I welcomed 2016 by dropping off two sweet puppies that we fostered for 2 weeks. I loved having these puppies. I cried when I dropped them off so they could go find their forever homes. I knew that fostering puppies for two weeks would bring sadness when I had to let them go. I also knew that even though I told my fiancé Mark, I wouldn’t ask to keep one, that I definitely would. And I did. Of course we couldn’t keep them, but I didn’t allow the impending sadness of departure to keep me from loving fully in the moment or being present. I walked into 2016 creating space and having loved hard. And I walked into 2016 with 17 life lessons from fostering these cuties.

  1. It is important to protect the innocent.
  2. Ask for what you want and need – even if you fear the answer may be no. Ask anyway. It’s the way you take care of yourself.
  3. Naming things gives the living a sense of belonging and of being loved.
  4. There is no appropriate time line on falling in love. It can happen as fast or as slow as you allow it.
  5. It is important to have a person you can go to when you need to feel safe in the world.
  6. Make time to play.
  7. It is important to not allow your caretaking to be your sole sense of purpose; for when the things you take care of leave, you will feel lost.
  8. It’s important to pee in the right place – otherwise there’s a lot of cleaning up.
  9. Daily walks make life more enjoyable.
  10. Food should be enjoyed and sometimes devoured.
  11. Sometimes it’s fun to please people, and sometimes it’s fun to do your own thing.
  12. Always check your poop – it’s an indicator of health.
  13. Snuggling and cuddling makes the hard work feel worth it.
  14. When living things cry, they need something – sometimes food, sometimes water, sometimes a walk, sometimes to be held.
  15. Our time with those we love is limited; it’s important to be in the moment and feel the joy instead of grieving the future departure before it’s here.
  16. It is important to allow the things you love to go when it is in their best interest.
  17. Know when to Love Hard. Know when to Let Go.