Friday, December 09, 2005
3 Names, 2 Owners and 1 Dog: Part 2The foster family had adopted Caper after fostering him for two months. They changed his name to "Tyson" because he was such a tough guy, and sent me an email about how much they adored him and how pleased they were to have him in their lives.
About one week later, that happy, glowing email fresh in my mind, the EBSPCA heard from a rescue worker that his New Orleans owner who had found his photo on Petfinder and our web site. Her address matched the house where he was rescued from the second floor, safe from flood water by about 10 feet.
When asked if they wanted, and if they were in a position, to take the dog back, M.M., the dog's original owner, said, "We want him back, we need him back. He is the only thing we have left." The bodies of their other dog and two cats were found in the flooded home. M.M. offered to send his adopted family regular photos and updates, but hoped his new family would understand. They just wanted him back.
K. called the new family and let them know that the original family had come forward and that we'd verified that they had been his owner. She pointed out to both parties that the foster family was under no obligation to return him. I kept looking at Tyson's picture on my fridge that night, worrying about his adoptive family who loved the dog so much and his owner in New Orleans who had lost so much but had now found her dog-- and also found out that he wasn't hers anymore.
After an emotional day of thinking and soul searching-- and probably cuddling Tyson a lot, his Bay Area owners let us know that they wanted to do the right thing, which for them was returning the dog to his New Orleans family. As if that weren't thoughtful and generous enough, the foster also tentatively booked a flight for herself, her boyfriend and Tyson, since on her foster application, she had written that if his owner claimed him, she'd willing to take him back to New Orleans herself. She wanted to keep her word.
She and the owner had a nice chat (for over an hour!) on the phone and arranged to meet in New Orleans where she can hand deliver the dog to his prior home, where he lived before the hurricane changed everything. For a family who has lost so much, and whose home and city are so changed, it will mean the world to them to have their same Meeko back tomorrow.