I don't like to fail. I was raised to succeed and have worked hard to be successful in my personal and professional life. I've had failures and have learned from them. But this latest failure had taught me a very important lesson:
I cannot foster cats.
Welcome to the colony Bernie S. Goldberg
I never intended to adopt Bernie. My daughter Mimi was home for vacation, and I read a post from Bernadine (whom I had never met) on a Facebook Lost & Found page. She was desperate to get this cat rescued from a very bad and dangerous situation. I thought I would get him and hopefully Paws & Whiskers - a fab shelter that I volunteer for - would be able to take him in. Well I did but there was no room at the inn.
I'd never fostered before and thought we'd just keep him for a week or too until room opened up. Bernie (get it - Bernadine rescued him) was very timid and afraid. It took him a couple weeks to come out of our mudroom. I worked to gain his trust and he was responding well.
Friends helped me create flyers, share them and give me leads on people who might be interested. Paws got him vet care, neutered him ( I don't think he was too happy about that) and I told everyone we wouldn't adopt him. We already have 4 in the house and 1 barn kitty. He met a potential family and although they really liked him, it didn't feel like the best fit.
Then it happened. Bernie disappeared.
At first I thought he was hiding in the house but he wasn't in his usual places. My son was home for the weekend and I thought Bernie was just nervous over another person in the house. We tore the house apart. Pam from Paws even came out to help me look. I talked to a pet psychic. I was willing to try anything. I felt like such a failure because he was trusted to me to take care of him for them and I had lost him.
After four days of being heartsick over losing him I realized he had to be outside. But where? We have so much land and fields, I'd never find him.
I reached out to some fellow rescue people around me.They were supportive and willing to help. One even had a night vision camera we could put up to see if he came to the deck at night to eat. I knew if I found him I would immediately drive to Paws and put him in the shelter so I'd know he'd never got lost again.
On night five, we had just gotten home from the Farmers' Market. It was dark and as I was unloading the car, I was calling him. I went into the house to get some cat food and went back out to the deck. I did a double and triple take. There was Bernie sitting with Geno, Leo and Too Shy. He just looked at me and hid behind the table. I got some treats and very slowly moved towards him and he came up to me. I grabbed him and took him inside. I cried and cried. I was so sure he was gone for good.
Roland was happy to see him too and said again what he had mentioned the week before. We should adopt him. Bernie fits in with our cats - is learning to stand up to Reuben- and now will sleep on the couch with Roland.That is Roland's test of a cool cat.
So we now have 5 -count 'em - 5 indoor cats. I am even more of a crazy cat lady.
And no I will never foster again. Even though I failed miserably, we all won in the end.