This little Waterdog was tossed out of a car and pelted with rocks. It was rescued, shaved to remove hundreds of ticks – and found a home.
Nearly all the dogs I know are rescues. Some are mutts, others pedigree. Some deliberately ran away from unhappy homes, casting their furry selves upon the kindness of strangers. Others were walked out on, dumped on a lonely country road or slipped off their leash downtown to dodge traffic.
Some people just move and leave the family dog behind confused, hiding and miserable under the house unable to answer the cruelest question of all.
“What did I do wrong?”
For every unhappy ending there are many happy ones. The dog rescue societies of the world are up there with Medecins Sans Frontieres, UNICEF and Amnesty International – yet their achievements are so rarely sung.
Out into the rain these selfless souls go, following up a sighting of a cowering, terrified abandoned pooch.
Sitting at a hospital bedside reassuring a dying owner that their precious pet will continue to be loved.
Scouring the pounds for dogs who have reached their cut-off date, with only the needle awaiting them.
Instead of a cold friendless pound foster parents will often step in until a permanent home is found. These people have a special corner of heaven reserved for them. It has fields full of wagging tails to greet them and soft nuzzling warm noses to kiss them goodnight.
Their job is to offer temporary refuge. Sometimes hundreds of animals will come through their door and out the other side.
Sometimes a special magic happens and they stay.
Brother and sister Marley and Chipper are two 13-year old dachshund corgi mixes who had never been apart. What was the chance that anyone would take them on as a pair when their owner died?
A saint called Francis, who had recently lost her own beloved dog, took them in and fostered them. They didn’t come with much baggage. Two small beds and a collar and leash. Marley had her special woolly oven mitt with the thumb chewed out. Chipper had a warthog.
Chipper couldn’t stop shaking. His anxiety levels were off the chart. He never took his eyes off Francis and became known as “the stalker.” His sister, bigger and fatter and smarter kept her eye on him, always checking him out.
They were only going to stay for a month. The month became six. Three years later they are still there. The shaking has stopped and the barking started. The neighbours aren’t thrilled with this development, but the dogs have decided that now they are permanent residents they better taker up security detail.
It’s not just humans who go out of their way to welcome orphans into a family. Some dogs can tell when a new arrival needs special care. They are there at the door to greet them and stay close for those first uncertain days. A beloved toy is shared and even room made in their own bed for the new scared pooch.
Who knows what they tell them. Probably that they are going to be just fine. And in the meantime, this is how we say “give me a cookie.”