Now that Ashling's gone home (and her new family hasn't called me in tears to say the adoption was a terrible mistake, so hopefully she'll stay gone...), I'm on the hunt for one last foster dog to finish out the year.
There's a sweet-looking Golden Retriever mix in Georgia that I'm considering, although it would mean reaching out to a new shelter where I don't have any contacts, so I'm not sure it'll work out. I've sent a message to a volunteer there, though. It remains to be seen whether that dog needs help and, if so, whether the power of social networking will reach that far.
And there's another shy-but-sweet Lab mix in North Carolina who might be a possible candidate if the Golden doesn't work out. That's in Sampson County, where I haven't pulled a dog since the previous shelter manager was forced out. I don't know anyone on staff there anymore, although I do know a local resident who's been a huge help in the past.
And there's a pretty red Beagle at Robeson County whose time is slowly trickling down...
Flipping through all these faces -- just pictures on a computer screen for me, connected only tenuously to a real dog shivering in a chain-link kennel somewhere tonight -- is always a little bit of an exercise in masochism. I know what the save rates are at these facilities. I know that there is a huge, unfathomable gulf between the possible fates that lie ahead for these dogs. Not just who lives and who dies, but how they live, and where, and with whom.
Over time I have grown ruthless in weeding out prospective candidates. There are many dogs I don't even consider: too big to fit in my crate, too small to avoid being bullied by Crookytail, too old to make it up and down our three flights of stairs constantly, too young to hold their bladders in the crate. I won't take puppies anymore. I seldom take dogs that come up through the rescue network. I avoid behavioral cases.
I still find way too many dogs.