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Remington’s Story

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– another “failed foster”   vcli rescue dog remington

Remington’s story began with a phone call from Stephanie. It went something like this: “Hi guys, it’s Stephanie Fischer. Not sure if you’re not answering because you’re out with your boys or because you saw that it was my number – give me a call!”

Like many members of VCLI, I had responded to Stephanie’s request last January to help foster some Vizsla pups in need. Although my husband Gary and I didn’t necessarily think we wanted a 4th V at the time, we both knew that we would always open our home and our hearts to foster a dog if there was a need.

When I returned Stephanie’s call I learned that she had already located foster homes for the pups, but my email message reminded her of another home that was looking to place their V in foster care while Stephanie worked on locating him a “forever home.”

Stephanie went on to tell me all about Remington, a 3 ½-year-old male, and how he had recently become a handful for his owner Bill who had been forced to take on additional work hours over the past year. Although he was still able to let Remington and his sister out periodically throughout the day, Remington wasn’t getting the exercise or attention he so desperately needed. As a result, he was becoming more and more destructive. Stephanie went on to say, “it would great if you guys could foster Remy for a bit and let me know what he’s like, then I’ll know what kind of home he needs.”

All of this sounded fine but after driving 17 hours each way to Kansas City to rescue Jasper, our 5 year-old V, I wasn’t sure that I was up to another lengthy “road trip” to pick up a dog. Stephanie asked, “have you ever heard of Port Jervis, NY?” I nearly laughed out loud.  I know Port Jervis well and after talking to Gary, confirmed that it’s only about 45 minutes from our house.

vcli rescue dog remington looking out the window with flowers in avase in the foregroundStephanie had me call Bill directly and I soon learned that Bill had actually spent the first dozen or so years of his life living in West Milford, the town where we reside. He moved when he was in the 5th grade. It would later come to light that Bill and my husband Gary grew up knowing a lot of the same people and places. It was still a small lake community 50 years ago so it wasn’t very difficult to know everyone who lived in the area.

After a few phone conversations with Bill, we arranged to pick up Remington on neutral ground; a ball park that’s only 5 minutes from our house.  “Sancap” is nice because it’s totally fenced in and dogs who are just meeting each other for the first time can “escape” if they want but they’re still safely within the confines of the park.

So, on a very cold Saturday morning in late January we met Bill, his mom, and Remington at the park. Despite the fact that we were all suffering from numb fingers and toes, we stayed there for several hours while Bill got used to us, Remington got used to our boys , and the boys got used to Remington.

Saying “goodbye” to Bill that day was incredibly difficult and tears were shed by all. There was vcli rescue dog remington with his new friendsno question that he loves Remington dearly but he was doing what he felt to be best for him. I admire his courage and have often thought to myself, could I do the same? Could I be that unselfish?

We had some minor snipping during the first 36 hours that Remington was in the house but after that it was as though he had always been here. And although neither my husband nor I were ready to admit it, he was quickly working his way into our hearts.

I took Remington for one of our standard 3-hour hikes that first Sunday and he absolutely loved it. He’s a natural hunter and had his nose under every bush, rock, and tree stump. He was pretty tired that night, but would be ready for more the very next day.

In the weeks that followed, we’ve watched Remington warm up and blossom. He is a totally sweet and gentle boy (much like his owner Bill, who is a gentle giant himself). He loves car rides, dog toys, and playing with Jasper and Wilson (in fact, the 3 young ones are virtually inseparable!). He has also loves to cuddle and on many evenings he can be found in Gary’s arms as we sit in front of the fireplace. He also has the funny habit of chasing shadows or lights that are reflecting on the wall or floor. He is endlessly fascinated by those lights which can be a bit of a challenge since we use flashlights when we take them out for their final potty break each night! But I would have to say that Remington’s greatest love is the snow. We had a fair bit of the white stuff this year and Remington could always be found burying his face in a fresh mound, eager to uncover whatever lay beneath it. It’s safe to say that he genuinely enjoyed every snowy outing this year unlike Wilson (our youngest V) who would still, despite his Ruffwear overcoat, get cold when the snow hit his belly.

Also during these weeks we provided regular updates to Stephanie and stayed in touch with Bill, mostly by text-messaging him regular updates on how Remington was doing. We were both touched by how appreciative Bill was of our willingness to foster Remington and he did admit early on that he really hoped that we would consider moving beyond being a foster family to adopting Remington; that knowing he was staying with us would make him feel better about his decision to give him up.

In early March, about a month after that cold Saturday morning, I reminded Gary that, “we really need to call Stephanie.” After having spent several weeks with Remington we needed to give Stephanie a more thorough understanding of what Remington was like, his quirks, habits, and any peculiarities that we had observed so that she could perform her matchmaking magic, and find him the perfect “forever home.” Gary turned to me and said, “are you kidding me, he’s not going anywhere.” In fact, my husband would later confess that he knew from Day 1 that Remington wasn’t going anywhere.

I waited a few more days before calling Stephanie. I wanted to be sure that Gary was really comfortable with the prospect of keeping Remington permanently and with once again being a 4 V household. We had lived with four once before, Wilson had become the fourth in April 2011 but we would we lose our beloved Tanner to a nasal tumor that June.

When I finally called Stephanie, she knew that something was up from the start. I began with a rather elongated, “Welllll…,” to which she responded, “Do I have another failed foster on my hands?” “Yup, ‘fraid so,” I replied.

We relayed this decision to Bill right away and he was – quite simply – ecstatic. Giving up Remington was undoubtedly one of the most difficult things he’s ever had to do and he seemed to take comfort in knowing that Remington would be staying with us.  We’ve already made arrangements to meet for a hike once the weather breaks. We know that Bill is looking forward to seeing his boy and we look forward to showing him that he’s doing “just fine!”


Jennifer Lehr & Gary Sipila


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