bath, probably because it simply felt like someone loving on him. The shelter has been incredibly overcrowded this summer. At one point, Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services was sheltering 739 animals in a shelter designed to hold 364. Dogs were doubled up in kennels, with guillotine doors (usually only closed for cleaning) closed to allow two dogs to be sheltered in one run, essentially giving each one only about 3' by 4' of space, instead of their normal 3' by 8'. Denver was one of the doubled up dogs. So the very next day, guess who came home with me as a foster. Yep, Denver.
We had a week with this special boy, and I won't lie: we all fall hard for him. Taking the fosters back in for adoption is always the hardest part, and this time was the hardest ever. Thankfully, when I took Denver back to get ready for our MEGA Pet Adoption Event, he didn't have to go into a shared kennel, but, boy, was it hard for me to put him back in that run. Tons of tears kind of hard. I usually try to do a short goodbye, but Denver's kennel wasn't ready yet, so I sat with him for nearly 30 minutes waiting for it to be cleaned. We talked about what an awesome boy he is and what a special gift he was to our family for the week he spent with us, tears running down my cheeks the whole time (God bless our shelter staff who never once looked at me like I was crazy.)
If you've never fostered before, please consider it. It is such a blessing to be able to have these experiences, no matter the heartbreak that comes with saying goodbye when it's time. Hopefully we've helped Denver be better prepared to start his new life successfully. I had to go out of town the day after I dropped Denver off for MEGA, but my husband sat at MEGA with him, advocating for him until he was adopted. Thankfully, that didn't take long at all! MEGA started at 10am, and Denver went home with his new forever family at 11:45am! Happy Tails, Denver! Thank you for sharing your love with us.