Monday, November 14, 2011

Old Man Sam

Be positive. That’s what I’m trying to do. It’s hard sometimes… to see the good. Because there is so much bad. Everywhere. There are chained dogs with no shelter—starving & freezing to death. Pit bulls fighting each other for their lives. Puppy mills breeding dogs in deplorable conditions, while millions of others die in shelters every year due to the pet overpopulation. But today, I am trying to be positive, & here’s how I’m able to do that…
I remember the lives saved. I think about the undying hope in a wounded dog’s eyes… & watching that hope turn to joy… the joy of finally being safe, happy, & loved. I think about the amazing gift I am given each time I witness a dog being adopted by their new forever family. For many, this is the first time in their life that they have ever truly been home.
Recently I placed my long time foster Sam. Sam was a HUGE mess and EVERYONE told me I was trying to place the impossible dog, No one would want him..When I rescued Sam he was 9 years old, set in his ways, un neutered, and sporting a grapefruit size tumor that constantly oozed puss...My fabulous vet Dr James gave me a great deal on a neuter and grapefruit size tumor removal... After the surgeries and summer buzz cut Sam was quite the man! I knew Sam needed a family with land, love, and NO male dogs....Well after much prayer, lots of tears, demolished drapes, half eaten window sills, several dog fights, and a HUGE boarding bill...Sam found a family with a REAL RANCH IN ELKO NEVADA!!!! Despite some regrets and wonder if I had done the right thing by putting this little old man through SO much at 9 years old, I now know it was worth it and all he needed was someone to believe in him. He will never know how much he meant to me. He will never know that he is the one who really saved me. That I am the lucky one. It turns out, the family Sam found had no idea he was looking for them or vice versa. I can’t even describe the joy I feel when I hear about this old boy living his new life. Happy. Healthy. Loved. Adored. Cherished. It’s unlike any other feeling in the world. In my heart, I know that Sam is exactly where he was always meant to be. God just asked me to get him there.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fostering without Failure

I spent the better part of today at a HUGE adoption event. I could dwell on the sadness and how it breaks my
heart to see 100 cages full because of human irresponsibility BUT I wont because what good will that do?
There were several adoptions and many dogs are just now getting a chance to live the life they have always
deserved. So tonight as I lay in bed surrounded by my 4 dogs and 2 fosters, Lola and Jack I start to think.
As I lay looking at Lola and Jack I anxiously anticipate the bittersweet moment when they will move on
to the next phase of their lives... going HOME to their forever family.
I'll never be able to explain in words the immense joy and overwhelming heartbreak of that moment
. It’s like my heart, while so full of happiness, is going to break just a bit.
For a short while, these foster dogs are a major part of my life, our family. I pulled them from death,
right into my heart. I teach them to trust, to play, to share. I show them compassion for the first time
in their life, and I promised to love them always...
What a gift to give… Life. Love. Happiness. The holes in my heart are repaired by the joy of a family that is
now complete because they choose to adopt a truly amazing dog.
Yes, I take them in knowing that they will leave me, but the pain of their leaving doesn’t outweigh the joy
of the time I have with them. And my gift to them is happiness, every single day, for the rest of their lives.
The moment will come when Lola and Jack will leave me for another family. I look at my rescue babies and
all of the fosters before these two, and despite the pain, my heart longs for that moment. That moment
is the reason I do this. They deserve a family that will love them forever. A place to call home.
They deserve the life that they almost never had.I remind myself that another dog deserves the chance
to be rescued by me in their place. As one dog waits by the door for me to return, another waits on
death row for me to arrive. And the dog awaiting my return already has a family and the dog still
sitting at the shelter waiting for me does not even know what a family is. So my heart
WILL handle the pain, because another’s fate depends on my strength. Driving home
from the shelter I tell my latest fosters "You are safe and everything is going to be ok
. I promise." And then the cycle starts again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

After getting to know my latest foster dog, LOLA, I have spent ALOT of time thinking about the words "owner surrender". Lola is the dog who was too scared to eat, interact, or even leave her concrete cell at the animal shelter.....I had to pick up Lola in order to lead her out of the shelter....She was too scared to even venture to the front of her cage....6 weeks prior to meeting Lola, she was living in a home, part of a family! She meant something to someone. How sad is it that her life could change with just one car ride. Lovely Lola was staring death straight in the face......Our society makes it very easy to "get rid" of your pet. Honestly, it's even considered acceptable by many, which is highly disturbing. But I often wonder if this happens because people don't understand or accept the heartbreaking reality for the surrendered pet...and what it does to them.

If you've ever given up on a family pet, I think you should know what happened after you walked away. Or if you've ever considered it... then you should know the truth before you do. It's not about "how hard" it is for you. This is about them. I challenge you to care enough about them to hear their side of the story. It's your choice, of course... but it's a life-or-death decision.

I've rescued a lot of dogs. The neglected, the abused, the sick, the maimed, the elderly. In short, the walking dead. But some of the saddest cases I've ever witnessed... are the Owner Surrenders.

When a dog is taken from a horrific situation and brought into a loving environment like the K-9 Corral, it's honestly like Heaven for them. Suddenly, they have warmth and food and joy. Playtime and walks and fun. For the first time... they know love, and they love it.
But with Owner Surrenders, it's different...much different. When a dog was once in a loving home, and lived as a treasured family pet, their devastation upon abandonment is nothing short of heartbreaking. They don't understand.They can't understand. And so... they wait. I call them "the waiting."

These dogs are waiting... for their families to return. They're waiting... to go home. They're waiting... to go back to the forever they were promised.

With every day, every hour, and every minute, they're waiting for their moms and dads to come back for them. With every car, every visitor, and every walk outdoors, they're certain they're going home. With every breath, every blink, and every sigh... they're wondering where their families are. What's taking them so long?

In their eyes, there's the undying wish forhome. In their smiles, there's the unwavering hope that their wish will soon come true. And in their tiny bedtime whimpers, there's the slow realization... that they may never go home again.

In the early stages, most surrendered dogs never doubt for a second that their families will come back for them. So... they sit, they watch, and they wait. But over time... that wish becomes nothing more than a dream... and that dream becomes their worst nightmare.

It's beyond heartbreaking to watch them wait, day after day, for a family that won't be back for them. Especially when I can't help them understand... and even if I could... I couldn't bear to tell them. Obviously, some dogs don't know that they've been abandoned. But with Owner Surrenders... there's another heartbreaking group. The dogs that knowthey're being dumped. They just know. These dogs are often dragged into the animal shelter by their families... as they desperately try to resist the inevitable. Their eyes plead with their moms and dads, begging for a second chance. They'll use every ounce of energy to try and leave with a family that doesn't even want them anymore. And as that family walks away... these dogs will cry out for them: "Wait! You forgot to take me with you!!! Please don't leave me here! Please!!!"

Even though these dogs realize what's happened-- their devotion never wavers. They'll still wait, every single day, for the very family that dumped them. When anyone walks through the animal shelter, these dogs will eagerly press their faces against the cage... tails wagging... to see if their family has come back for them.

Then, the hope in their eyes is replaced with despair, as they realize that it isn't their family after all. They'll slowly walk back to the corner... the corner they now call "home" ... head hung... heart broken. And they'll repeat that same process... every single day.

In no-kill animal shelters, these dogs have all the time in the world... to wait for a family that will never return for them. But in kill shelters, Owner Surrenders are often killed immediately. Why so? Well, stray pets must be held for a certain number of days, in order to give their families time to reclaim them. But with Owner Surrenders, there's no mandatory hold time, which means they can be killed immediately. And trust me, if space is limited, Owner Surrenders will be the first to go. Check out Fort Worth Animal Care and Control or Dallas City Shelter.

Other pets may be given days or weeks... which will be spent waiting for their families. And when their time is up, they'll cry out for those families... as they are killed.

Sure, you can sit back and blame the kill animal shelters all day long, but they didn't dump your pet. You did.Basically, you handed them a very heartbroken dog, and said, "Here, you deal with this." Then, you turned and walked away, convinced that your dog would find a good home. All the while, millions upon millions of pets are being killed in shelters every year. You're certain that your pet will be the exception? Are you willing to bet his life on it??But that's part of the problem here... people are allowed to ignore the truth. Every day, pet owners are carelessly making major life-or-death decisions... choices that have the potential to ruin their pet's life... or result in their death. And sadly, there were so many other options...

Maybe you "feel bad" about dumping your pet. Maybe you even said, "I'm sorry" before you left them. But your dog doesn't need to hear "I'm sorry"... they just need "I love you." Because even after you dump them... they still love you. Every minute, they'll think of you. Every day, they'll wonder if you ever think of them, too. Every night, they'll dream of you... they'll wish for you. And believe me... they'll wait for you... until their very last breath.

They'd never believe, for even a second... that you actually left them to die. But even if they knew...they'd still love you anyway. That is what breaks my heart :(

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tonight, I am just writing from my heart. I don’t have one particular topic to blog about, but it’s just been one of those days where I need to say how I feel.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I love dogs, & all animals. I want to help them. All of them. But… I am just one person. One girl, trying to save the world. And sometimes, that wears on your heart. Your relationships suffer. Your health suffers. Your overall well-being is not that great, because you rarely put yourself first. But for me, it’s very worth it. I am incapable of not being this way. It’s what makes me… me.
I guess the frustration comes in when—day after day—you see these things happening, & you are one of few who is working to put an end to the suffering. I want to inspire people to get involved. To make a difference. In ANY way that you can. Every person is capable of making a difference in the world, but you have to ACT to make this happen.
All I ask, is that people do what they can to help. Whatever that is!