Published in the PATIO issue
/ Written by Betsy Marquez / Photos supplied by Betsy Marquez
December 10, 2019
Dearest Romeo! I was brought to tears in meeting you—you’re in probably one of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen. I have so many questions! Were you a stray for long? Did you have owners and were just not cared for? Did they just watch you decline medically and not do anything? Could they not afford the care? Did they drop you off somewhere? Let’s face it—none of those questions matter, because I’ll never have the answers. All I know was that I could not leave you alone in a shelter for your remaining days.
Bone cancer, heartworms, and whatever other diagnosis there was in those big words … I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more than to open my already fragile heart to give you the very best of a loving, caring, warm, comfy, quiet, boring home life for your remaining days. I’m bringing you home not knowing how many days you have left. Will it be weeks? Will it be days? Might it just be over night? It really didn’t matter to me. I got the green light from Clay County Animal Services—you are coming home with me. Was this in my plan? No. But sometimes you just do what’s right and being there for you is just that.
Romeo you, Sir, have been such a love! You seek out a gentle touch. You like to walk around the yard, then stop and take it all in, looking around. You constantly look for me if I’m out of sight. You follow me around the house like the Velcro pup that you are. You love your crate with the oversized bed, and soft music playing in the background. Unlimited treats for you, love.
Just know this, Romeo—your remaining days will be some of the very best days of your life. When your time comes, you’ll be surrounded by those who love you. Your life matters.
December 13, 2019
The last 24 hours have been pure bliss. ROMEO—this 12-year-old throw-away hound is living his best life.
December 16, 2019
Dearest Romeo! I sit here watching you sleep and listening to you breathe … my heart is both full and broken at the very same time.
December 22, 2019
Last night, just before midnight Romeo crossed the rainbow bridge.
Dearest Romeo, yesterday was just short two weeks since I brought you home. You were only supposed to be a three-day hospice foster, but the veterinarian thought that you were well enough to make it through the holidays. As everyone can see, you had a huge mass on your face. You had a VERY mean and fast growing tumor in your nasal cavity. In spite of that monster, you were free of cancer mentally and in your spirit and heart. You were such a loving, happy, attention-seeking, leaf-rolling, back-scratching, treat-finding, always hungry, Velcro pup. You loved sleeping in the living room on your new blanket. You loved being in the back yard, rolling around smelling the air and watching people walk by. Most of all, you loved being loved by foster momma and brother.
Yesterday you had such a good day. You slept in just a little, till 6:30 am. You ate breakfast, went out in the yard for a bit, and back to bed. I went out in the living room with you and watched you sleep. Your foster brother had been sleeping on the couch for two weeks, so you weren’t alone out there.
I ran an errand and brought back Zaxbys—I think you ate more than I did. After dinner, more yard time and some good rolling around in the leaves. Then some good love from foster brother when he got home from work.
When our friend Lisa got here, we got you up and almost immediately noticed a little blood from your eye—still, you were your happy self meeting a new friend. But we couldn’t make it stop. We kept wiping the blood with a wet paper towel, as we didn’t want to irritate your eye with a harsh dry one. We thought taking you to the vet would be a good idea so they could do something and you’d be back home.
But your tumor had ruptured. And I wasn’t ready.
When we made the decision, you were surrounded by love. You spent your last days in a home being our family member. We only had you in our lives two short weeks, but in that time you made such an impact. Losing my three-year-old grandson just months ago has my heart already in pieces. My heart is shattered making that call for you, dearest Romeo. I have absolutely no regrets being your hospice foster. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Run free sweet boy. I love you, dearest Romeo.
Your life mattered.
If you are thinking about fostering—don’t debate. Please don’t make excuses. Do it!
“I don’t have room.” I live in 800 square-foot home with my 22-year-old son and my other dogs.
“It’s too sad!!” If you know me… you know that my heart is extremely fragile these days. It’s not about me, although I do have to say … Romeo made my heart so happy.
“But my dogs aren’t friendly.” I shuffle. It’s only as hard as you make it. A little bit of work? Yes, but so worth it.
There are a ton of dogs at the shelter, and a heartbreaking amount of seniors!
Please consider fostering. It will change the life of an animal, and, trust me, it will also change yours. •