My best friend has been rescuing dogs since we were in our twenties. As one of the most influential people in my life, I could devote a whole post to the awesomeness that is Lisa. She taught me things that I never gave a second thought about and led by example; animal cruelty in the cosmetic industry, the importance of being charitable as well as protecting our planet. These ideals have been part of who she is since she was a young girl in the 80’s. People seem to care about important things less and less. Too busy pointing their phones at themselves, they want the latest designer dog, or a cute puppy. Why rescue a mangy mutt when all it takes is cash to buy the dog of your dreams?
When I finally got my first dog, supposedly for my son, I truly wanted to find a rescue. I encountered two hurdles in that noble endeavor. I was asthmatic and needed a hypo-allergenic dog. Ten years ago there were very few purebred dogs in the shelters, and if they were, they had been abused and tended to be nippy. I had kids around all the time which concerned me. So we bought Alvin, a little black poodle puppy who stole my heart. We had that dog for 14 years and I was as close to him as I ever was to any human.
Alvin had a brain tumor and had to be put to sleep last year, right after Christmas. Don’t worry, he has his own blog and a garden devoted just to him! Boy, I loved that little crazy, feisty dog. So when it was time for him to leave this earth, I was quietly bereft, unable to sleep, uninterested in food. I couldn’t stand not hearing his little feet on the tiles in my house. All the silly things he did, we did. I’d have a yogurt every night before bed, and he’d wait patiently for me to finish so he could lick the empty container clean. I’d say “yogurt time Alvin” and he would promplty follow me into the bedroom, tail wagging feverishly.
I swore that when he went, there would NEVER be another dog. I endured so many worries over him; ER visits, seizures, months of medicines, thyroid disease, medical procedures. The gaping hole that his absence left in my life, however, was too painful. I decided, after I hadn’t slept for 48 hours, that I should “foster” a dog . I looked all over the internet – I tried to pick one that had fur so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep it. I knew it was too soon to make any decisions. I went to the local animal shelter to pick up, a chubby little female with hair who needed a break from all the barking and commotion. Perfect!! I needed a break from the quiet. The rescue instructed me to pick her up at the groomer next door. She was growling and nipping when I walked in. “She doesn’t like men, I can’t even groom her,” the old guy said, and suggested I drag her out from under the counter where she was hiding. Seriously? ” Oh, I am just a foster, I am not qualified, and she seems like she’s hurt.” So that was that, she was shipped off to the vet to see what was ailing her.
Undettered, I was not to going home alone. I entered the main shelter area, scanning for a dog that might need me. There were three hairless Chinese Cresteds in one of the room size cages. Craziest looking dogs I’ve ever seen, PLUS, they all had their tongues hanging out of their mouths because they had no teeth. The lack of sleep was getting to me. “What am I thinking?” The three of them walked around nervously. Suddenly, one came walking over to me and put her little pink hairless paws up on my legs. It was an odd gesture because she was clearly terrified. She looked up at me with beautiful amber eyes and beseached me to help her. The tip of one of her ears was crusty with a chunk missing from it. “These three were seized from a hoarders home who was a backyard breeder,” the volunteer offered. “They were in terrible shape.” I bent down to let her smell me and she almost climbed on my lap. She was an awkward little thing, all legs and neck, but it was if she knew I was the one. I’ve never experienced such a thing in my life. And I sort of knew she was the one too!
Next thing I knew “Petunia” (uggh, that name) was in my arms on the way to my car, as volunteers scurried behind us with every provision imagineable, worried I might change my mind. “You’re a foster mom!” they all cheerfully said. “What just happened?” I thought. Once we were home, I knew what the answer to that was. I rescued a dog a few days after my beloved Alvin was gone. I felt a little guilty but part of me thought he sent her, or whispered in her ear, “you’ve had a hard life, go with this one, she’s a little crazy, but I promise you will like her.” She was never a foster, and I never uttered the name “Petunia,” not once. She wisely “picked” me because she was sick and abandonned and knew I would try my best to heal her. I named her “Trixie” because she looked naked, and I figured that sounded like a pretty good stripper name;)
We were bonded the moment I entered that cage. Rescuing an animal is such an amazing phenomenon, it elludes words. Trixie showered me with unconditional love and gratitude from the moment we met. I have to be honest though, I didn’t rescue her at all, she rescued me. She literally reached out her paw, and stole my broken heart.