It felt like you were doing something, and at the end of the day that’s all you were looking for. You just wanted to feel productive, like you were contributing to the greater good in one way or another. It was something you could put on a resume, so fostering dogs wasn’t nothing, however it rarely felt like work.
It beat drinking by yourself, that’s for sure, you did that for long enough, and sooner or later you had to start asking yourself some tough questions. And let’s face it, you’d rather stare at these pups than stare in the mirror.
It may not have felt like work, but hey, they weren’t gonna let themselves out of their crates to piss. You got thumbs, and that was something.
It wasn’t like they were plants or robots, these guys and gals had personality, hell, you could call them guys and gals. Fritz, the main guy, your permanent one, was a real shit. Cute as fuck, but a real shit. But you loved him, and you forgave him for being such a shit. But if ever it did feel like work, it was usually because of him. He was the jealous type, and small as fuck, you never saw a dog who hated other dogs like Fritzy hated every other dog he came across. You would say to him, “why can’t you just play like every other dog on the god damn planet, why are you such a shit?” And he would jump up and lick your face, and keep licking your face. With some dogs it went beyond hate, the second he saw them all his hair would stand straight up and he wanted to kill them. But he wasn’t killing anything, because he was a little shit. He would bully the smaller fosters, and try it on the bigger ones until they eventually had enough of his shit and would beat his little ass. You would say to him, “how many dogs need to beat your ass before you get that you’re a little shit?” And he would jump up and maniacally lick your face.
Patches, the latest long term foster, put Fritz in his place the other day after Fritz was bullying a little guy. Fritz yelped and bared his teeth, but Patches just calmly held him down as if to say, “look at you, you’re such a shit,” and you laughed and sipped your beer, because Fritz had it coming.
Patches was choice, he’d seen some shit in his day, was locked in a trailer somewhere in the sticks with a bunch of other dogs. He was scared shitless of you when you first got him. You couldn’t go within 5 feet of him or he would whine out of pure fear, shake uncontrollably, and his stomach would make this crazy rumbling noise. You didn’t know exactly what the previous owners did to him, and you didn’t really wanna know. But now he slept on your head at night and he’d whine when you weren’t petting him.
Outside of work, you spent about 87% of your time with dogs. And not at dog parties with other dog owning humans. Only dogs. You felt justified for talking to yourself so much. You just said all the bullshit that came out of your face to them, then told them how cute and stupid they were. So it felt more like a give and take. And if they barked you would say, “shuttt upppp,” then you would pet their faces. They would keep you up sometimes with their barking, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
You’d call all of them “buddy.” You’d say, “hey buddy,” “what’s up there buddy,” but then you took in a dog actually named “Buddy,” and boy, was that a confusing couple of days for everybody involved.
Patches recently got himself a little girlfriend, you teased him mercilessly, but it did’t phase him. They run around the yard, biting each other’s necks, while you’d leave Fritz in the bedroom. Fritz wouldn’t stand for other dogs enjoying themselves; Fritz the Fun Police, you’d call him.
Fritz loved eating shit. At first it was just his shit, now it was everybody’s shit. You’d catch him in the act and yell, “HEY,” and he’d get the last few bites before you ran over to stop him. You’d say, “Stop eating shit, you fuckin’ weirdo,” and he’d jump up and try to lick your face, but you’d swat him away because his breath smelled like shit.
Fritz and Patches tolerated each other, sometimes they’d attempt some form of playing, but Fritz was dumb and a shit, so he didn’t know exactly how to play. They were indifferent towards each other, but that’s all you could really hope for with Fritz. But they were your core crew for the time being, until Patches eventually gets adopted, but you didn’t want to think about that. For now, they were your guys, and you weren’t alone, ever if you were the only one drinking. Patches slept on your head, Fritz curled up at the back of your knee, he’d contour with how your leg would bend.