Friday, March 19, 2010

my dogs are family too

When I was a small girl my family had lots of dogs. I found comfort in them, safety and love. When I grew up I found that the same was still true. My dogs have given me unconditional love and made me smile despite how I may have been feeling at the time. Love from a dog is like no other love. Strange but true! My dogs do not judge me or criticize me,the do not care how I look or if I am funny or clever. they only want to give and receive the basics, love, food and my time.They have laid on my bed when i was sick and licked my hand.Let me hold them when I have cried in sadness and slept at my feet to keep me safe. I wished as a child that I would turn into a dog and I would never again know the cruelty of being human. Humans seemed so hurtful and dishonest in there emotions.I gave my dog all of my tears and secrets. As an adult I have had several dogs.I trained therapy dogs and used them to help children of sexual abuse to enable them to testify against there abusers. My dog Charlie sat in a police station for 5 hours in the middle of the night while a strange child of the age of 6 gripped him and cried on him while the child told of his abuse. Charlie licked the child face and wagged his tail the whole time. Not once did he want to get down or ask for a walk. When the child was done and was ready to go to a safe house. Charlie and I said good night. My dog sat as I tried to walk him to my car. He sat and I could not move him. He sat until the child and his mother left the police station parking lot, then he got up and walked me to our car. He sat with his paw on my leg the whole way home.As if to say, I hope you are ok too,I am here for you. Charlie is 10 now and he is looking old. I give my friend a good life and lots of love. He has done the same for me. I think of the work he once did and know that he made a difference. I think all dogs do. I have done some animal rescues for the ASPCA in the past years. I worked in mental health and would come across some pretty serious situations regarding pets.Hoarders with too many dos and cats to count in one visit. I would get them to agree to sign over the pets to me and I would clean them out and take the animals to the pound for treatment and re homing. One dog will always stand in my mind.The owner had a serious mental illness. She had 7 dogs and they never left the house. They came in as puppies and never left the house until I came. The floor was compacted fecal matter. About 2 feet thick! I ran out after a short time and got sick in the driveway. I put tiger balm under my nose and went back in. I got her to sign over the dogs and I let her say goodbye as I took them one at a time to my suv and put them in. I thought I had them all until she said. "you will have to come back for Tiger. He can not be with the others and I am not sure how to get him out for you!" I asked what she meant by that and where was Tiger. She pointed to a door with a small hole cut in it.I walked over and looked in. A large pit bull was on the floor looking up at me covered in sores and poop. His owner explained that the dog was 3 years old and he was left with her by her son and she was afraid of him so she put him in that bathroom and fed him through the door. From the time he was a puppy.I talked to him through the door. He lunged at the door and bit the door frame. His eyes told me he was sick and in pain. I left and took the other dogs to the shelter. They where in bad shape. I got a catch pole and a shot pole. I took a tranquilizer with me the shelter major showed me how to use. I could not bring them to the home because I had promised my client she would not have any kind of ordeal and her mental health treatment was important to me.She had agreed to go to a assisted living home and if I broke my deal that would be out and she needed it so badly!
I returned to the home. I comforted her on the lose of her dog friends and told her they would go to good homes. I explained what I had to do to help Tiger. I pushed the shot pole in the hole and got him and the 10th try.My arm hurt for days after! When he was out I opened the door rolled him on a tarp, drug him to my car put him in the back with a muzzle on and left for the shelter.I had tied a know in the leash and closed the leash in the door. Me safe! I got to the shelter as he woke up. The shelter manager and I looked at him through the window, he was thin, and his paws where covered in open sores and blood.His Oder unbearable.We tried for ever to get him to show some sign of approachability. He hated people!!! He feared people. He had not know human touch in years. We gave him a sedative.We needed to get close enough to him to put him down. WE lifted him out of the car. I needed to put this dog on the grass. I needed to! The shelter manager looked at me in understanding.We took in to a spot near the woods and laid him on the grass. I stroked his head. He was just a dog. He trusted the people to love him and care for him instead they locked him in a small room and dumped food in a hole for him, not even enough to fill his belly.He was sick and in pain. He had not known kindness! I held his head and spoke softly to him as he was given his final shot.He licked my hand before he died. We both cried and stood up walking away from his body now cover by the tarp. She said that she thought he needed the last lick in to see if I might have been tasty. I said no he just wanted to say thank you. I drove home in a fog and with a new dog on my lap. Fostering it was what I needed.I cried the whole way. I found the little dog a home in no time. All the others where put down due to illness and age. some blind and crippled. Others with advanced heart worm.But Tiger....I know how he felt. I know that anger and fear when people are supposed to love you do not.I see pits now and then who look like him and I have to take a deep breath. I wanted to save him and show him kindness. He was too far gone for that. I know that I could have been Tiger. I was that angry and fearful once.

People say that they do not understand my love for my dog and why I take in rescues when I have other things going on in my life.And for now I have stopped taking them in. But I have done it and may do it again in the future because I know just how that dog feels and I can help them. I never want admit it but each time I help me too. That child inside me who connects with that fear and pain heals each time I help a living thing in pain to trust and love again.

I may not do rescue for many years but something tells me that it is never over.
So if you need a friend and you are not sure if you should or could adopt a friend. Know you will get back more then you will ever need to give! Let that child inside you lead you to a fuzzy loving wet nosed friend! You will never be alone again!

Word of the day folks, love make a difference and grow from it!

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