"When I look into your eyes,
It's like watching the night sky.
Or a beautiful sunrise.
Well, there's so much they hold.
And just like them old stars,
I see you've come so far.
To be right where you are.
How old is your soul?"
Friday night after we unloaded dogs from this situaiton, I was taken with just how many dogs were actually there. There were varying ages, sizes, and types of dogs. I looked around and knew from my stand point, finding rescues to take all of these dogs was going to be near impossible.
Immediately, there were several dogs that caught my eye as dogs that were going to be difficult to place, and several where I felt euthanasia was the most fair option. I am different then most rescuers in the fact that I am not completely of a "no-kill" mentality and I am a realist. I never go into a situation and expect that all of the animals are going to make it out. It is always a hope, but seldom a reality. In the case of health difficulties, sometimes it is more fair to let an animal go. I feel it is selfish and for a rescuers own benefit to keep a dog alive that is going to have no quality of life. I wouldn't want it for me, and I don't want it for my pets. Also I feel it okay to euthanize for aggression. There are millions of nice pets sitting at animal shelters all over the country. Why rescue an aggressive dog when I can rescue a kind dog? (To date we have euthanized 5 dogs total, 3 of them for health reasons and 2 for aggression. Pretty amazing statistics on this rescue mission!) With all of that said, unless there is a problem with aggression or severe health problems, I won't give up on rescuing a dog. Every life deserves a chance!
There were several senior dogs that came it and they were aged, but still had a will to live. This collie girl was one of them. She came in quiet and submissive. So submissive that when we fed her and her kennel mate, he wouldn't let her eat and she was fine with that. We decided to separate her from her mate, and when we did I heard a volunteer say, "Why don't they just euthanize her?!" It immediately made me angry and defensive. After she was separated from the other dog, she turned into this energetic old girl who loved walking, food, and love. Why euthanize an otherwise healthy dog? Her only offense was being elderly and blind in one eye. I promised this girl, right then and there, that I was going to get her out of this situation and make sure she was safe.
The goal this week was to get the number of hoarding dogs low enough that we could get them into the shelter and out of the triage barn. We were getting close yesterday, and when the shelter closed last night we were down to 4 dogs in the barn. I was not worried about 3 of the dogs because they were young enough and had enough reserves to be fine bedded down in sawdust and straw. I was worried about my senior collie friend. It seemed mean to leave the equivalent of my grandmother in a barn on the coldest night of the year. I knew it was better than the situation they came from, but it still didn't feel good leaving her there.
I could not give up on finding this girl the perfect home, although I suspected that no one was really going to want to adopt her. I decided to take her home with me, and do you know what I was reminded? If you have a little faith, and a lot of determination, God will provide for you. He will put people in the right place, at the right time, and things will work out exactly how He has it planned.
I took this girl to Christie's house for a bath. Clearly it was the first bath she had had in many years! (I have never seen a dog that dirty!) After bathing her, I started to doubt the fact I saved her. I wondered if I had done the correct thing by this dog. While I was scrubbing away years of funk, I silently prayed that God would give me a sign. As luck would have it, I got my sign!
I decided to run her over to my veterinarian so she could examine her, and tell me if the dog was suffering or not. I needed to make sure that this dog was going to have a good quality life. Dr. Young examined her and said she could find nothing wrong with the dog. Her heart and lungs sounded good, her blood work looked great, and she could see no reason why euthanizing this dog was a good idea.
As luck would have it, she could see no reason why she shouldn't adopt her either. I am blessed to be able to say, little Miss Sunshine got a home where she will be able to live out the rest of her life in comfort caring arms. Thank God!