I admire people who foster dogs. They save them from a hopeless future, help them become family dogs, do the most challenging thing, say goodbye to them, and let another family have the extreme pleasure of welcoming them into a forever home.
The Nazario's dogs' mom Christine has welcomed several dogs into her home, and with the help of her pups, she has made them ready for adoption. One of her best teachers is a Shih Tzu called Benji.
Benji became the head foster teacher in the family and a much-loved member. He has the adorable Shih Tzu look with deep brown eyes, and he looks like she could have come from the same litter as my sister Blake.
Benji himself began his life with another family. When they moved and could not take Benji with them, they were fortunate to be neighbors with the Nazarios, who happily took Benji into their family, where he lived for many years. It is never positive when your family leaves you, but it can be a blessing when a family like the Nazarios is your second family.
This week, after giving the full measure of his devotion to his family, Benji, his body tired and his heartbeats expiring, went to sleep and woke up on the other side of the Bridge, looking up at the many dogs who had been his family members, lead by Maggie, another rescue.
Also, there were many dogs who the Nazario's had rescued and had gone to the Bridge after finding new forever homes. When you are a foster, you don't get to go back and thank the family who nurtured you. Often, you have hurried away with your new family with barely a chance to say goodbye. They do happen in dreams, but the complex reality of the world keeps humans from remembering them, so when a foster family dog passes, all the dog they rescued and many others join in, thanking and welcoming the new arrival.
Benji didn't think he had done much, he was just a dog to the best of his ability, but if you can accomplish that, it means a lot to parents and other dogs you have helped.
Now he has the difficult task of reaching his parents, the way he did all the dogs he helped, to give them the same lesson he had taught the fosters: He is here, will always be here, and will never leave them alone again.
The more you love, the worse the pain and Benji's parents helped him. If he can't get through to them in their dreams, he will send fosters full of love, so they are rewarded.
It is the least they deserve.