More so than anything else, leaving behind my two precious kittens was what killed me the most as we were leaving the US for Taiwan.
We got Roma and Buggy the week after we got back from our backpacking trip through SE Asia in 2011.
The girls spent 1.5 years with us and we loved them dearly.
The first thing we asked when the school representatives from IBSH took us out to dinner in Boston was: can we bring our cats.
They said yes.
Which, technically, was true.
It wasn't until we landed back in Seattle and started sifting through the process that we realized: no, no we could not.
In order to move any animal to Taiwan, a rabies free country, one has to undergo a strictly laid out process. We would have needed six months and $8,000 USD, $4000 per cat, to do so.
We only had four months and were living paycheck to paycheck.
We were simply devastated.
Our cats were our family.
We tried to find them a home with friends and family but could not. In the end, we had to take them back to the same no-kill animal shelter we picked them up from in the first place.
It was easily one of the hardest things I've had to do.
However, this story improved dramatically one day when I was emailed by the animal shelter and told that a lovely couple adopted our girls. I was even happier when that couple contacted me and sent pictures of Roma and Buggy lounging in the sun at their beautiful home.
And over the past 10 months in Taiwan, we've tried to pay it forward too by co-fostering two dogs: Dr. Gus Bojangles and Lady (can you tell which one Sean and I named and which one Luke and Jamie named?)
Bojangles was with us for about three weeks before tragedy struck back home and we had to leave. We got to spend another week with him when we got back. We were worried about him because we had no way of contacting the people who adopted him. They only spoke Mandarin. However, it made our day when we received an email with pictures of Bojangles and his new family up in the hillside playing around.
Then, it was Lady whose story is still unfolding. She's this spitfire puppy who is currently being fostered by a family up in Taipei until she finds a permanent home. She was too green for us to handle; in the one month we co-fostered her, Jamie and Sean were stuck at home most of the time because Lady could not be left alone. If she was, our whole building complex would hear about it.
I think for the time being we're done fostering animals. We travel too much. We're heading to Japan next Wednesday and then over the summer we'll be traveling a lot too: Vietnam, South Korea, and the Philippines.
But for the time being, it makes me happy to know that our girls are happy in the states with their new people and these two dogs are safe and well loved and off the streets.
Now that's making lemonade from lemons.