There is a tangible shift in the energy of the apartment. If the sound and movement in a space were represented in a quilt, our quilt would have a giant hole in it. The only thing to do is to repair the hole. This means putting things back to where they were before our guests arrived.
I gather the toys we didn’t send off with the dogs. I move the remaining food and treats to a cupboard in the kitchen. I hide the chewed up laptop chargers in a drawer. I start mentally calculating how much we spent on our week of dog fostering:
- fee to have dogs in apartment: $250
- donation to shelter: $200
- dog supplies: $280
- replacement laptop chargers: $160
Instead of adding it up, I conclude with “A week with Lucy and Rex, Priceless.”
But, as I continue to put leftovers away, I realize it would be a sound financial decision to foster more dogs since the money we’ve already spent would cover their costs for the most part.
But am I ready for the next foster dog? I fold and remove the crates from the living room, gather up the dog blankets and throw them in the laundry, vacuum away the dog hair, and steam away the odors. When I am done, I have transformed the living room decor from “Dog Kennel Chic” to, well, let’s just call it “Human Occupied.” There are no signs that dogs ever lived here.
I sit on the couch for a minute, stretching my back and think about the advantages of not having a foster dog:
Sleeping. I not longer feel on edge, waiting for the dogs to bark or do something loud that must be interrupted immediately when living in an apartment building. My own anxiety is more of the problem than the dogs, but a problem none-the-less.
Going Out. We are free to come and go as we please. When Pat took me out to dinner for my birthday, it was the only two hours we left without the dogs. Lucy was an only dog by then. We put her in her crate with a special chew treat and a bone and then went on our way. She wasn’t barking when we left and she wasn’t barking when we got back, but there was a Post It on the door that said, “Please stop the barking!”
Bird Watching. I can walk along at my own pace with my eyes in the trees. When I am training dogs to walk on a leash, I don’t notice a single bird.
Although the quiet and the freedom feel good, I still find myself looking around for the dogs. The hole in that quilt leaves me feeling a little cold. Before I know what I’m doing, I’m looking at the calendar and wondering if I could take in the next foster dog in a week or so. I’m hoping I will be well rested by then.