I'm pretty sure awesomeness is not a word, but it's the first thing that comes to mind when I think about all that has happened recently.
Last week in the nick of time, I was able to change the life of one little dog for the better. A little dog called #431 who appears to have lived most of his short life as a stray. My contact for his shelter, Loraine, was able to pull him for me and he was taken to a local vet. This past Saturday, Tonya met me and we made the two and a half hour drive to go pick up this little boy. I honestly thought I was picking up a puppy, he looked small in his pictures and at the vets, weighed in at 33 pounds.
We made a visit to the shelter before picking him up and walked through looking at the dogs. The shelter in Cleveland was beyond packed, with 3-4 dogs per kennel. There were so many nice dogs there. I was shocked and surprised at how these dogs had ended up at the shelter. How could all these beautiful dogs be unwanted? Cleveland has 20 kennels, and last Friday alone they took in 18 dogs. Anyone can do the math and realize how full this shelter is. The kennel area was loud, dogs were barking and jumping up on the kennel door, trying to get our attention. One our first trip by, there was one dog that really stood out to me, not necessarily because of his looks but because of his personality. When we came back through the kennels, we found him in the same position as before. Laying down with his paws crossed looking at us so politely but his eyes were pleading for help at the same time. He had a look of defeat, a look that told me that there was a time when he got up to great people but he had lost all hope. Sometimes dogs get to you in a place deep down and this dog got to me. Sadly there was nothing I could do to help him but hope someone saw how special he was and gave him a loving home.
We left the shelter and headed to pick up #431, whom I had decided to call Neo because I felt he deserved a really cool name. When we arrived at the vets office, we really wanted to see some of the other dogs saved through the Facebook page who were also there. They were kind enough to let us go back to the kennel area and see two of the dogs, Augie and Guiness.
Augie was a senior Aussie mix that had been surrendered to the shelter by his long time owner. Sadly, senior dogs are surrendered all too often and subjected to a shelter environment that is frightening to them. Most seniors do not do well in the shelter and many never make it out because most people want a cute puppy or a young dog. Augie was one of the lucky ones, as he was seen by a kind woman in New York who saved his life. Augie is going to live at a beach house and I'm a little bit jealous.
Next we got to visit a Beagle puppy that had been saved by a kind woman named Heather from Greensboro, NC. He had looked terribly sad in his shelter picture and his foot was bandaged. We were pleased to see that his foot looked good and he was so happy. He was so happy actually that he wouldn't hold still for a picture so the best one I was able to get was inside his kennel at the vets office.
I realized after visiting with them that I had walked right by Neo. I was expecting a 33 pound puppy which is what I had been looking for. To my surprise, he wasn't a young puppy but an older puppy. His weight made me think he was small, but he was actually very good size but extremely skinny. He was beyond happy to be out and I could tell immediately that he was one super friendly boy.
Neo is finally in a safe home where I can spoil him appropriately. I will be his foster Mom while he waits for his perfect forever home. If you are interested in adopting Neo, please contact Critter Cavalry. You won't be sorry. He is going to make someone an amazing dog.
Skipping forward a few nights to Wednesday, it was a night like many others. I was emailed a list of dogs to be euthanized in the coming days. On the list for that night, was none other than the special dog from my Saturday visit to the shelter. I learned that he was taken to the shelter months earlier because his owner went to jail leaving him homeless. After waiting this long with a packed shelter, it was determined that his owner wasn't going to be able to come back for him and no one had adopted him. They had to make space for all the incoming dogs.
As I watched the clock tick down on this dogs life today, I was honestly sick to my stomach. All of the other dogs had people interested in them and were being saved, all but my sweet boy. He was lucky to have received a sponsor last night who was generous enough to pay his adoption fee. Even still, he needed a place to go once he left the shelter. I was so saddened that no one wanted him, because I knew he was a special dog and I wanted him to have a chance so badly. I felt very helpless, very sad and very frustrated.
When Loraine arrived at the shelter to pay the fees for the dogs, she asked me what I wanted to do. I couldn't bare the thought of losing this dog. I kept thinking about him being put on a table, given a shot and watching his life slip away. It kept playing over and over in my mind. I kept picturing his sad face, laying there with his paws crossed so politely.
I didn't know what we would do with this dog. I didn't know how long it would take him to find a home or much of anything for that matter, but the one thing I did know, was that I couldn't live with myself if he died. I made the decision to save his life today and I was able to do that because a kind soul named Jennifer stepped up to sponsor him. So tomorrow morning, the shelter will transport him, along with a Border Collie that one of our followers saved to the vet for his checkup and shots. He will stay there until a forever home is found and let me tell you that I will be picky. This boy will go only to a home as special as he is. Maybe that lucky person could be you.
It's been a busy last couple of weeks and we have saved a lot of dogs. I want to sincerely thank everyone who shared them and those who sponsored their adoption fees, as well as helped with transport costs. These dogs are proof of what can happen when passionate people come together to make a difference.