Monthly Archives: January 2012
I can’t seem to stop the tears that are freely flowing tonight and it’s days like this that I hate animal rescue. I feel helpless and hopeless. The other day, my mom asked me if I should really be in animal rescue. I told her that it was all I knew to do. She reminded me of how much I cry and how much time I spend on trying to save animals and how my health is suffering because of it. I reminded her that I was put here on Earth for this and while it’s so damn hard, it’s also something that I know I am good at. If I am feeling so much emotion, obviously I picked something that I care about very deeply.
I had a long day today and I am still fighting very hard to keep a mom and her 9 babies alive. Watching them, sometimes I question the decision I made to save their life. I didn’t do any of this to watch them suffer. I did this to watch them thrive and for them to prove the world wrong. Maybe the only thing getting proved wrong here is me. Again, I freaked out and I led the charge with my heart and probably didn’t think any of this through. Okay, I didn’t think any of this through… but sometimes, can’t we just pretend that we can change the world? Isn’t okay to sometimes have faith in yourself and your beliefs? Well, I’m not planning on being given this one. I’ve fought hard for it and in the end, I’ll know I did.
I sit here watching my cell phone and waiting for that call that I feel in my heart is going to happen at least once in the next few days. My eyes well up at the thought of it and my heart aches. I’ve had a bad feeling all day and for my entire life, I’ve had this special intuition. Many times in my life, I’ve been able to feel that something is going to happen. Yup, I’m loony but you all know that by now. I think of those 9 little babies, those 7 girls and 3 boys, and my dinner comes up in my mouth. I swallow it back down and start to cry again. I pray to God and any other forces out there that they protect Heidi and her pups from death. I ask for more time, just so the world can learn a lesson from all of this. Not the lesson of saving dogs or what happens in shelters, I’ve tried to teach those but no one ever listens. But, I want to teach the world to not give up, even when everything is against you. I want people to know that it’s okay to fight for something you believe in, whether that is yourself or someone or something else. I really want to win this one but I guess, I always want to win them all.
I look within myself and I ask if things don’t go as I planned, will I blame myself? A faint answer from in my heart says, “Yes.” My mind tries to tell me that it’s wrong to blame yourself for something like that, for having faith, but I am still struggling.
So, tonight I look up at the night sky and I hope I don’t spot a new star shining brightly. I know that’s terrible but sometimes, we need those stars to shine from here on Earth. Please, just give me this one…
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I don’t know how they do it, I don’t know how they do it. Today I helped save a dog from being put to sleep. Well, what’s so special about this dog? Why is she any different from any of the others that are saved every day? She’s special because she is a mother of 9.
When I heard that she was going to be euthanized, I jumped all over it. My heart ran with it and my mind and common sense was left behind. This isn’t new to me, I mean, I am who I am. There is nothing about me that says “emotionally sound”. I probably do all that I do because I don’t allow myself to think. If I get an idea in my heart, I am off and running and I am in 110%. I just couldn’t let something happen to this mom and her little babies. After sitting back and watching everyone else and waiting for the big move to be made, I saw that the move just wasn’t happening. I guess most of my friends are smarter than I am.
This morning, I called my vet and I explained the situation and the fact that the momma was ill and she had young puppies depending on her to stay alive. I asked if they would be willing to let me board her there until I found a solution and despite everything, they agreed. I truly have the best vet in the entire world. Around 1:00 today, I named the mom “Heidi” and she made her way to the vets thanks to a great rescue group called Unleashed. My friend Danielle stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park and I’m totally thankful. Without a willing rescue to pull her, she would have died. Danielle got her to the vets and Heidi has been there ever since.
On my way home I stopped in to check on her. I really didn’t think they would take me to isolation to see her but they were all over it. When I dropped in unexpectedly, a team formed around me and started giving me updates and then they started to urge me to follow them. We went through countless doors, down halls and stairwells, through more doors and finally arrived at one final door. What was waiting behind that door left me teary eyed and feeling empty inside.
The vet tech squatted down to the bottom cage and opened up both double doors. I asked her if that was a good idea since I found out AFTER the fact that the shelter believed her to be feral. She looked at me kind of funny and told me that she wasn’t feral, just a scared and sick mom. Before I could blink, the tech’s hand was inside the cage and was stroking Heidi and her babies. At one point, she even picked up one of the babies from under Heidi’s tail! Never did Heidi make a move or a sound. I felt kind of like an idiot at that point.
I forced my eyes to focus in on Heidi and allowed my mind to understand what was really happening. The moment I felt it, I was moved to tears. I reached my own hand out to stroke Heidi’s leg as I spoke to her and told her how sorry I was that she was so ill. Her breathing was labored and occasionally her mouth would open slightly as she would gasp for more air. My fingers began to tremble and my arm began to shake as I touched every puppy I could reach. With tears flowing, I tried to be positive and I silently vowed to each puppy that I would love them. One puppy stopped nursing and drug itself towards me and the open cage. It appeared that the puppy sat up and then he opened his eyes and looked right at me. I didn’t even know their eyes were open! I started checking all of the puppies and saw no others with open eyes! Those two cloudy blue-grey eyes bore into my soul and I swear I could feel that pup whispering back to me.
I thanked all of the techs and walked out to my car. Once I had it started, I broke down completely. Was I already giving up? Did I already give them all a death sentence? How in the HELL am I going to cope with this if I do lose them? Of course, I was met with silence. There currently are no answers so all I must have is hope and understanding.
I don’t know how they do it, I don’t know how they do it. How do rescues ever know when to back up and say, “There is nothing I can do.” When do they get smart and avoid situations that could have a terrible result? And most of all, how can they make their heart stop hurting so much? Does it ever go away completely or do they just carry lots of little dog and cat hairs on their sleeve for an eternity? Do you become immune? Can you just shut it all off? I guess I’m not at that point (and doubt I ever will be). If all that remains is a stray dog hair here and there, I’ll proudly wear it in remembrance.
For updates on Heidi and the pups, please read the comments section. I will be updating at least twice a day.
Animal rescue, it’s born inside a lucky few of us. Some people would consider it a disability or a form of mental psychosis. I haven’t exactly decided what it is. The highs and lows are what I would think could rival that of the hardest drug addict.
What is animal rescue? Well, if I had to sum it up in one word it would likely be “crazy”. How so, you ask? Well, you would have to understand a day in the life of someone involved in it. Within the period of 24 hours, we save lives and we lose lives. We advocate and we educate. We fight and sometimes, we choose to wallow in self pity and misery. Every second of every day we are faced with “life and death” issues for animals who can’t speak for themselves. And it’s a damn good thing they can’t talk because the world could not handle what they would have to say.
How many of you could look hear the stories of how someone wants to relinquish their animal because they had a baby or they got their period? Okay, I have never had the period excuse but when I am constantly bombarded with requests and notes of incompetence, my mind shuts down and all I hear is “la la la la”. Life changes for all of us, you aren’t special. Suck it up, Buttercup. My dog Bowser has been with me since I found him in a truck stop parking lot. He’s been through more than 5 moves (with one being out-of-state), he’s survived a severe car accident, he’s been on Prozac (which is NOT cheap) and medication that they give the astronauts for sickness. He’s had 2 major surgeries in the past 2 years and one time became so ill with pneumonia that he nearly died. Do you think those vet bills were cheap? Nope! The bastard has chewed up at least 15 mini-blinds in the past 5 years, eaten our mattress (twice) and once, he even remodeled my entire bedroom. You think your dog has issues? Try having one that in one night with a babysitter, he eats your bed, your blanket, both sheets, 4 pillows, he rips clothes out of your closet and eats them, chews a hole in the carpet, scratches your bedroom door AND chews off ALL of the trim around your door. My dog could have had a hell of a housewarming party the next day when all of that came back out. And don’t even get me started on all of the other stuff he has done in the span of 11 years.
So , why keep a dog after all of that? Well, when he wasn’t costing me thousands and thousands of dollars, he was catching my tears after I miscarried 3 babies. When he wasn’t digging holes in the backyard he was protecting my oldest son from being hit by a bully. When he wasn’t too occupied with tearing up everything in the house, he was taking the time to hand my infant child a toy that he had dropped off of his Exersaucer. When he isn’t being a Pitbull and eating my children or other people, he’s the center of attention and making sure everyone in the house gets to pet him. The reason why I keep him is that he is family and my very best friend. While he’s caused a lot of crap in my life, he’s also stood right next to me and my children and helped us get through this thing called life.
So, back to animal rescue, when you decide that you’ve had enough of your pet and you just can’t “deal” with them, do you have any clue what happens to them? Well, thankfully these things called angels were created to clean up your messes. These angels are here on Earth, covered in dog and cat hair, smelling like critter and fixing your problems. They have no life, no money and are possibly certifiably crazy. Their phone bills are huge and their vet bills are larger. They spend the day trying to save those animals you toss aside so carelessly. Every day they are given opportunities to help a life and are taxed with the pain of not being able to save them. The physical and emotional pain that these angels endure, day in and day out, is not something that you could handle. Who are these angels? Well, they are every day people who do extraordinary things. When you don’t care enough to care for your animal, these people are the one’s who step in. They whisper words of love in your former pet’s ear. The angels tell them all those things that you once told them and then the angels watch them die because you failed them.
Know that your life always has options. If something in your life changes, know that it changes for your pet, too. If you reach out for help with a problem, you can save your animal’s life. There are pet food pantries, animal rescue groups and countless other resources out there. Please don’t give up on them.
Tonight after I picked my boys up from school, we began the drive home and we made it… a block. It only took a block for me to get stopped in my tracks. Sitting expectantly right in the middle of the road was a black cat. I slowed my car to a crawl while my boys argued in the back seat. The crawl turned to a stop and I bit my lip in anguish as a car came barreling down the other side of the road and almost hit it. After the car passed, I rolled my window down and attempted to “shoosh” the cat out of the way. It looked up at me with its beautiful yellow eyes and let out a soft “meow”. I tried to be angry with it in an effort to get it out of the road but still nothing but smiling yellow eyes and “meow”. By that time the boys had realized something was going on. Within seconds, Paris had declared it homeless and in need of treatment. “Mom, you have to do something. You can’t leave it sitting there in the street.” I’m still stopped in the street and I notice that there is a line of cars behind me. Crap! I moved my car gently forward and off to the side of the road and was very careful not to hit the black cat that was walking along the side of it! Thankfully, everyone behind me saw and they knew to be careful.
Once I got safely off the road, it only took a few “kitty-kitty’s” before I was met with those yellow eyes and that now very firm “meow”. The cat looked in pretty great shape so I thought that I was just messing with someone’s cat that was outside for the day. I was sitting at the side of the road petting the cat and trying to silently convince myself of what I was going to do while my not-so-silent 7-year-old is in the back seat already thinking of names for the cat. “Paris, you know dad won’t let you have a cat.” “No, but you want to take care of it. We could hide it in our room.” I’m still sitting at the side of the road loving this meowing little beast while I try to figure out what I’m going to do. I reached in my car and I pulled out a bag of dog treats just to see if it was hungry. He was! He was trying really hard to eat so I knew I needed to get him some help.
Since it was nice outside, I drove all around the school and to all the houses and streets around it. I was asking everyone I saw if they noticed the cat and they all said no. I called Larry and told him that I wouldn’t be home for a while because of this cat and he only said, “It’s not coming here.”
I decided to just pick a street and grab the cat and go door to door. I skipped a few houses that looked empty and went to a house that seemed to call out to me. I knocked and when the man opened the door, I asked him if he recognized the cat and he said, “I think I do.” Since he said nothing else, I said, “Can you tell me what house he lives at”” The man looked at me and said, I think he lives here, I think this is my cat Lincoln who’s been missing since August.” “Do you mind if I hold him a second?” I handed him over and watched him carefully turn the cat onto it’s back to find a white spot on his belly. He ruffled the hair there and sat the cat down shaking his head as he did so. I looked down and the cat was already gone, off exploring the house. The man looked at me, still in shock and was explaining how his cat disappeared in August while he was in Las Vegas. He said that he’d looked for Lincoln for many months and never found a trace of him so he was just to the point of getting a new cat. I heard how he fell in love with the little furball when he got him from a Wal-Mart parking lot. The man thanked me over and over and I was still apprehensive over how all of this happened. What are the odds? Lincoln was sitting only 1 block from his home? Did he know he was close? Is that why he was sitting there meowing?
I walked back to my car and was greeted by the biggest smiles ever from my boys. Paris said, “This is why you can’t ever give up, Mom. You saved their life.” Granted, my child thinks having your pet saves your life and you know, maybe he’s right.
I don’t know why that cat was put in my path and why things worked out the way they did. In the end, it all comes down to the fact that if you lose your pet you can’t ever give up in the hope of still finding them, no matter how long they’ve been gone. Our animals are linked to us for a lifetime. Sometimes, they lose their way but if given the chance, they always can find it back.