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I Don’t Know How They Do It

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.