WHAT’S THE POINT?
I am genuinely grateful for my followers and people who share their happy tales with me. However, lately, I feel that my efforts at making this world a better place for rescue animals are a mere drop in the ocean. In some cases, I wonder if I’m wasting my time.
A friend messaged me to say her beloved dog Lacey had not been well. They took her to the vet and determined that Lacey had a massive tumor and it would only be a matter of time before she passed. My heart broke for Laura and Dan. All dog owners and anyone who has lost a beloved companion can’t help but empathize with other pet parents at times like this. Their usual vet was out of town, and they didn’t feel they were given much information, or direction, from the young vet they consulted. Of course not knowing what to do makes these situations worse.
I live miles away and did not want to overwhelm Laura with messages. I would touch base at regular intervals and spoke on the phone with her one particularly difficult evening. I had no advice for this situation and felt useless.
A few weeks later came the news that Laura and Dan had helped Lacey pass. Their vet came to the house, and Lacey was able to leave this world while her little body rested in her bed.
The couple had experienced grief before. This time, however, the house no longer resonated with the tapping of tiny paws on the tile flooring.
At least, when we said goodbye to Dakota, we still had Lacey. Now there is such emptiness, a huge hole in our hearts
Although I tried to be strong on the other end of the phone, I cried for their loss, too.
On previous occasions, Lacey had come to visit with her people, and she was a perfect guest. The pretty little Lhasa Apso had been with her people since puppyhood and although she had lived a wonderful life, fourteen years was still too soon.
The day after I posted a sympathy note, I learned that Laura’s mother had also passed. I knew this further bereavement, so soon after the first would be completely overwhelming for Laura. Dan would likely struggle to manage his grief as well as provide support to his wife during this additional loss.
I picked out another card and sent it, assuming I would arrive before it did. I planned to make the five-hour drive down to visit, the following weekend. Laura and Dave would be coming to visit us in a few weeks, but I didn’t want to wait to hug her (in person).
I didn’t deliver that hug.
I received another message from Laura, and she seemed happier and more positive than she had seemed in a month (or as much as can be concluded from a text message). She asked me to keep an eye out for a pup or adult Lhasa or Maltese. At the end of the message, she added that they would consider a rescue – followed by a question mark.
Rescue is all I do!
Don’t get me wrong; People are entitled to choose to go through a breeder (hopefully reputable). People may also have a breed, gender, or size preference.
What matters is that they are all loved and cared for.
I volunteer for different organizations, I foster, and I fundraise. I’m also a matchmaker. Some people reach out to me about pets needing to be rehomed and others looking to adopt a pet will ask for my help finding a good fit for them. Therefore, it did not seem strange to me that one of my best friends would ask for my help. I told her I would love to help her find someone to honour Lacey’s legacy.
My happy bubble quickly burst as I read the next message:
Talking Dan into a rescue might be hard. He knew someone that had a rescue Lhasa, and they regretted it as it bit people
My anxiety kicked in, and I could barely catch my breath. I reread the words to be sure I hadn’t misinterpreted them. Each time, I felt as though my friend had delivered a punch to my gut.
WHEN WILL PEOPLE STOP BELIEVING THE STEREOTYPES ABOUT RESCUE ANIMALS?
As I looked down at my four rescues, all scattered comfortably around the living room; I burst into tears. My pack consists of puppy mill rescues and an abused cat. I worked hard with each of them and would not trade them for the world. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing an unwanted, neglected, or fearful animal learn to trust people and enjoy life. And they do enjoy life. Very much!
I believe that some people should not rescue. I also believe that some people should not be pet owners. Last-mentioned are people who do not do their research or consult rescue organizations or breeders about temperament, energy level etc. These are the people that ‘regret it’ and aren’t willing to do the extra work that may be required. I say ‘may’ because not all rescues require rehabilitation. To be clear, ALL dogs require some amount of work.
I do NOT believe that rescue animals should be considered broken, less deserving, or less lovable than puppies and purebreds.
Regrettably, I lost my cool. A count of ten and as many long breaths in and out did not do the trick.
I messaged back asking if Dakota had been a rescue. I knew full well he wasn’t and I also knew that he had bitten Laura’s housekeeper in the face, taking a piece of her cheek in the process.
Her response: No. None of our dogs were. We paid big bucks for them all.
We exchanged a few more messages before I suggested we change the subject.
I’m not sure which breaks my heart more, the fact that I fell out with a dear friend at one of the most difficult times in her life, or the fact that one of my best friends would make such a stereotypical comment and actually believe it. Especially, as we discussed rescue animals in great length, only last year.
If I can’t change the way those closest to me see the world or rescue, I might as well retire this blog.
Don’t worry; I will never stop advocating for the animals.