Someone Saved My Life Tonight

If you are part of a movement to change the status quo, you will hit the skids from time to time.  It’s natural.  It’s part of creating change.  You might feel alone, overwhelmed, and/or ineffective.  I wanted to create this post as a reminder that you are not alone.  We’re in this together.  And change is gonna come.

If you’d like to share a story (or two), please post in the comments.  Tell about a pet you rescued or fostered or sponsored.  Talk about your volunteer work at your local shelter.  Post a link to a website or blog or some other media you’ve had a hand in creating to help save pets.  And give us your location so we can be reminded that helping pets is not a geographically isolated concept.

I’d like this post to be a place people can visit anytime they need a little extra Keep Going in their coffee.  So share whatever it is you are doing – especially small things – as you keep going.

The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling. ~Lucretius

13 thoughts on “Someone Saved My Life Tonight

  1. Recently, in Temecula, CA some drug dealers were awesome and burned down their house and got arrested. Somehow their little pooch got left behind and roamed the streets for 4 weeks. Thank god the neighbor started making some calls. She demanded that some individual or a rescue take him, but not to the shelter. Word got around and they called me, because I’m a pit bull lover. I’ve taken in 3 strays in the last 2 yrs, all pits.

    I went and met the little guy and took him home to foster him and find him a new loving, forever home. We found out that he had a broken hip bone that he had never received medical attention for, which had healed and he was now fine. We got him some shots, neutered a new collar and leash.

    I was able to love him for just under 4 weeks. Fattening him up so his bones disappeared, training him to sit and say hello. Receiving lots and lots of kisses and giving 101 belly rubs. Just under the 4 weeks, the same day I found a place to rent with my pit bull…a beautiful woman about my age fell in love with his picture online. She wanted him before she even met him. He’s now living a comfortable life with a new mommy!

  2. I do basset hound rescue and sled dog rescue in Two Rivers, Alaska. Here’s the link for the story and Chip-In page for one of my more recent foster dogs.
    I’m also fostering a 4-year-old neutered male basset for a fellow serving time.
    I just took in a 10-year-old spayed female basset from a couple that didn’t have time for her anymore.
    And then there are the other eight or nine foster dogs outside. Rumor has it there are a few more flying in from Ruby today. I’m waiting for the call so I can head to the airport to meet the plane.
    I couldn’t do any of this without my vet and sponsor, Dr. Jeanne Olson of Raven Veterinary in North Pole, Alaska. Thanks Doc.

  3. thank you SO much for this post. I needed it.

    I foster independent from rescues most of the time. I have a great relationship with my local (kill) shelter as a home where problem, sick, or young dogs can be fostered and I take on the responsibility of finding them a home.

    Right now I’m fostering a 12 yr old blind, arthritic, incontinent Shiba Inu. He’s a pretty fantastic dog though. I was scared out of my wits to take him on. I saw his petfinder page floating around Shiba Inu enthusiasts’ facebook statuses, with sad “oh i wish i could help him” messages. Finally someone had made contact with the shelter and found out his PTS date was only 3 days away.
    That gave me the kick in the ass to just do it already! So here he is, in my home, peeing on my floors and highlighting my days.

    I don’t know why I was hesitant. We fostered a dog going through heartworm treatment. We fostered a very dog aggressive dog (who had 3 legs). None of our fosters have been easy on paper. But somehow, whether its sympathy or my being a sucker, it isn’t as hard or as daunting as it seems when they are here in my care. I live for these dogs.

    I hope he’ll be adopted, but I sort of think he won’t be. He will always have a home with me.

  4. I’m still banging on my laptop keyboard from my office in northern Alabama.

    I hit a wall in my quest to bring no kill to a very progressive region and while I have not given up, I did start my web site so I could sleep better at night. I can’t stop the shelter director/veterinarian from killing animals at the local shelter today. I can’t seem to persuade the rescue group leaders who worship her that there are other ways to function. But if I can reach a person through my web site or one of my PSAs on television or just through a conversation and that contact makes that person behave differently, perhaps the change will come from the people.

    I’m working on a PSA about dogs running at large for a rescue group near Birmingham and a separate PSA for The Real Pit Bull about how pitties are misunderstood. You’ll probably never see either spot, other than on my web site, but at least I’m doing something using what tools I have.

    If you find anything on my site that you can use in any way, help yourself. That’s the whole point and the content is copyright cleared.

  5. I fostered my first dog this month through Adopt-A-Dog-Save-A-Life. She was abused and tied outdoors to a chain less than 4 ft all 4 years of her life. It sickens me to think of what she was forced to endure. I become enraged when people defend ‘tethering’ their dog outside. It’s indefensible. However, it brings me eternal joy knowing she will never have to endure neglect or abuse again.
    She seemed to just house train herself. She never had an accident and was not destructive when left alone. She just needed to be given a chance. I could not be more grateful to the dedicated team of people who made that chance happen for her and many other dogs. She has a happy and forever home now with unconditional love.
    Helping Star find a family is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Initially I had mixed emotions of sorrow letting such a wonderful dog go. These emotions quickly turned into overwhelming joy and gratitude. I look forward to my next foster and know I want to continue fostering for as long as I can.

  6. I started fostering dogs about a year ago with ANML-RESQ Network of Ontario. Fostering has been one of the most rewarding challenges in my life next to raising my children. I volunteer alongside a wonderful group of women & men who have dedicated their time in saving animals who have been abused, neglected, strays or worse of all, have found their time is up at the shelter they are in.

    It has brought me great pleasure to know I have had a hand in helping a defenseless animal find a loving home to call their own. I plan on fostering for as long as I can.

  7. December 2008 — 189 live dogs (and 3 cats and a score of chickens) seized from puppymiller in Montana. All but a few dogs utterly feral, fearful, starved, and thoroughly unadoptable. Their abuser fights prosecution; all the dogs, and the puppies born to bitches pregnant when seized, must be maintained as evidence.

    Scores of volunteers come in to the fairgrounds every damned day to feed and care for and tame and train these lost souls.

    These are not adorable white fluffies. Almost all are purebred English shepherds — athletic, intelligent, resourceful working dogs that make challenging or unsuitable pets in the best of circumstances.

    July 2009 — Conviction for felony animal cruelty. The dogs are released.

    Instead of the summary execution that was meted out to their predecessors, the *last time* their former owner was raided (some time in the 90’s), 225 dogs go to homes. Forever homes, foster homes. Not one dog put down. NOT ONE.

    October 2010 — There are eight dogs of those 225 who are in foster care — several are returns from adoptions that didn’t work out. They will get their forever homes.

    Of course I did not do this. Hundreds of people did this: Donors, transporters, county employees, adoption coordinators, foster families, adopters, and OH MY GOD the Montana volunteers who risked their hearts when there was no guarantee that the dogs would not be returned to their abuser or convenience-killed.

    Snapshots of their story are in a sidebar on my blog. More to come.

  8. When I helped out on a spay camp in Mexico, I was amazed by the desperate desire to have this kind of service available. We castrated nearly 300 animals during a 4-day period. People waited hours to get their animal spayed or neutered. They didn’t have much, certainly not enough to castrate a pet, but they cared.

    But one visitor sticks out in my mind the most. He was an 8-yr-old boy with a big, white Boxer. His parents worked 15 hour days without much to show for it. THey didn’t have the time to bring the dog to get castrated, because they lived so far away. But this little boy walked four or five hours, WALKED, with his dog by his side to get him neutered.

    We squeezed him in at the last moment. ANd oh how that little boy paced, anxious, like a father waiting for news on his baby’s birth. He checked in every few minutes, to see how his dog was recovering.

    As much as he loved his best friend, he explained in his soft tones that he didn’t want to see any more lonely street dogs. He would do this not just for his dog but for other dogs as well.

    Talk about getting a douse of humility! The dog recovered beautifully and off they went, to walk the long distance back home (we offered to drive, but he declined). One small miracle in such a tragic, hostile world.

  9. I fostered Fred – a border collie mix – he could never get the hang of pooing consistently outdoors with three attempts at forever homes…so I kept him..for over 15 years. He learned with me to poo outdoors though it took him a while to master this. When he lost his hearing he learned to no longer be terrified on the Fourth of July and of other loud noises. Fred was my daily reminder of all that is gentle…

    And when he passed away two days ago I re-learned it never ever gets any easier to say good-bye.

  10. My condolences, Mary Frances, on your loss. I too have old dogs who have experienced the side-benefit of no stress on the 4th of July as a result of natural hearing loss. (Although, here in Alaska it’s light all night on the 4th of July, so New Years is our really big bang holiday.)
    I sent my 12 year old sled dog friend Nelix over the rainbow bridge just the other day. I hope he gets to meet and play with Fred. Nelix had cushings and was in terrible shape. He was born here (I was the midwife for the entire family on behalf of another kennel.) Nelix was sold as an adult, but he returned here to retire a few years ago. Two of his four brothers also returned to retire here, they are both doing very well. With almost a dozen dogs over the age of ten, I’m expecting quite a bit of sadness in my life over the next year or two.
    But every time I think I regret this…I must realize that the sadness would never be possible if I hadn’t had a decade of joy, love and lessons from each and every one of them. Bless Fred, and you too for loving him.

  11. LynnO – thank you so much for your comforting words – and its true…I had so much joy, love and lessons with Fred…he was the good in life..I was so lucky to have his company and for so long…and I hope he is romping with Nelix – he was so beautiful and never more so than when he ran and played.

    The night Fred died I woke from a sound sleep to what sounded like a woman screaming in the thicket across the way from my house…after I listened further and went outside I realized it was a coyote…never heard a coyote make such a howl in my life…it was other-worldly…maybe Fred sending a message that all is OK…

  12. I live in rural, relatively poor, blue-collar, Oregon. There is no tax-funded animal shelter. It’s members of the public, even those who don’t run in the shelter-and-rescue circles, who have never heard of Winograd, who are ignorant of a lot of animal care issues (ignorance that would probably earn them snide comments from many in the rescue club); they’re the ones who step up to the plate when there’s an animal in need. Craigslist is like Petfinder around here.

    I haven’t worked at the vet clinic for very long, but I’ve already seen too many inspiring animal rescue cases come through to describe them all in one comment.

    The woman who found a 3 week old kitten in the field next to her apartment and took it in, researched how to care for, and committed to caring for it. She’s never had a cat before.

    The Mexican cowboy who made advance payments for a month to get the stray dog he found and took in spayed.

    The man who brought in the dog he found lying in the road, obviously hit by a car, and then paid for its euthanasia when no owner could be located and the outlook turned out to be dire.

    I dunno. I moved here fairly recently from a part of Oregon that has a much higher median income, more and better-funded shelters and rescues, where I felt a part of that circle. I was dreading coming to an area I felt wouldn’t be up to my standards, where I’d be surrounded by the ignorant natives, as it were. I’ve been humbled by what I’ve seen in my short time in this community. There’s still plenty of room for improvement in a lot of areas, but if this place is any indication of the rest of the country, I really don’t see how the no-kill equation WON’T become the norm.

  13. Oh, and I have my own rescues, of course. With the two cats, I always say we bypassed the shelter system, therefore saving them time and money – it’s as good as making a donation, right? LOL. One came from my husband’s co-worker, the other was a stray.

    The dog was born and fostered at a no-kill private shelter that charges a fee, and has a waiting list to surrender animals. It’s something I’ve always wondered about. Someone cared enough to pay a high fee for his pregnant bitch to have a good shot at a new life, but felt he couldn’t care for her and her puppies. We tend to condemn people who ‘dump’ their animals at a shelter, but there’s obviously a lot of gray area. I try not to judge this person (not the least because without him, I’d never have Zelda, who is the best dog in the world).

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