Rescue Dogs Rock

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When I started this blog, I assumed I would focus it entirely on writing and my own personal journey toward publication: all the bumps along the road, all the kind people I would meet, all the advice I can find. BUT–I would like to share a positive experience I had last week that has not a thing to do with writing.

I’ve been heavily involved in the animal rescue world for about eight years now. We currently have Baxter, a sixteen year old lab mix that I’ve had since he was found in a farmer’s field as a nine month old pup; Artie, aka Spartacus, a seven year old Doberman/German shepherd mix who is as good a mouser as any cat, but hates cats, and Scooby-Pedro, a twelve year old hospice foster Boxer/pittie mix.

Scooby-Pedro was supposed to be a short-term hospice foster when we took him in last June from the wonderful no-kill shelter I volunteer with. He was a mess. Emaciated. Missing fur. Upper respiratory everything. Heart murmur. Crack-a-lackin’ arthritic joints. We later found out he has kidney issues that required subcutaneous fluids twice a week for a month. He was a sweet boy, and this isn’t my first go-round at hospice fostering. I was prepared to give him the best for the month or two he might be around. 

What happened last week has my heart overflowing right now: Scooby fell very ill, but thanks to his sponsoring shelter, the local emergency vet, and our regular vet, he is enjoying life again. For however long or short that is, we will take it and be thankful for it. Here’s his story: “But Scooby Shouldn’t Be Alive.”

But Scooby shouldn’t be alive.

As of last spring, he lived in a home with a drug user. He was kicked and starved and often left to fend for himself. Why did he live? Good souls saw him and his emaciated body and called their local animal control.

But Scooby shouldn’t be alive.

A rural animal control (AC) has little by way of funds. A dog that old and that sick would be put down in other animal control facilities, but this AC wasn’t just any AC. This one is run by people who try their best to save the animals that come into their care. They don’t euthanize unless they absolutely have to, even though that means much, much more work for them. And they made sure Scooby was fed all he could eat and networked the heck out of him to try to give him a chance.

But Scooby shouldn’t be alive.

What rescue could afford the unknown costs of a sick dog with who-knows-what ailments? What rescue would want to spend money on a dog who wasn’t likely to live long anyway, just based upon his age–nevermind his atrocious body condition? A special no-kill shelter, that’s who. This shelter and this AC have a good working relationship, and their director made sure Scooby would get a chance.

But Scooby shouldn’t be alive.

He was malnourished, had serious respiratory issues, and failing kidneys. No one would have blamed the rescue if they said no to treatment upon discovery of these problems. But they didn’t. No one would have blamed the vet if he had said, “Are you sure you want to go this route?” But he didn’t. And Scooby lived. And thrived. And got fat and sassy and ate stuffed animals and a slipper sock and lived to tell the tale–for six months longer than we thought he would (and counting!).

But once again, Scooby shouldn’t be alive.

Last weekend, he got very sick and we rushed him to the emergency vet. If you’ve ever gone to one, you know they’re expensive. Scooby’s no-kill rescue is run solely on donations. Would they want to run tests and x-rays on an old dog that they’ve already invested so much money in? Would the emergency vet be willing to work with them? Yes and yes.

But Scooby shouldn’t be alive.

One of the vets even said we were lucky he was still with us. His pneumonia that he gets frequently (because of his respiratory issues) had worsened, as had his heart murmur. Scooby transferred Monday morning to his regular vet. More unknowns. More costs. Would they–? Yes and yes.

Because of all of those people caring, making hard decisions instead of what’s fastest, easiest, or cheapest, Scooby is alive.

And now he’s back in his foster home with us. We had forgotten his label of “hospice” foster because of his spunk and spirit; we had forgotten he was already on borrowed time. But he’s never been “just a dog.” He is a soul who has bettered everyone he’s come into contact with. His life matters. It mattered enough for people to call animal control instead of turning a blind eye, for AC to network him instead of euthanizing, for the rescue to want him to know what love and kindness are no matter how much or little time he has left. And in a world where it seems so much is disposable, I want to say thank you to those in the trenches who save animals just like Scooby. I think we save a tiny bit of our own souls when we do good for others, whether two-footed or four.

 

 

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