About The Foster Zoo

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We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Starting over

I have not blogged in forever. The biggest reason is that I got overwhelmed with it. I got overwhelmed when Blogger started changing. I had a difficult time uploading photos. (All of you know that my life is told through photos.) I faced criticism from people. I got overwhelmed. I quit.

Quitting is not me. However, I have learned over the years that simplifying my life is the only way I will find time for what's important. I am not good at juggling multiple things. We were involved in dog rescue, therapy dogs, fostering dogs, I had five to six dogs here all at once, Tanker's epilepsy was challenging, Wes was working a lot, I have had numerous medical issues, and our marriage was feeling the stress.

I love to help others. It's in my blood. It's what I do. I volunteered at the animal shelter in elementary and middle school. I volunteered at the hospital all through high school. I was President of the Key Club my senior year of high school. I was President of Campus Crusade for Christ my freshman year of college. Wes and I both volunteered with Search and Rescue when we lived in Spokane, Washington. We have been involved in some sort of animal rescue our entire ten years of marriage. We trained Topher and Tanker to be therapy dogs and volunteered at least once a week for a long time. We volunteered with Delta Society to evaluate dogs testing to become therapy dogs. We've fostered dogs. We've fostered cats. We've helped a rabbit or two. We save pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart. We always put volunteer work first.

I became overwhelmed. Wes became overwhelmed. I faced criticism for standing up for what I believed in. I, essentially at that point, gave up. Tanker was attacked three times by foster dogs. I gave up fostering to keep him safe. We gave up our therapy dog commitments. We gave up doing fundraisers. I stopped standing up for what I believed in. I moved away from religion. I focused on my family. What's left when all volunteer commitments are gone? Wes, my dogs, cats, and fish.

All of a sudden my life became simple. I focused my love and life on the things that mattered most. Wes and I bought a camper. We started taking short trips here and there just to get away and de-stress. Our love grew. We turned our frowns around. We understood life. We focused on what mattered most. We then experienced peace, love, and joy like we never had before.

Wes on the day we bought our camper

Because my brother loved camping, we dedicated our camper to him.
Wes, the dogs, and I on Bald Knob in Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Hiking in the rain in Canaan Valley, West Virginia

A family photo in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania

A picture of the dogs in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania.  Tango is of course not paying attention.

Hiking in Pennsylvania

Prince William Park, Virginia

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Hiking the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Blackwater Falls, West Virginia

Blackwater Falls, West Virginia

Hiking Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Our campsite at Canaan Valley Resort, West Virginia

Wes trying to get cell phone reception in West Virginia

We saw plenty of bears in Shenandoah National Park.  The dogs always smelled them long before we saw them.  

Endless Caverns, Virginia

Hiking the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park

The Wiggles getting wiggly in Pennsylvania

We are thankful that last summer was focused on family. The dogs had a blast camping and hiking. We enjoyed making memories. We grew together as a family.

Last summer was our last summer together with Tanker. His epilepsy continued to get worse and worse until he went to the Rainbow Bridge on June 9th this year. Wes was at the NCO Academy in Florida. I was spending that time with my parents. Tanker was on six seizure meds and he continued having seizures daily. He could barely walk. He let me know it was time. Tanker passed away on a Sunday morning with his tennis ball. Tanker loved tennis balls.

Tanker with his tennis ball before he went to the Rainbow Bridge
He held his ball in his mouth for a few minutes before laying his head down.  He really loved his tennis ball.
Tanker's hair and paw print

The outpouring of love I received from people was astounding. I received cards, messages, pictures, and posts from others. It made me realize how loved Tanker was.

The morning after Tanker died, I received a sign from him that he was okay. A beautiful alarm sounded on my tablet at 9:30 when Tanker usually got a couple of his meds. His picture popped up as my wallpaper.

I had a strong urge to adopt another dog in Tanker's memory. I wanted a border collie like him. I wanted an older dog that was harder to find a home for, like Tanker. I found Shania. Shania had been trained to walk by her previous owner in a wheelchair and get into a car with a wheelchair lift. She reminded me of Tanker in so many way. Topher and Tango went and met her. It was an instant bond. It was like they always knew each other. I kept her name Shania because she knew it so well, but I added the name Tankerbelle in memory of Tanker.

Shania was in foster care for an entire year before I found her and adopted her.
The day I adopted Shania Tankerbelle
Even the cats warmed up to Shania quickly, but they were a bit curious before coming out from under the bed.
Our first walk together

We had Tanker cremated. The dogs came with me to pick up his remains. We planted a tree at my parents house in his and Blondie's memory.

Topher, Tango, Shania Tankerbelle, and I picking up Tanker's ashes at the emergency vet
The bag Tanker came in

Blondie and Tanker's memorial tree
I ordered pendants for us to always keep a Blondie and Tanker with us

Wes finally came home after almost seven weeks of being gone. He met Shania Tankerbelle for the first time and it was an instant hit. She loves him and he loves her. She will end up a daddy's girl.

Topher singing his love song to Wes

We are finally back home and life is getting settled. I want to start blogging again. Life is short and memories are easily forgotten. I love my family. My husband is my life. My animals are my passion. I want to remember it all. I don't know yet if I will stay with Blogger or move to something different. I may just open a new blog as we close this last chapter and open a new one. Until then we will continue smiling, choose to see the sunshine through the clouds, and planning our next camping adventures.

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