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Livin’ It Up with Stockton Briggle
One bright Sunday afternoon, not to long ago, my Life Partner Mark Tillman burst into our apartment with an air of excitement about him. “I was driving home and I saw this pet adoption sign so I stopped to take a look.” Now, you should know that Mark had been harboring a not so secret desire to bring a dog into our lives for a very long time.
Our beloved platinum Burmese cat Dewey, or “Dewbucket” as we called him although neither one of us remembered why we had come up with that, had just died after loving us for almost twenty years and the loss was seismic. Being vulnerable I asked what kind of pet?
A West Highland Terrier mix he said. “ No, no, no” I said. “No dogs, they are too much work and I don’t want that responsibility! “
“He’s awfully cute and what would hurt for you to just take a look? It’s only a few blocks away and besides we have to go to Trader Joe’s which is in the neighborhood.” Well, he had me at Trader Joe’s (my favorite shopping spot in all of L.A.) and the thought of a Westie secretly interested me. “O.K.” is said, “but there is really no point in this,” I added.
I should have known better. There was this little white hairy thing with ears the size of Dumbo the elephant. He looked at me with his coal black eyes and his little red tongue just peeking out of his mouth. I had this sinking feeling, but foolish pride was not to be easily vanquished. “I don’t know,” I said as the dog peed on the floor. “See, he’s not even housebroken!”
“Look, they only want us to foster parent him until they find him a ‘forever’ home. He was hours from being put down. What do we have to lose? They will furnish his food, a dog bed and a blanket.” I could see that Mark really wanted this so I begrudgingly gave in. The attractive young couple who were currently fostering him brought Toby over that night. I sat Mark down and handed him my 10 Commandments. I would not walk him in the mornings. If I was forced to walk him later, I would NOT carry poop bags. If it was raining, forget it! If he needed a bath, forget it! We had to change his name. No self-respecting Westie should be called Toby. The list went on and on.
Fenleigh, that’s what we named him, had a different agenda. He had found his “forever” home and that was that. A few mornings into the fostering process, I woke up to find his face on the pillow with those lagoon deep black eyes just staring at me. Then the unthinkable happened, he started to lick my face. Somebody tell me how you resist that?
I was a “goner” as they say.
I will never know the depth of neglect that this little guy experienced before coming to us, but I know that he is finally safe and secure. He tells us in a million ways how grateful he is and sometimes it almost breaks my heart when he jumps up on my lap and can’t stop kissing me. His tail wags so furiously that I worry he will wear it out trying to show us how happy he is.
There is a moral to this little tale. Don’t be afraid to foster an animal in need. You may not adopt as we did, but you will save a helpless being from certain annihilation at some overburdened pet shelter with a too high kill rate. No living being wants to die alone and unloved. You can’t save the world, but you can save one needy dog or cat who will bless you forever. Check out Star Paws Recue at www.starpawsresuce.com or on Facebook.