The line from Steve Miller Band’s song Jet Airliner, “you have to go through hell before you get to heaven” rang through my mind when thinking of this blog post. I was inspired today by our foster dog, Raven.
Years ago, my husband and I took in foster dogs but had to stop for a variety of reasons. Raven was an owner surrender and she wasn’t doing well in the kennel life (like most dogs) and my husband and I couldn’t stand the thought of her having to adjust to that life and decided to try fostering her. Things went well with our other pets and she is officially in our foster care now.
One of the benefits of fostering dogs is that it allows us to really get to know the dog and makes them much more adoptable. In just one day, I’ve learned so much about Raven. She is very calm and seems to have a great disposition. She is completely fine with my cat. She’ll give you her paw when she wants attention. She has so many redeeming qualities, many of which she is slowly starting to share with us, but the thing that bothers me the most is her complete and utter sadness. It is sole crushing to watch her walk around the house, go up to a stranger’s car, or stare out the door; all of which is her way of looking for her family. She has slept almost solid since we brought her home. She falls into a deep sleep and twitches and makes noises, telling me she’s finally able to dream. It is so comforting to me and my husband to know that she feels so safe here with us.
It started me thinking this morning how much Raven is like me when I was first coming off alcohol. And on this day of giving thanks, I felt a strange sensation of wanting to thank alcohol. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t drank all those years. I am so grateful for so many things in my life today that I wouldn’t have even thought of when I was drinking. Not only because alcohol numbed ALL of my senses, the bad and the good, but because I didn’t realize how good I could have it once I became free of this addiction.
Like Raven, I’ve been given the chance to start over. I had to go through hell before I could really appreciate everything in my life. I have leaned into family and friends for support. I’ve asked for forgiveness and forgiven myself.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family who have supported me along this journey. I am beyond grateful for my life and now so grateful to be able to pay it forward by helping others along their own journeys and also to be able to once again open my heart and home to these so deserving dogs, like Raven.
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