The Lows and Highs of Dog Rescue

It’s pretty obvious what the biggest highs and lows are in dog rescue: life and death.

Now that all the major time-consuming projects of my year are behind me, I’m slowly looking into fostering again (I know what you’re thinking.. “Finally! We’re bored!”). I’ve had my eye on this one dog in our shelter for months now. She came in as a stray with her sister, and immediately became a staff and volunteer favorite. She was the little grey one featured on our FOX5 Morning News segment.

Yesterday, Mark and I headed into the shelter to meet with her. She won us over, but her very low weight was a red flag for Mark. After talking it over with our medical staff, I learned that they were concerned as well and had already planned to send her out for blood tests.  Mark and I decided to wait for the results of the tests to make any decisions.  We never got that chance though, because the results immediately concluded she was in renal failure. The vet said there was nothing we could do.  They ended her suffering only a few hours after we played with her in the yard. It broke everyone’s hearts, especially those who spent so many hours loving her over the last few months.

There was nothing we could have done to help her, but that news ruined my whole day.  I needed a pick-me-up, and stat.  I knew just who to turn to:

After getting the news about the pretty pittie girl, I almost immediately called up Otie’s owner.  I needed to see the big slobbery smile that was Otis.  We’d been sort of trying to set up a visit in the last couple weeks anyway, but it had never worked out. R, being the awesome adopter that he is, said to come right over.

Last time I went to visit Otis, only three weeks after he was adopted, I was pleasantly surprised at how excited he was to see me. But just like last time, my expectations of the same type of happy reunion were not too high this time around. It’s been about three months since I’d seen him last, and three months is a plenty long time for him to forget who I am.  I was just excited to see his happy face, recognition or not.

Otis was waiting for me in the garage and as soon as I got out of my car I had a whirlwind of fur, tongue, and tail flying around me like tornado.  Otis acted like every other time he’s seen me after five minutes a long time: like it was the best day ever.  For a solid ten minutes, we had an exuberant reunion.  I felt like a little kid bouncing around getting kisses and avoiding his over-eager advances to give me a big bear-hug style Otis greeting.

It was exactly what I needed. Any happy dog would have helped cheer me up, but knowing that I’m still someone special to Otie really felt good.  R and I caught up, and I heard all about how spoiled Otis is.  It was so, so nice.

The key to dog rescue is to make sure the victories and happy times outweigh the tough times. You owe it to yourself to seek out moments that make you smile, especially after moments that make you cry.

Thank you, Otis (and R!) for reminding me of all the things I have to smile about.