We decided to become fosters for Pawmetto Lifeline in October 2018. We knew we were going to be doing a good thing, but just didn’t realize exactly what that would entail at the time.
Rebel came into our lives in December of 2018. We fostered him for two weeks and it was a long two weeks! He was not the best dog by any means. He was cranky due to his eyes and his heart-worm issues. His eye lashes had grown back into his eyes and needed to be corrected by surgery.
The kids would run through the house or make sudden movements and Rebel growl and get aggressive. Virginia (my partner) was very uneasy with having Rebel in the house acting like he was. I tried to defend him, but she had every right to be nervous. I contacted Pawmetto about Rebel and how he was behaving. They gave me different things to try, but he still would act out if someone made any sudden movements or loud noises. The day came to take Rebel back to Pawmetto for transport right before Christmas. We hated to see Rebel go, but at the same time we were relieved to have him out of the house.
We were scheduled to take on a set of puppies in February of 2019. Little did I know, Virginia had reached out to Passion 4 Paws to check on Rebel. Robin at Passion 4 Paws messaged back and told Virginia that Rebel was still in South Carolina. She had found a vet in SC to preform Rebel’s eye surgery. Rebel had just undergone surgery and was getting ready to undergo his heart-worm treatment. Robin asked if we were willing to take Rebel back under foster for him to rehab then go on transport to Vermont. We couldn’t leave Rebel at Dutch Fork Animal Hospital in a crate. So, I called the foster team at Pawmetto and told them that Rebel was still in SC and Passion 4 Paws was wanting us to take Rebel back so he could rehab. Pawmetto couldn’t let us take the puppies, but they encouraged us to take Rebel back since we had history with him and he knew us. I felt bad since we had agreed to take the puppies, but they told me not to since we would be helping Rebel. We agreed to take Rebel back for the month then get him on transport to Vermont.
The day came to get Rebel back. I went to Dutch Fork Animal Hospital to get him. I met with Dr. Johnson and she brought Rebel into the room to see me. He was very skittish and acted like he didn’t know me. Once he smelled my hand, he immediately came to me and jumped up on me for love. He was very happy! I brought him home and it was like he never even left. He got out of the truck and ran up the front porch steps like he knew he was home. Rebel was a very different dog since his surgery. He was happy and we finally got to see his personality – and his pretty eyes! It was night and day between the first time we had him and the second time. We gave him lots of love while he was with us. Rebel was like my shadow when I was home though. He wouldn’t go to anyone or listen to anyone while I was at home. He is still like that to this day.
Well, a month went by and he wasn’t going on transport. The stitches in his eyes came out during that month and he had his heart-worm treatment. He was starting to listen and take simple commands from me and others in the house. The trick with Rebel was getting the whole family involved in taking care of him. If not, he would bond with just me and wouldn’t listen to anyone so I decided everyone needed to be involved with Rebel’s care. A month turned into five months. Robin sent me an application for a family that was interested in adopting Rebel. Virginia and I took a look at the application to decide if it would be good fit for Rebel. Everything looked good on paper and we thought Rebel would do well with the family.
That dreadful day came where we had to put Rebel on transport to go to Vermont. We went to Wal-Mart the night before and made Rebel a care package to take with him. Virginia wouldn’t go with me because she said it was going to break her heart so I went alone to put Rebel on transport. I came close to telling Robin that Rebel wasn’t going to come to Vermont, but stay in South Carolina with us. But, I knew I couldn’t do that since Rebel belonged to Passion 4 Paws. We put a blanket in the box for him so he would always have a piece of South Carolina with him. When the van pulled out of the parking lot, I cried like a baby. My buddy was gone. He always knew when I had a bad day and could put a smile on my face instantly. I knew he had a positive future ahead of him in Vermont and I was happy for him. My motives for crying was purely selfish because he made me so happy.
From the time we said yes to the application, to the day of transport I was in touch with the family telling them the in’s and out’s of Rebel. Rebel made it to Vermont safely and I stayed in touch with the family to make sure Rebel was adjusting OK, but it seemed that Rebel was having a hard time. The whole time Rebel was with us, Virginia kept telling me that Rebel would be our dog. I kept telling her that Rebel would do great in Vermont and not to worry. Well, the email came from Robin asking me to take Rebel back. He had been in Vermont for less than a week. I asked her what did she mean by taking Rebel back? I told her that it wasn’t fair to Rebel. She said that she agreed and that she wanted me to come get my boy back. I couldn’t believe my ears! My eyes started tearing up because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I told Robin that I would need to talk to Virginia about getting Rebel back. She didn’t want Rebel in the situation, no more than I did. She told me to go get our boy! I called Robin back and told her that I would be in Vermont by noon on Saturday. As soon as I got home from work, I packed a bag and left around 6pm Friday evening headed to Vermont.
After driving all night, only stopping for gas and food, I made it to Robin’s house around 11am. Rebel showed up at noon. I was sitting on the tailgate waiting patiently for him. He finally got there and I got this look from him like “What the hell, dude? I thought we had a good thing going.” He wouldn’t come to me at first, he just grumbled like he was fussing at me. Finally, he jumped up into the bed of the truck with me… still grumbling. I put my arm around him and pet him. He stopped grumbling. Robin took some pictures of us before we left and the rest is history!
Rebel has always had a special place in my heart and he is my buddy. He listens to everyone in the house now, for the most part. He’d still rather be near me when I am home, more than anyone else. He seems to be getting more and more confident each day. I think he is realizing that he isn’t going anywhere this time. It was an adventure getting him back home from Vermont! He cost me a vehicle since we broke down on the way home and didn’t get back to South Carolina until midnight on Monday morning. I wouldn’t change a thing though, it was worth every minute! Rebel has finally stood his ground with our other three dogs and he is finally going out back with them to potty. He is coming around. Still work to be done with him, but he is coming around just fine.
When we started fostering, we didn’t plan on getting another pet, but Rebel was meant to be here with us. Fostering is such a gratifying experience and we love doing it. We thought we would be the ones making an impact on the foster’s lives, but at the same time they make an impact on ours. They are essentially an extension of our family. And that’s why we like knowing where they end up! With that being said, all of our fosters have a special place in our hearts, but none of them have had the impact on our family like Rebel has.