A month ago I was making a donation to a great organization when I stumbled upon a group on Facebook that helps kids in foster families hopefully get placed in a loving and nurturing home. Our donation will send a kid to camp for a week this summer in upstate New York. This camp was founded by two very kind and generous people who were themselves orphans and met as they were seeking out their birth parents. The day I found out about this organization just happened to be on the eleventh anniversary of my father’s death — fate. He was an only child who was orphaned at 17 — his parents died one month apart. Fortunately for my father, his best friend’s family took him in and he had a shot at having a better life. This fated moment on Facebook was a powerful experience.
Then, immediately after sending the donation I received an email from the Scottish Terrier Club of New England (STCNE). We were being informed that, if interested, there was a six-year old Scottie named Tuppence who was in a foster environment — it was with the same foster family that was the nexus for MacTavish, our recently lost Scottie. Scott and Michelle Putnam from Hingham, Mass., who are wonderful folks, foster Scotties. They have three Scotties of their own. Moreover, a week after all of this transpired my wife was heading down to Port au Prince in Haiti to help at an orphanage run by a woman named Madame Eveline. My wife has been down there four times. Note well the theme of adoption in this column.
Life just happens when we get out of the way and let it do what it does. This all started while noodling around on Facebook and it unfolded from there. I forwarded the STCNE email to surprise my wife — it did just that. She was simply beside herself. My wife’s a big Mary Poppins fan, and years ago when she lived in England she brought home a “Two Pence” coin, and then had it made into a pendant. This coin will eventually find itself on Tuppence the Scottie’s collar. It must be noted that this whole series of connections happened in about two hours. Furthermore, I’d just submitted a column to my editor at The Block Island Times, titled “The Highlanders,” as a farewell to our recently deceased Scottie, MacTavish. Then life happened, and did what it was supposed to do, and Tuppence became a perfect fit in her newly adoptive family.
When we brought Tuppence home we took her and Sailor — our adopted Cockapoo — for a walk around the block so they could meet on equal ground. When we brought them into the house they got along fine. Tuppence had to give Sailor a well-placed “woof,” to draw a certain boundary, and it’s been peas and carrots since then. This little Scottie has an interesting backstory. She came from a family including: a Westie, a.k.a. West Highland Terrier, a German Shepard, a cat and a bird. So, hanging out with Sailor is probably a little less exciting. But, there is never a dull moment at our house. For example, there is always the mailman to bark at — like clockwork every day. Also, hopping in the truck and hitting the coffee shop is a favorite morning drill. Eventually, Tuppence will come for a sail with me. Sailor hates sailing.
When Michelle and Scott foster a Scottie, they try to find an adoptive family as soon as possible—because the dogs and people get attached. The family must be thoroughly vetted before the foster family will release the dog. Michelle and Scott said that Tuppence was a great dog, and that she was only with them for a week. “Her temperament is so sweet,” she said. Her husband agreed. As stated earlier these people have three of their own Scotties; however, it is very hard to part with their temporary charges. “You wonder about their journey and what disruptions it causes these little guys,” he said. Continuing, Michelle said, “If you guys couldn’t have her, we would’ve found a way to keep her.” When the chemistry is right, you can see how this can easily happen. Scott and Michelle knew that we would give Tuppence an exciting and loving home.
So, another Scottie will have another shot at a better life. Moreover, this adoption coupled with helping foster children go to camp for a week this summer, makes me and my wife feel good about our decisions. Moreover, we will try to volunteer at the camp next summer — maybe we can bring our adopted dogs! My father taught us to be kind to people who are in a tough place. I know he meant the same for dogs, because we all brought home strays when we were kids. I look at this whole experience as a salute to my father’s selflessness, and I know he thinks me and Cindy are doing a good thing. I can feel it. It is a legacy to be proud of.
Find out more about The Felix Organization here: http://www.thefelixorganization.org/