We called her Penny because we said she was found like a lucky one–wandering the streets in the middle of traffic…we couldn’t believe someone wasn’t missing her. We tried to find her home to no avail, so she became ours—only temporarily. That’s how it works when you give a foster home—to a dog, or a child, or even a snail. It’s known from the start that this is just a stopover.

She won our hearts with her quiet faith in our goodness—with her sweet bovine face.

I set the alarm for 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday so I could get up and watch part of the lunar eclipse. But the milky sky hid it from my eyes. So I stared, for a time, at that chalky veil—wondered what was behind it. Penny woke up with me and her joy at walking in the night snow made my spirit forget what I was missing. If only I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I told her. Then you and I would stay up all night and really enjoy this romp.

She was my shadow.

Tonight we drove 45 minutes to meet her new family and they were quite lovely and she seemed fine—if not a little overwhelmed. When we drove away, I tried not to look at that silver Toyota Highlander—to strain for her sweet face in the window. When we reached the first stop light, there was a man on the side of the road with a woman in a wheelchair. He was holding a sign. The rain was icy and coming harder. I told Teddy to get some money from my wallet. We pulled over and handed him a few dollars and the silver Highlander just kept going. When we got on the interstate, Jeffrey cried for twenty five minutes and I wonder if I’m breeding attachment disorder in my children. We were stuck in rush hour traffic through Charleston and it was dark and the rain coming down struck the windshield in slushy drops. A huge flock of Grackles flew overhead and landed in two trees right beside the freeway. Jeffrey stopped crying and sang us a version of the 12 Days of Christmas that he had written at school today. When he stopped he said, I can’t wait to meet our next foster dog. I know he is remembering the conversation we had when Argus went to his new home. You can’t be afraid to love, I told him, just because you are afraid of getting hurt.

It’s about more than the dog, though, isn’t loving one of God’s creatures with the whole heart enough? These boys have learned about loss from these creatures. They’ve learned about grieving and responsibility and loving fully. 

A promise is a promise, I thought, heart in my throat.

And as we pulled into our drive I stopped and texted my husband.

Penny is in good hands. And we’re going to be OK.


  1. says

    Oh Laura, how selfless are your words. Penny may not be with you but she will always have a place in your heart, I’m sure. You were there for her when she needed you and that should give you peace.

  2. says

    Oh, Laura; tears are rising. I so admire that you foster those beautiful animals.

    We drove to Annapolis today to meet a rescued Westie. He’s just gorgeous, a classic. We brought him home. I think he’s going to work out fine; Jack seems to like him. He won’t ever replace our sweet boy Seamus but I think we’re giving him the home he deserves.

    Jeffrey is special, as are you.

  3. says

    There is a cost to loving. As we love on our newest addition we’re so very thankful for people willing to foster dogs until new homes can be found. WOW…

  4. says

    Oh, you are so brave. I’m not sure I can love like that. This made me wonder about our new kitty’s foster family who had her since May. She’s such a precious girl. I hope they are okay.

  5. says

    Oh How sweet of you to share your good fortune. What a lesson you are teaching! Merry Christmas Laura! May God bless your family in ways that speak of His goodness. B

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