For all the good news in the above paragraph, tonight is tough in the same way it has been spending our last days with the others we have fostered. They all bring something to us in combination with their own particular difficulties.
Below left, Angel (now called Maggie) was a former racer who was retired to be a breeder. She was incredibly wise and tender, but lacked any interest in walks or exercise in the time we had her because she just wanted company, food and peace. We hope her new owners go further than we had time to, in re-engaging her with the wonderful doggy world of smells and natural noises.
Below right, Rosie was frightened of everything when we got her. She had more neuroses than we could count- particularly her fear of men. But after a couple of months she followed me everywhere and was ready for her new home with Flynn, a lonely whippet and his 'mum'.
We've only been at this for some months, but all of these dogs are happily placed with people who needed them, and are themselves transformed from soon-to-be-exterminated gambling devices into wonderful companions.
So, like the other times, tonight is tough. We'd love to keep them all, but as Julia wisely reminds me, it is not about what is best for us.
I look across at Sooty, who is still a bit bolshy and territorial, and I remember how difficult it was for him to be loving and accepting of affection when we got him, and I remind myself that he had four trainers in his four years before we got him, and he had to compete all the time to get anything. In the end even winning a number of races wasn't enough to keep him alive, so I forgive him his moods, and I concentrate instead on the times he reaches out to me with his foot to indicate that he does want me to keep stroking him, even if he struggles to be overtly affectionate.
And he has been a star at helping these other dogs transform into family dogs. He is rock solid on our walks, and a role model in sniffing, hanging out and welcoming guests into our home. He has gravitas and dignity and when he comes for a cuddle, you feel blessed.