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Harley’s Saga

December 15, 2008

(Warning: Unedited, uncut blog entry. Sigh.)

One week ago Hugh and I become proud foster parents of a seven-year-old beagle/basset hound mix named Harley.  There was a one week trial period for us through a local animal rescue group.  If everything went well, we could adopt Harley in a week.  The timing was great because we wanted to give Harley to Hannajean for her sixth birthday.  Her birthday is tomorrow.  Tomorrow is also the day our adoption was supposed to become official.

We haven’t had a dog in a long time.  I spent weeks trying to convince Hugh that we should get a dog.  Hugh hasn’t liked any animal since Lucky (his dog from childhood).  Finally, he agreed.

The last week with Harley has been really amazing.  He is so mellow, so gentle with our children, and is really kind to our cat.  After a few days, we started letting him sleep with us and it felt so good to feel his warm little body curled against my feet.

This weekend we discovered Harley’s only vice – he bolts.  Quickly.  Out the door.  We lost him two different times – both times ending with a kind stranger finding Harley and calling the rescue group.

The first time Harley escaped we apologized profusely to the rescue group.  We are so sorry! Our three-year-old opened the door!  We have installed baby gates!  It’s okay, they told us, this could happen to anyone.

Today they called and told us because he escaped again that our home does not appear to be a safe environment for Harley.  They are coming to get him tonight.

I called.  I begged. Please!  Our three-year-old left the gate open this time – and now we have bought a lock for the gate! There is no way Harley can get out! Please, please, please let us keep him!

I feel stupid talking to these people who don’t know me, trying to convince them to let me keep a little dog who was dropped off at the pound last month.  We are such a great family – right?  I mean, am I seriously being rejected by an animal rescue group?  They are really going to come and take the dog back?

The most painful part of this is seeing Hugh so upset.  He didn’t even want a dog but over the last week he has grown really attached to Harley.  Hugh doesn’t feel sad very often – but tonight he keeps trying not to cry as he talks to me about Harley.

Tomorrow my beautiful girl turns six.  I have no presents for her, my husband is in tears, and I have to drive out to the rescue place to return Harley.  I wish there was some way I could make this situation better – I wish I could go back in time and lock the gate and close the door…or convince these people that we are wonderful.

I want to curl up in a ball and watch television and escape my life.  But I will get up, drive the dog back, love my husband, figure something out for Hannajean’s birthday, and get through the next day.  I can do this.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2008 6:41 pm

    Oh…hugs. That’s just ridiculous! My dog is a runner, too. You get more vigilant as you go, and even then you lose them sometimes! You only posted this an hour ago, and I’m hoping against all reason that something makes the people at the rescue change their minds. Praying for all of you (including the dog).

  2. Becky permalink
    December 15, 2008 7:10 pm

    My dog ran away when I first rescued him! HELLO…strange place after a long line of trama..what do they expect…sorry Jess! I will be a reference on what a great family you guys are! I would let you dog sit Hsing ANYTIME! Love you! Hang in there!

  3. Creekwader permalink
    December 15, 2008 7:50 pm

    If you have to go through with giving the dog back, maybe we can lament together because our three-year-old dog that my daughter got for her birthday bit my husband on Friday and we have to get rid of him. It’s so sad …

  4. sumijoti permalink
    December 15, 2008 8:43 pm

    Ugh…that bites. Still praying that you might get to keep Harley after all…

  5. December 15, 2008 9:22 pm

    That is so sad. I’m no longer a fan of animal rescue groups. We tried to get several, and none would even let us look at a dog because we have a 4 yr old, and don’t have a fenced back yard. So in essence, they forced me to buy a dog from a breeder. I wanted to rescue a mutt, and wasn’t deemed fit. So now I have a wonderful Boston Terrier dog (he was $500). But I love him so much and he loves me, and my kids love him. We had him 1 yr in July. So those rescue groups were WRONG. We are a good home. And you would have been too.

    Don’t let anyone else determine your worth!!!! You are worthy!

  6. December 15, 2008 9:33 pm

    Oh my word! Those rescue people should be thanking Jesus that you are offering a home for this dog. Seriously! I can’t hardly believe this.
    Listen, we have raised ridiculously expensive bullmastiff puppies. We screened the people we sold them to.If we still had pups, I would sell…no GIVE your family a dog in a heartbeat. Anyone should.
    Praying for your family’s hearts.

  7. December 15, 2008 10:26 pm

    Oh, Jess. I am so sorry. Sigh. I’m sure me leaving you comments about being so glad Harley was found wasn’t any help earlier.
    Praying for all of you. Wishing there was something more I could do.

  8. Elizabeth permalink
    December 15, 2008 10:35 pm

    I’m so sorry. I know that most rescue groups are really trying to do what’s best for the dogs, but sometimes it seems like their methods eliminate such good homes. I would have a hard time getting a dog from one because I live in an apartment, no fenced yard. And my dog lives the life of a king. I will pray they change their mind. I wish I had a dog for you. 😦

  9. December 16, 2008 12:19 am

    My dear friend,
    Know that though I haven’t been commenting regularly, I have been reading, and praying for you. I will continue to pray for you through this whole things… for your whole family.
    I pray that God will change things, but if He doesn’t, I pray that He will help you all through this, and comfort each and every one of you.
    I love you,

  10. December 16, 2008 12:35 am


    I’m so sorry that the people at the animal rescue group judged you so harshly. It’s often very easy to just make a snap judgement without seeing what’s really going on. Everyone tends to judge everyone else while not wanting to be judged themselves, you know? They don’t know you, they don’t understand you, they are in no place to make any kind of call about you.

    You are a good wife. You are a good mother. You are a daughter of the King. Jesus has already declared you worthy.

    You’ll figure out all the other stuff, but just know that.

  11. December 16, 2008 2:22 am

    ::hugs:: I hope they change their minds!! I saw your tweets on Friday and if they read them they’d know how much you love this dog and care about his safety.

  12. Katrina permalink
    December 16, 2008 7:43 am

    oh Jess…I’m so sorry! I pry that everything turns out ok…
    love you

  13. Amanda McEwen permalink
    December 16, 2008 11:54 am

    Give me their number. Let your little chihauhau at ’em. I’ll bite their legs off!
    Who do they think they are????
    Still praying for favor of the Lord in this situation.
    (Did I really just say I would bite someone’s legs off and pray for favor of the Lord in the same comment?)

  14. December 16, 2008 1:00 pm

    I’m so sorry about your dog. We got our first puppy in July and it was on a Sunday. I was nervous about leaving her outside (we have a fenced yard) the next day when we left for work, but we did it anyway. Needless to say, when we got home, Sadie was no where to be found. I was sobbing as my husband went from house to house to try and find her. Finally, we found her at a neighbor’s house – apparently she had dug a hole under the fence and decided to venture onto the street. All that to say, I’m so sorry that the rescue people are being so harsh – I will be praying for you and your family!

  15. December 16, 2008 3:34 pm

    Aw, man, that stinks!!!!! I am so, so sorry! I never knew it was so difficult to rescue an animal from the pound–I thought they would be thrilled someone wanted to take one! Shows my own naivete, I guess. Anyway, I am so very sorry. I’m late responding, but I’m still hoping, believing, praying that somehow you’ll get a dispensation and they’ll change their minds!!!

  16. Michelle Dawn permalink
    December 16, 2008 5:33 pm

    Hello! You don’t know me, but I somehow happened on your blog through another that I read. I wanted to extend my sympathies and tell you that, as someone who has volunteered for rescues for years, this is nothing against you. They don’t have the resources to come out and truly get to know your family. They have only cold facts to go on. Speak with them again. Acknowledge their doubts, and the fact that, like all rescues, they probably have serious overcrowding issues. Volunteer to go through another week (or more!) of fostering Harley so they can be sure the issues are resolved. Let your daughter know what’s going on and put her on babygate duty! Find some friends or family to provide personal reference letters, since you probably don’t have a vet to do so. and offer to get Harley microchipped, if he’s not already. Volunteer to take pictures of the accommodations you’ve made to show them. Remember that these are people who volunteer their time, and they really only want whats best for Harley. Show them that that’s you and your family! Best of luck from an Oklahoma Dog Mama.

  17. December 16, 2008 10:06 pm

    The above is really good advice, even if you’ve already taken Harley back. Don’t y’all have a cat, and therefore a vet who could give you a good reference as pet owners?

  18. December 17, 2008 12:43 pm

    Yeah, I like the advice!!!! Go for it!

  19. December 17, 2008 7:40 pm

    okay…I keep coming by just to see…maybe you’ve twittered, maybe blogger is lying to me and you really have updated…

    Still praying for you!

  20. December 17, 2008 10:22 pm

    It’s been two days since you posted about the possible (okay, *likely*) trauma of losing Harley and I’ve been biting my nails for you. I hope you found a suitable alternative gift for Hannajean and that in all of this craziness that is “normal” preceeding Christmas, that you remember to take a moment to breathe.

    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your blog and have been challenged to return to a higher standard of “realness” with my readers. Thanks for raising the bar. I look forward to reading the next chapter in the Harley saga… 😀

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