Fostering, Personal

The Hutchence Fam Fosters: Mowgli’s Story

Duluth dog photography

Tiny Beginnings

Mowgli came to us at five days old, alongside seven squirmy siblings. He began life as the runt of the litter, palm-sized & light as a leaf. The shelter sent us home with a bottle & formula, in case he was nudged aside by larger siblings as they nursed. In those early days, we kept a close eye on Mowgli. If he got trampled in the feeding frenzy, we’d plop him closer to milk opportunities. Much to our delight, the little guy was a fighter. He’d push his way through a pudgy mass of brothers & sisters, always the hungriest & most determined of the bunch. In the end, the bottle & formula went unused, while Mowgli grew and grew.

As weeks passed, he stayed petite by comparison, but soon surpassed his smallest sister. At four weeks, their puppy personalities began to shine. Mowgli quickly became our household favorite, always even-keeled compared to the crowd, with a habit for sitting & patiently waiting for food or affection. He became a semi-permanent fixture on my husband’s shoulder, a sort of fuzzy parrot who enjoyed couch-bound snuggle time.

When the babies grew old enough, Summit got to meet & interact with them. Mowgli clearly stole Summit’s heart, too, for whenever they saw each other, mutual butt-wiggling would ensue. Mowgli was never intimidated by Summit, but would instantly perk up, dishing out puppy kisses & pawing at Summit’s giant head. Summit would return the favor, in his dopey yet gentle way.

The Road to Forever Homes

Of course, if you’ve been following our adventure, you know fostering isn’t easy. A young litter of eight requires round-the-clock cleanup & care. When the babies hit eight weeks of age, we were practically euphoric: Soon, they’d be heading to forever homes and we’d get a much-needed break from Clorox wipes & kibbles. We had done the legwork of keeping eight tiny pups alive from day five to day 55 with no prior experience. We played an instrumental role in connecting the puppies with their forever homes, which was hugely heart-melting and gratifying. Throughout this adventure, we’ve received countless messages, emails, and texts from people who are interested in adopting, or who simply appreciate all the hard work that goes into rescuing animals. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! As of January 24th, all eight babies were spoken for & on their way to forever homes! Woohoo!

In this blog post, I answered some puppy FAQs, including the elephant in the room: “Are you adopting one?” to which my answer was always a firm, immediate “no!” The reasons were practical: “We want to keep fostering future dogs, so let’s not get carried away with collecting them,” or “I don’t want to be a ‘failed foster’ parent, because people will think we’re weak, impulsive, and ridiculous.” (Yep. Real talk. These are the things I worry about. Talk about ridiculous, right?)

A Big Surprise

The babies left our home last week for their spay & neuter appointments. After surgery, they were due back in foster care for another few days, but travel & work conflicts made us quickly realize the shelter was the best place for their post-op recovery. This unexpected twist hit us rather hard, as our goodbyes were expedited. However, an empty nest & three days of restful contemplation gave us the clarity we needed: Although we’d miss them, we were overjoyed to see seven of the babies heading to forever homes. But one particular puppy’s absence left a void. And while it’s probably no surprise to anyone (but us), the decision was clear & simple: Mowgli needed to come back home. With that, I am thrilled to announce that our family is growing by four paws. Welcome back, Mowgli!

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The Adventure Continues…

Cheers to our nearest & dearest fellow dog mom Amanda (JaneCane Photography) for these freaking adorable photos! Moving forward, stay tuned to my Instagram for continued updates. While you’re at it, follow the Adventures of Summit & Mowgli for unbridled cuteness! As for fostering, we still have mom (Rosemary) for another couple of weeks. If you are interested in adopting a sweet-tempered young adult, please drop me a note, or share this blog post with your friends. Cheers, m’dears!

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