Reality Sets In
I wanted my first post to be a little insight about myself but as I thought about it more I decided it should be about the exact moment shelter life smacked me in the face.
As I walked the rows of kennels at the city's animal shelter (in a west Texas border city) I carefully looked at all the faces that pleaded with me to take them. As I walked along with my many leashes hanging out of my scrub pockets and an animal services adoption counselor by my side as we mark who I take with me to the no-kill shelter next door I spot a gorgeous pittie mix! Oh I just had to have her and she was ready for the trip, the trip that would change her life. She was a large dog with the head and body of a pitbull but her coat was exactly like that of a Blue Heeler, I had never seen such a beauty. I grabbed a leash from my pocket fixed it around her neck and now was the hard part... the evaluation. Was she friendly? Was she healthy? She came crashing out of the kennel door straight towards my face and I had zero time to react. When her front legs landed on my waist and she made contact I felt nothing but her big slobbery tongue and wet nose, nothing but pure joy and happiness fell over her and I as she kissed and hugged me. She was thankful, so thankful that she made me carry her like a baby with no struggle next door where she would be safe.
As soon as we hit the intake room I fed and watered her and readied for heartworm testing and vaccines. I put her in a nice quiet kennel with a blankie and waited for the results of her heartworm test. She was positive for heartworms and just as the results sank in she coughed and sneezed up horrible mucous. I stood there in a panic and a million things were racing around in my head "Find another rescue to take her? Foster her and spend my own funds to treat her? Maybe it's just a cold?". As I go to her to wipe her face clear of boogies I notice her twitching in places she should not be and her jaw was trembling. She most likely had distemper and the shelter's policy did not allow any severely contagious cases into the shelter if it could be caught immediately. Now I have treated many cases of parvo and distemper but in those cases they were not showing symptoms upon intake. Sadly and truly I had to walk her back to where she came, I could not risk the healthy population of the no-kill shelter.
The pretty pittie and I walked back to animal services. She walked patiently beside me as we made our way thorough the long hallways to an office where I was to drop her off and alert them she is positive and sick. The staff was too busy to walk her back to "The Room" so I had to do it. We arrived to "The Room" and it was so cold, dark and horribly upseting, it was a room where many local pets find themselves and a room that will be needed until we change our ways. I opened the cold steel kennel door, she hopped right in, sat down, looked at me as if she knew and I gave her a kiss on the head. She seemed to want to take the worry from me. I went on with my day with a huge lump in my throat but I held my head high and did another intake of about 10 doggies that where healthy and now safe form "The Room".
Later that day after my shift I sat in my car crying and asking why? I know why, we all know why... irresponsible pet owners and the lack of education in every community. After that day I knew that the road to rescue is not paved with puppies, kittens and adoption numbers but it is full of unbelievable heartbreak that will shake you to the core.
Lesson: I learned that you cant save them all but we can all F****** TRY!
Moral: Keep your dogs on heartworm prevention, vaccinate and spay/neuter (if this was done that pretty pittie would still be here today)
Fact: Donja's Dogs tests every dog for heartworms and tick-borne diseases and treats them if they are positive with no extra adoption fee added on.
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Author: Kira M.
Working in shelters for years has opened my eyes to things I would have never seen before so here is the good, the bad and the ugly of living a life that so little would choose to live.