Comet | Our Forever Foster | A Life Of Dogs

We have had many dogs pass through our doors. Some dogs we were fortunate enough of share long portions of our lives with and others not so much. We have had a propensity for takin in dogs that have unique challenges. Some life events perhaps could be foreseen others could not. And every tale of the life of a dog spent with humans comes to its own unique end under unique circumstances.

We first met Comet at a local dog event we attended. Comet was there with a rescue organization. The rescue organization had saved him from a shelter. Comet had a sad and troubled past as can be the case with shelter and rescue dogs.

Comet at Ithaca Dog Fest: Where we first met

Comet has some deep seated fears and anxieties. He was dog selective and often people selective as well. He didn’t always like strangers. When we met him he presented as pretty friendly. He seemed to like us well enough anyway. But he was pretty clearly the kind of dog who could become overstimulated and then become less predictable.

Comet found us and Comet claimed us in a way no other dog had. A dog that didn’t always love other humans clearly had some affection for us. The rescue needed a place for Comet to live until he could be adopted. Eventually Comet came to stay with us as a foster dog until he was adopted. He needed us in his life for his life to continue. And that can be a really hard thin got say no to when you are a person that loves dogs.

Life with Comet was complex for him and for us. A dance of two steps forward and two steps back until eventually the dance couldn’t keep going. Comet lived life the best he could and we gave him the best life we could.

Part of the story of Comet’s past was that he was attacked by larger dogs. That made him mostly incompatible with dogs larger than him. He was instantly on the defensive. The challenge for us and his living situation with us was that most of our dogs were large dogs. Those just happen to be the breeds we love the most.

So, Comet could not be free to roam our house and interact freely with our other dogs. We were able to make arrangements for him that kept him and our other dogs safe. It was often a tight rope walk and it was an imperfect one at that.

The wildest part was that Comet absolutely loved our dog Brynn who was a pit-bull mix and was roughly the same proportions as him. This was amazing for him. Now Comet had a channel for socialization outside of myself and my wife. I think this canine socialization was really what made his life with us worth living when he first came to us.

Comet also befriended another foster we had named Chloe

Comet and Brynn had very similar play styles and they would play relentlessly. Watching them together was a joyful experience. Brynn just brought joy to all aspects of our life and that included this foster dog that we really were not sure how to incorporate into our lives at first.

One of the hardest decisions we had to make along this journey was when we decided we could no longer have Brynn and Comet together. One day we were taking the two of them somewhere in the car and an altercation ensued. We decided that after that it was not safe for them to be together anymore. We did not want anything bad to happen to either of them. And we didn’t want subsequent altercations to necessitate us relinquishing Comet. In our experience once dogs stop getting along it doesn’t usually get better.

Comet playing with one of his favorite toys

Despite Comet’s challenges that made life with him complicated there was nothing better than seeing the unadulterated joy in his eyes when he was playing. Comet loved to play. He enjoyed toys and bones. But letting Comet, a hard luck dog from a shelter, outside to run free in the yard was the kind of thing that just fills your heart. You know in that moment why you do the things you do to make this life possible for just one dog.

Comet bursting across the grass full on zoomies is an act of pure joy. Sometimes he will grab a ball or the toy from the yard and try to carry it on his burst of speed through the yard. But he is so focused on running that he often drops the toy and then spins around to recover his dropped precious and continue on his adventures outside.

Comet my not have been officially our dog but spiritually he was ours and we were his. As our dog we treid to include him in as many things as we could that the other dogs did. Even though he often had to be separate he was still on eof ours. If the others got bones, Comet got a bone. At Christmas Comet got presents too and we would go downstairs and watch him open them.

Comet opening his Christmas present

We would try to spend time with him just doing normal everyday stuff. Going to his part of the house and just siting on the couch and watching TV with him. If the power was out or there was a storm and Comet was scared, my wife would go downstairs and sleep on the couch with him.

I think Comet really enjoyed it when over the last few years I got more into cycling. I hooked up a road bike to a bike trainer so I could ride it indoors (in bad weather). Actually I almost exclusively rode my bike indoors. But that allowed Comet time to be around me more. Comet would often stand on the arm of the couch, right next to my bike, and like the sweat of my arm.

Over the last few years Comet began to visibly age more. Going gray in the muzzle. Gaining weight despite getting the same amount of food.

Comet began to need more time and encouragement to get through daily activities. Going outside. Coming back into the house. Getting fed. Going back to his kennel. All of these activities required an ever increasing amount of treats to encourage him to do what needed to be done. Perhaps this contributed to the weight gain.

Comet sitting on the couch

I don’t know if he was scared or as he was aging his senses were declining and that made him more weary of any activity at all. Where most dogs we have had quickly settle into a routine and follow it easily even to the point where they are in their kennel waiting to eat before we get there or ask Comet was, I guess regressing.

Eventually Comet told us through his behavior that life on this physical plane was more than he could handle any longer. And then we were faced with the decision no one ever wants to make. These decisions are never easy, but for anyone who has had to make them based on behavioral and psychological factors rather than physical factors it is a different kind of agony.

Comet came to live with us in October 2015. He lived with us for almost 7 years. Comet was nearly 10 years old. This dog who chose us. Stayed with us as long as he could. We had more time with him in our lives than many other dogs we have had.

We impacted his life and he impacted our lives for good and for ill. I don’t know if any arrangement like this is 100% positive for anyone involved. Everyone is making sacrifices. There have been many times I doubted. Times I questioned if we were really doing what was best for Comet. Are we doing enough for Comet? Is there more that we could be doing?

I like to believe we provided the best life for him that we could. Maybe someone else could have provided a better life for him, but he didn’t find them he found us and I hope we were enough.

We could not have done this without the amazing support from the rescue organization who we were fostering Comet through. They offered every support we could have needed to make Comet’s journey through this world as safe, peaceful, and enjoyable as possible.

It is only fair that our dog named Comet is now out soaring free through the cosmos.

Comet playing with his toys inside

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