Many of you might know that we left our home in Santa Barbara as of June 1 as part of the transition towards deployment overseas. That involved what I like to describe as the mother of all garage sales, where we sold off literally 95% of our worldly possessions, hanging on only to our clothes, my theological library, and a few mementos we knew (or at least suspected!) would be worth putting in a storage unit until our eventual return from overseas work. And of course there was the sale of the house itself. By the grace of God this all went off fairly smoothly.
The one thing that didn’t immediately come to a smooth ending was our dogs. Opus and Milo are our beloved dogs who have been part of our family since they were three months old. They’ve grown up with our children and their antics have become legendary among our friends. But we knew we couldn’t take them with us overseas. Opus might well not have survived the trip itself. But Muslim culture sees dogs as unclean animals and we couldn’t allow that to be a hindrance to building relationships with our overseas neighbors. So we set about looking for a new home for them. We assumed it would be a pretty easy process. They’re good dogs, somewhat trained, handsome, and they love people. Plus we heard that because of the pandemic people were seeking out animal companionship. We just needed to find a family who would take both dogs.
That turned out to be difficult.
Despite the efforts of many of our friends to publicize their availability, we couldn’t find a new home for our dogs. Then we couldn’t find foster agencies that would take them. The clock was ticking and the thought of returning them to the dog pound was awful.
One of our friends (and a former parishioner and Confirmation student) agreed to take the dogs as we departed town, confident she could find them a new home. But as the weeks wore on, it became clear this was not going to be the case. People like to adopt dogs, but adopting two dogs – and not puppies – was another matter. Despite her considerable efforts, she wasn’t able to find a home for them. The clock was once again ticking. She wasn’t able to adopt them, and we never expected her to. Once again it seemed as though they were going to end up back at the dog pound where we had adopted them eight years ago.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen!
A foster agency by the name of Milton’s Mutts in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley agreed to take them in. Originally they had said they wouldn’t be able to until September or October due to renovations on their kennels. But when they realized our plight, they made an exception and received the dogs. They will work to rehome them together, working through their network of hundreds of supporters and foster families. And they promised that even if they couldn’t find the dogs another home, they would keep the dogs themselves.
We’re so grateful for this, and pray it will be a good home for Milo & Opus until they find a final home. Thank you for your prayers – God is good!