I caught the look of amusement on my husband's face as he overheard me telling a neighbor about our foster dog, Roo.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"That you're still calling Roo a foster dog," Geoff said. "Like she's ever going to be placed in a home other than ours."
"It could happen," I said.
"It could," said Geoff, "but only if she outlives both of us."
Roo was one of those well-intentioned experiments in insanity I find myself conducting every now and again. It's this compulsion I have to try to fix broken things. I've written about it before - how I'm attracted to old furniture buried under layers of paint, drawn to houses in need of remodeling, charmed by animals that routinely draw blood.
When I first met my husband, he was a mess, suffering terribly from the trappings of longtime bachelorhood. I relieved him of that. And when I first laid eyes on my daughter, she couldn't walk, talk or feed herself, yet I was thoroughly smitten. When she soiled herself, I knew she was meant to be mine.
And when I learned about Roo, I wasn't looking for a dog at all, not even a foster. We had two dogs already (plus three cats, two rats and a turtle). I heard Roo's sad story - rescued from animal hoarders (53 dogs in a single-wide trailer) and saw her cowering in the corner of the pen, sad-eyed and trembling.
She was quite effectively defective.
Enough so that we agreed to foster the 3-year-old, 13-pound dog that looked a bit like what might result from a romance between a German shepherd and a raccoon.
That was August. Here we are, at the tail end of December.