I’m a big believer in Fate, and I’m really lucky that she stepped in and brought Raya into my life.
A little over 5 years ago, my husband and I were fostering for a local dog rescue. We’d adopted our third dog, Emma, from them and wanted to give back. By the spring of 2016, we’d fostered a handful of dogs, and even though sometimes it was hard to say goodbye, we hadn’t foster-failed. We already had 3 residents of our own and 3 dogs plus a foster (or two) was good enough for us!
That spring, I decided I wanted to foster a dog with heartworm disease, because I wanted to be able to help more within the rescue than just fostering healthy animals. The rescue found me a dog named Thea in Missouri who was heartworm positive, and my husband and I were ready to take care of her in whatever capacity we needed to.
About the time we’d agreed to take in Thea, I was asked by the president of the rescue if I could travel with her to Missouri to do the rescue run. She hadn’t found a volunteer to go with her, and because I wanted to learn more, she asked if I was game. I happened to have the days off that she needed (thanks Fate) and I said sure. We were set to travel from the Twin Cities to Missouri to pick up 11 rescues.
The night before we were to leave for Missouri, I found out that Thea turned out to be heartworm negative. I was so happy for her! I also found out there was another dog, Raya that had come up as heartworm positive (Fate again) and asked if I could switch. The fosters that were meant to take in Raya could not handle the restraints that a heartworm positive pet needs. I found out that Raya was a 4 year old dachshund, a breed that my grandparents had always had when they were alive. I miss my grandparents dearly, so of course I had to say yes to their favorite breed!
The drive to and from Missouri was long, and taking a tour of the shelter we were helping was very eye opening. Although I got to meet several of the dogs we would be bringing back, Raya was not available for me to meet as she needed to be kept as calm and quiet as possible. For those that don’t know, heartworm disease is one in which there are heartworms inside the dog, and if knocked loose they can be potentially deadly.
The next day, I met Raya for the first time. She’s a beautiful dog, with dappling along her head. She was also very sick – in addition to heartworm disease, Raya also had a terrible upper respiratory infection, and she had green discharge coming from her nose. She was a mess, and I just wanted to help get her back to good health.
In the two months that followed, I quickly fell in love with Raya. Because Raya was so sick, my husband and I chose to sleep in separate rooms – Raya stayed with me, and our other dogs stayed with him. Although we had a strict rule that fosters are to be crated, I broke that rule and let Raya sleep in bed with me. We cuddled every night, and as she went through her treatments (which can be painful and hard on the pet’s body) I made sure to keep a close eye on her.
As we helped her get healthy, I couldn’t help but start to think about what it would be like for her to be adopted. And just the thought of Raya not being with us made me burst into tears. The longer she was with us, the more in love with her I became. I started to believe that my grandparents had sent her to me. As I mentioned, they always had dachshunds, and I was always so close with them. Raya wasn’t even supposed to be with us, and somehow she ended up being our foster, one that came to us through my very first rescue run.
The day came when Raya was deemed healthy and free of heartworm disease. She was ready to be adopted.
And I just couldn’t do it. I would cuddle with her in bed in the early morning and try to wrap my head around her being gone. Just the thought of it was enough to break me down. I’d never felt like this with any of our fosters – and I haven’t felt that way since either (and I’ve even fostered other dachshunds since then). There was something about Raya that made her special.
Thankfully, Fate had one more twist for me. The same day that I went to Missouri on that rescue run, I found out I’d been hired at a veterinary clinic. And with that job came 3 free wellness plans. Which means the preventive care of 3 dogs would be free for me, as well as a hefty discount for anything not free.
My husband and I decided Raya had already found her family with us. And because of the twists that Fate threw at me, we were able to make it happen financially as well.
Raya has lived with us for over 5 years, and I’m still convinced it was meant to be. I call her my soulmate, and all the clients I see at work who have dachshunds know I’m the dachshund girl. Raya is perfectly healthy, and we make sure that she and our other furkids get their heartworm preventive, because Raya helped to drive home how utterly important it is.
And best of all, I have my sweet soulmate girl, who reminds me that rescue and fostering is so important; who also reminds me of my grandparents every single day. Some people may think that dogs are just animals. But my dogs are my babies. And Raya is that special little girl that came into my life through twists of Fate. I will never forget that.
Krysten is the blogger behind Why Girls Are Weird. She writes about life, love, books, rescue life, and all the things that make her life a little weird. Krysten lives in River Falls, WI with her husband Izzy, and her four dogs – Monte, Roscoe, Emma, and Raya.