More often than not, rescue work makes me dislike humans even more; the ability some people have to dump and or harm animals never ceases to amaze me, not to mention hurt me to my core…….then again when I find really GOOD rescue people and or adopters, it helps remind me that there are still some good people left in the world.
I met my friend Katie well over a year ago. She runs a “real” rescue along with her husband and children……everyone helps but she does the majority of the work. I say “real” because they rescue tons of dogs from death row, and spend lots of time and money rehoming them all over the county. Not that I am not a real rescue but my volume of furry souls that comes to my house is tiny in comparison. One strong common rescue fiber we share is the fact we both pull the dogs in the worst shape…….the ones who are in horrible condition, the ones that not only adopters pass over but also the ones other rescue people walk past. (Too much money to rehabilitate and rehome.) Not to mention she rescues Pit Bulls, a breed that will always be near and dear to my heart.
She invited me over for Chili last night and to watch the kids set off fireworks. To be honest I almost didn’t go, simply because it was SO d@mn HOT out (98 degrees) and I didn’t feel like doing anything other than stretching out on the couch and drinking a bottle of wine. (It’s been a long week) Not to mention the fact, I normally prefer time with my animals over time with most humans.
BUT I said “yes” and went, I enjoyed the fireworks and good conversation……..not to mention the fact I got to meet the new rescue dogs. I have met most of her current crew, even been with her when some of them were pulled from the shelters they originated in, however it has been months since I was there and she recently brought it several special needs dogs. All of whom I wanted to meet.
- A puppy who has three legs after being caught in an illegal hunting trap….she had been dumped by his human and lived in the woods prior to his rescue.
- A bulldog who has severe skin issues.
- A small mix breed dog who came in with a broken jaw and a broken hip…OH and severely matted.
- A pit who had been tazed in the eye by a police officer during a house raid.
- A large male Great Dane who was really malnourished.
I am glad I went. I had a really nice time with Katie and family…….met all of the new rescue dogs, enjoyed the kids fireworks along with Mother Natures own fireworks (several hours of the best heat lightning I have ever seen…. while sitting out in the country under a dark big sky) and some excellent Chili.
Sitting there looking at each dog as she brought them out to meet me, hurt my heart. It is similar to the feeling I get while at the shelter, however without the feeling of desperation I often feel from the dogs when at a shelter. This sensation was more like, “How did these animals get here, in such sad shape.” It really is heart breaking. Take the dog who came in with the broken jaw and hip……after some treatment, antibiotics and a total shave down he was feeling SO much better……granted he still has lots of health issues, skin issues and a large sore on his back end but watching him move around the living room trying to charm all of us one by one, to scratch his rump… let me know clearly he had been someone’s house dog at one time………so in my mind, I cant get past….”How did he get here in such bad shape?” What happened? It seriously breaks my heart.
Some dogs come and you can tell then have never know the love of a human, they have never spent time in a house, etc. Others come and after a few days it’s clear someone loved them at one time and they know all about living life in a house with a family. Take my little rescue “Bently” for instance.
He was pulled by my friend Tara from a horrible shelter. After a few days of adjusting here, it was evident he had been loved by someone, he knew about going “bye bye”, knew he wanted to sleep with his human at night, and after a few days of reminders he was right back on track with being house trained. So what happened? Why was he dumped at that God awful shelter, who could leave a dog there that ever actually loved it?
I often think with the older dogs, “maybe his human passed and the family members didn’t want him”………..that was the case this past winter with a tiny red Chihuahua that I pulled from a rural shelter. His owner was 94 and went into a nursing home. His family after taking this gentleman to the nursing home, then promptly dropped this tiny, elderly dog with two cataracts off at this very rural shelter in the middle of winter. (*&^%$ A-holes)
All of my animals have stories……..at least partial stories.
- Bear was left at the shelter a second time (he was adopted as a puppy) after he grew too large (24 lbs) to live with his family in an apartment, they claim the landlord made them get rid of him. He was at the shelter 6 months prior to me pulling him and spent most of his time in a tiny cage. He was so depressed for months following rescue he would barely hold his head up to look at me, and wouldn’t make eye contact, he wouldn’t eat if anyone was in the room and he hid if you looked at him.
- Oreo was a Bears friend at the shelter, he had been left in his crate prior to coming to the shelter for about 23 hours a day, this made him have issues with the tendons in his leggs. He was a BBD (Big Black Dog) that no one wanted. He and Bear were set to be put down the next day, had I not pulled them.
- Fuzz was in such bad shape when I pulled her, she was matted horrible and was so terrified at the shelter that we literally had to throw a coat over her to get her because she bit anyone that came near her……she came malnourished and traumatized. She had a thyroid issue that had never been treated. She now goes everywhere with me, even to work with me on the weekends…
- Winston also came to me in physically bad shape and the owners dropped him off at the shelter and told them that he had lived outdoors (for 11 years) because they couldn’t potty train him. (He had to be sedated to be groomed, tried to bite anyone that came near him for months, needs daily eye drops……..and was house trained at my house within two weeks. He learned to love me on his own terms and I adore him……….he is now a permanent resident because of his age, health issues and fact he would rather bite most people than look at them……oh yeah, and he’s blind.
- Franny, was an escape artist at her former house, she came FULL of every kind of worm she could possibly get and was picked up by animal control several times, until her owner simply surrendered her. (They didn’t want to pay the $25 fine to get her out) She more than doubled her weight within 30 days of being at our house and has never tried to escape my fence in the 8 years she has lived here.
- And there is little Kiwi, the former Amish puppy mill dog. He was in over all bad shape, had seizures and terrified when he came. He had never know love of any sort and humans only meant harm to him…..it took him so long to love and trust.
I guess they all have stories…….but those stories, or lack thereof, never stop hurting my heart when I hear them… or I see them in that kennel at the shelter so broken mentally and physically.
Sometimes rescue work is so physically and financially draining on me, I often wonder how I can save another dog. I often tell myself, “this is the last one, I just cant do it anymore”……….then I get that phone call from the shelter and I hear that next story……