Wednesday, December 15, 2010

At Death's Door... A Story From the Frontlines at the Kill Shelter.

" A story of the power of prayer, the determination of rescuers, the love of a foster family & the open hearts of a forever family..."

If you have never been to a kill shelter, please find it somewhere in your soul to visit one to understand what it is like for any animal going in to one, whether it be surrendered by the owner or found as a stray. It is one of the most gut-wrenching places to visit on the planet because chances are... more than half of the cats & dogs you look at will never make it out alive. This is just one tale we would like to tell - - - this is Fancy's story.

The little girl that we are going to tell you the story of is a very typical, classic example of the "stray" at your local kill shelter. A beautifully colored staffordshire bull terrier at just about 40 pounds with an amazing personality (that remained hidden the whole time while she was in the kill shelter). She was brought into the shelter & immediately rated moderate for behavior because she was shaking with fear, would not move & held her head low with her tail between her legs. This is a large strike against any animal that finds him/herself at the kill shelter. She was not placed on the adoption list. She was, however, vetted & given a couple of days. A few days later, she contracted what was thought to be kennel cough because she got a little sniffle. Another large strike again her. Another strike & she was done for. She had her behavior retested & this time after a few days in the shelter, her behavior was rated mild so then at least she was able to be put into a program by the shelter that offers her to rescues that will help.

Late on the evening that we had seen her on the euthanasia list at the kill shelter, we could not get her little face out of our heads, her picture spoke volumes to us of the utter fear she was in when she was taken in to the kill shelter. We were haunted by the image. We networked through the night... we called people, we emailed people, we bugged the crap out of a few of our fellow rescue friends. We knew we couldn't foster her, we were at legal limit at the time for our city. We didn't know what to do... it seemed so hopeless at every avenue. The one last thing we could do was pray for Fancy... we know that prayer can help at a time when it seems so dark as if there is nothing to do but to wait at death's door.

While asking for Divine Intervention, we remembered that there is an online community of people who pray for eachother when their pets are sick... we recently had gone through some very traumatic events with one of our younger dogs & we had asked our friends at the pet prayer community to pray for her. So, we went to their page, posted Fancy's picture & asked them to pray... pray hard for Fancy to find a foster home if only for a very temporary few weeks until we could get one of our fosters placed. Members prayed for Fancy... a few hours later, a wonderful lady posted & asked how her family could adopt her - she wanted to save Fancy's life & give her a forever home!!! Imagine that, praying for a foster home & low & behold... a forever home appears. So, we posted to the kill shelter group that there was a forever family waiting if we could find temporary foster... less than an hour later - low & behold, a foster family came forward! It is amazing what can be accomplished when you reach out to people & ask them to pray for a good outcome.

So, this little girl dog was transported finally to her loving foster family - after just hours away from being euthanized for her kennel cough. She was now happily in a foster family's loving arms & being given great food, lots of love, treats & loving her foster siblings... even if they didn't want to be loved! It turned out she never had kennel cough but maybe she had a little runny nose from some sort of allergy while at the shelter but her foster family gave her the antibiotics just in case. Her foster mom said that she does not like to be crated but is house trained & leash trained. She also said that she loves to be with people & dogs. She even got to go running with her foster mom, too! If it were not for Fancy's foster family, we know all would have been lost. You know how when you earn merits or credits in a video game & your strength or life line goes up (trust us, we listen to video games all. night. long) ... well, Fancy's foster family probably has doubled their good karma for all that they have done for her. We want to send a very special thank you to them for giving of themselves at a time when everything was very dark for this little girl.

Two days ago she came to us so we could take her for her spay surgery, which she had yesterday. Before we took her in for her spay, she spent some time with our dogs, running around & playing with them... prancing around with her little tail in the air & doing the very familiar down dog play bows to all the dogs in the house. Obviously, she was someone's dog. How could she not be? She is well socialized, walks well on a leash, she is a people & dog oriented girl & she is house trained... of course she was someone's dog... but why was she at the kill shelter after she was picked up on the street? And why did her family not come to find her?

We formally challenge all people who want to talk negatively about the dogs & puppies at the kill shelter. Recently, we went toe to toe with a woman who was completely oblivious to the actual type of dog that finds him/herself there. Honestly, (& please forgive us because we are about to get a little angry here) we wanted to smack the crap out of such an ignorant, clueless & uneducated person... it's time for people to wake up & smell the coffee - there are millions of good dogs & cats dying in the shelters all because of the irresponsibility of their previous owners. Just because you have had a dog for 16 years, does not qualify you as an expert on what types of dogs wind up in shelters. OOOOHHH... remembering this conversation still makes our blood boil. We told the woman to go walk the frontlines through kill shelters & look at the dogs. Look at the hoplessness on the shelter workers' faces & see the undying love of the shelter volunteers who have the steel grace to walk these dogs & love on them until their last dying breath. At least at the shelter where Fancy came from the dogs die there from lethal injection done by a professional. For the most part, many shelters still gas & heartstick, which is a terrifying & painful way to die. So we say, walk the frontlines & get your hands dirty & then come back & tell us what kinds of dogs are dying in the shelters... but this particular idiot we are talking about probably will never walk through a shelter because she wouldn't want to mess up her $20 manicure nor leave her laptop behind. Again, please excuse our frustration with the stupidity of mankind.

Fancy's story is, unfortunately, very common. All we can do is ask people to please spay/neuter their dogs & cats & remind them that microchipping their family members will ensure that they are returned home if they are ever lost. Please protect your family members... because Fancy's story from the frontlines of the kill shelter could be how your family member winds up if you do not protect them.

On a happier note, Fancy is recovering well from her spay surgery & she is hanging out with her foster uncle today in his office. Her forever family is going to adopt her this weekend... so stay tuned for some forever home pictures & news!


JLindsey752 said...

When I saw the picture and the story about Fancy on that fateful Sunday night a little over a week ago, she spoke to me. Her fate was doomed. I answered the call without reservation. She, as all others in this situation, deserve a chance to live and be loved and nurtured. Thank you for posting Fancy's story!! Awareness for all animals that find themselves in this situation can only HELP!! I am so excited to bring her to her forever home to her new family. She will be LOVED and cared for from this day forward. If anyone out there has room for being loved just a little bit more, then PLEASE visit your local shelters and give one of these animals a chance to show you unconditional love. You will not regret it!! With much love and thanks to ALL that reached out to save this ANGEL!! <3<3

Jackie said...

We need more happy endings like this! JLindsey, enjoy your new love and bless you for reaching out to her.