All eyes and ears are on the economy as homes and jobs are lost and people stand frozen in fear of what is to come. I’m not going to go down the Self-Fulfilling-Prophecy rant (but who can forget Oedipus’ tragic mistake as everyone in the audience knows what is to come but can do nothing to alter his actions?). Well, maybe a little rant…we CAN alter OUR actions but must come together as a community to see the effects of our collective actions. Which is why sometimes I love to get the same email over and over again.
Back in the time of plenty when daycare numbers were golden and good, the kinds of emails I would receive would be desperate calls for anyone sparing space, time, money, travel or heart for a dog on its last leg. A dog about to be put down because there was just no. more. room. Ultimately, most of these emails had happy endings where the area (sometimes the whole Southeast) would each pitch in a little each to keep this one little dog safe and alive. Sometimes it was driving a leg of a transport route to get a hound from Ocala to Birmingham where a new foster mom was preparing to take in a scared but thankful pup. Others it was a plea for bottle-feeders to help out baby puppies whose mom was too sick to nurse. These were all noble causes and invariably had one thing in common: they were shelter dogs.
Now that things are starting to get frightening and good people are losing income, I’m getting emails about owner surrenders. Not the normal and infuriating, “My dog jumped the fence,” “I don’t have time,” “I can’t stand the barking” owner surrenders…but heartbreaking stories of families having to downsize to apartments (or move in with parents, siblings or kids) that won’t accept their dogs. Families who have had their dogs for years, loving and trusting each other. Families being ripped apart because of unfortunate circumstances. I hope to see none of these dogs (who have lived in homes with people, on beds and in yards) end up behind a kennel fence at the shelter because no one else could lend a much needed hand. We’re all checking our finances and peering into shrinking wallets. But the moment that we’re too self-involved to reach out is the moment we don’t deserve to have a dog’s loyalty anymore.
This email that I continue to receive from dog friends around the Panhandle is the story of Coco and Cookie. Or Coco and Cookie’s parents rather. Here’s the email:
“This family has lost their home and the apartment does not allow dogs. They are looking for a home for the two Labs. See below.
As many of you know, we are moving in just 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I have still not been able to find a good home for Cookie and Coco. We’re not able to take our beloved doggies with us and I’ve been desperately trying to find a home for both of them ‘together’. They were raised together and pine without each other. The Lab rescue has already said that they would probably separate them, so this is my last resort.
Recently I tried to take Coco out in my car alone and she TOTALLY
refused to even get into the car without Cookie…..!!!! She absolutely pulled back on her haunches until Cookie was by her side. Both doggies are in great health, have been spayed and have ID chips implanted under the skin.
Cookie turned 3 December 10th and Coco will be 3 April 1st. Cookie is my mellow-yellow, and just loves her tummy rubbed. Coco is adorably funny and lives for her “ball”. She also loves the water….. Cookie loves lots of attention. Both doggies are loyal and love to walk. They have been raised with my 3 kids running around all over the place, and have survived Sammy’s constant hugging and love of ‘dress-up’, so they are fantastic family dogs. This is by far one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but under the circumstances I have no choice.
Please, Please forward these pics to all you know and help me find a
great home for these fabulous doggies. They are just adorable and it’s heartbreaking to let them go. In a perfect world, I hope that we could find someone local so that we can still keep in touch and visit them. I pray that someone, somewhere can help us keep Cookie and Coco together, and love them just as much as we do. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
This is the third such story that I’ve heard of a person or family being in a dire situation and needing help to care for their dogs. I can’t even begin to imagine having to sit down and write an email like that. Give up Chloe? Paco? Misha? Tetsy? Handing them over to a stranger and then walking away as they strain to follow? Life goes on after them? I can imagine however, how desperate they must feel to find the very best home, with warm comforters, green grass and lots of hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.
So this is why I’m so pleased that in the financial strain everyone is feeling, at least people are concerned and reaching out to their fellow dog lovers, sending out tendrils of hope in every which direction, searching for that one person who’s heart and home is open to just a few more dogs.