Friday, January 17, 2014

Rescue Me



Held back
You can't
You shouldn't
Held back
Shame and rules
Held back
Afraid to love

Held back
Afraid to love
more than you could lose

Let it run
You can
Held back no longer.
For it's your life
your rules
No longer afraid

Let it out
even if it hurts
Don't be afraid
you've nothing left to lose
- Brigid

Mom is busy working, so for you all, a story from the past - Barkley

A few years back, in another life, another employer, one night late, I got a phone call. The caller was LEO, female, a friend. We chit chatted regularly but a call this late was not good news and I was afraid it was professional in nature. She said "B., I need you to help me rescue a dog."

Apparently, the deadbeats who'd been living in an old rental house down the road from their farm booked out in the middle of the night. She saw the vehicles loading up and leaving, good riddance, she thought. Then, late at night she heard, carried on the wind, the pitiful cry.

A coyote? A dog? The neighbors are gone, it must be someone else, she thought. The next night she didn't hear it over the cold wind, the third night she did, a high pitched whine of a soul's abandonment. The house remained dark, the utter stillness, utter silence, a testament to the tears outside.

Her husband away on business, she crept over, no sign that the residents were anything but gone, house empty of belongings, yard covered in trash. It was a pup, a retriever, purebred from the looks, left chained up in the backyard with a bowl filled with rain water and no food. Left to die when they vacated in a hurry. She called - "I need back up." Off the clock, just civilians, I knew what she meant. So off I headed, no purse, just a  personal weapon, my  ID, some cash and dog treats in my pocket. I got there; the house definitely vacant, no meth heads coming back and surprising us.

As we approached her, even in the dark, we could see the  poor animal was starving and cold, temps reaching down in the 40's. Tonight was grey and  even more cold, with a forecast of rain or freezing rain, but still the sky held in the moisture, refusing to release it.  But  it was supposed to go below freezing; she wouldn't have survived the night, it's only companion, the smell of water and blood.

Blood?  Why do I smell blood?

My friend, crouched down over it as I stood watch, pointed at something, hard nosed law officer that she was, with tears in her eyes. The dog had outgrown her collar, and it was actually was cutting deep into the flesh, leaving bloody tracks in would have been the soft fur of contentment. She had to be in terrible pain, but she only licked our hands and tried to snuggle up. My friend said "can you get it out?" I always have some first aid/medical type implements in my bag but I had to say "I've never cut on anything still breathing". I expected the dog to bite me as I worked, gently, with small tools to free it. She just continued to nuzzle our hands, even though in my attempt to remove this tiny round torture device, I had to be causing her more pain.

I looked up to the sky, thinking for a moment the clouds had finally given up their rain, when I realized, what was on my tongue was the taste of salt as I worked away.

When finally we stood, the dog in her arms, the remnants of that collar laying on the ground like a broken mirror, we heard the crunch of tires, both of us putting our hands near our weapons There was the flash of red and blue, of a bright flashlight, the glint of a shield, as we smiled, thankful for assistance and she was recognized with a "What are you ladies doing out here?!" My friend called out "hey D.!" He replied, calling her by her LEO title ". . . . What ARE you doing out here? I was keeping an eye on this place in case they were back and up to no good."

She said, "I'm just stealing this dog Sir" He looked at the dog , a puppy really, and looked at me (I was not a local) and said "who's this?". She told him who I was, his eyes widened a bit in recognition and he chuckled and said "and what are YOU doing out here?" I said "HELPING her to steal this dog, SIR!"

He just laughed. Calling the local animal officer was suggested, but we told him, given this rural area, that might take an hour or more, the pup was in bad shape and had lost blood, she could die if we didn't do something. My friend told him we'd take him to the vet, pay the bill ourselves and get her a good home. The dog clearly was a "stray" in the eyes of the law, abandoned to die. The Sheriff just said "Dog? What dog? I didn't see any dog", and tucked $30 in our hands to help towards the vet bill before he helped us load up and drove off.

The dog was cleaned up at the vets, an after hour emergency call, the wound not causing any permanent damage, but serious. In a few hours, that gentle little retriever was bandaged up and home at my friends, after an amber toast in crystal goblets, recognition among tired friends, as she curled up to sleep near the fire, joining a household that already had two spoiled, well loved dogs.

I hadn't thought of that in years, until the day some time back, another time, another city.  A friend told me of a couple of stray dogs spotted by her office building, a place I often drive past on my way into work. The dogs were obviously dumped, she said, skin and bones, and she couldn't lure them close to her. A couple others had tried, with no luck. She was almost in tears as she told me, having a soft spot for strays (though we agreed stray cows do make tasty cheeseburgers). Animal control was called, then, and later, but the dogs ran off into some extended woods behind an old building nearby.

A few days later, driving by her office on my way back into the city, I saw, along the side of the road, a young woman pulled over, petting the form of the dog laying on the grass next to the curb. I pulled in behind her, and put on my emergency flashers, my work I.D. hanging around my neck as I approached, saying "can I help?"

 It had to be one of the dogs my friend described. At first I thought that perhaps she'd accidentally struck the dog with her vehicle, but I could see as I approached that the dog was just too weak to move.  It was emaciated, probably less than a year old, a bulldog/perhaps a little pit bull/mystery dog mix with a too small blocky face and low slung, long body.   It was hard to tell, the dog so malnourished, the coat so worn away and mangy to not even be recognized as fur.
She said "another woman from that office there (pointing) was by, she got food for the dogs and is fetching a car to transport him, someone else has already taken the other dog to the humane society, this one is in bad shape."

The lady who had brought the food was my friend, another employee in a nearby building taking the other dog to the dog shelter. The dog remaining had eaten the half dozen or so burgers that my friend had brought and a lot of water, and just lay there, panting, as this young women stroked him and talked soothingly. Yet he had an expression, as bad off as he was, as if he knew no one was going to hurt him ever again. I called my office to let them know I'd be late returning and would do a leave slip for payroll when I got back.

I called my friend, back over at her office on the phone trying to find a vet. She said "if I take him to the humane society as bad as he is, they'll just put him down". She had called several vets, no one could get him in right away. She said she then called one animal hospital, not super close, but within driving distance. They could see him. It was Barkley's vet, not just one of the many vets there, but HIS vet, the pretty little blond he adores.

She came back with a coworker, while the young woman that had been there on my arrival went back to work. We rounded up a blanket and a box from our vehicle supplies and the dog was loaded into the back of an SUV, one person driving, one person, continuing to pet it, off to the vet.  The exam was done and the dog admitted. A few hundred dollars were left for vet bills, my friend securing any additional payments with her credit card, which likely will be more. The dog had fleas, ticks and numerous bloody scrapes in a coat that was badly in need of care, the fur almost gone. They'd have to check for heart worm and Lyme. One eye had an injury but it was fairly clear. An IV was set up and my friend stayed with him while they got him settled in for a night or two stay. My friend was widowed and recently had to put down the very elderly dog they'd bought together. I remember too well when she told me that, everything leaving her eyes but the loss and her statement that she was not going to get another one, she was done with loss. That day, again she said she absolutely did NOT need another dog but wasn't going to let him die alone and in pain along the side of a road. She was NOT going to get attached to him.

She said "I wanted a lab, a healthy, pretty dog". I looked at her and said "Sometimes God doesn't give us what we think we want, sometimes He gives us what we need" and just waved as I drove off. We've all learned love, we've all learned loss, sometimes we have to learn hope.

Now, years later, that dog is firmly part of a home, sleeping peacefully, breathing slow into the darkness, leaving their touch upon a heart.

30 comments:

  1. These are the stories that make me actually want to torture the people who caused such suffering. Without hesitation. I love the happy beginnings (not endings) successful rescues. The people who stopped to care are saints.

    I can't go near shelters, I'd end up bringing all of them along with me when I left. But every chance I have some spare money, that's the first place I would gladly give to.

    Long ago when I lived in a rental house that came with cats, one ended up all chewed up by some wild critter. And to my amazement there was an actual Pet Ambulance service. 2 vets had bought an old ambulance and refitted it to be a mobile vets office, it was pretty cool. Out they came to fix up Boy Cat, and I paid them extra just to be sure they stayed rolling.



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  2. Good story. The right words, e.g. “...For it's your life, your rules...”, and "...tasty cheeseburgers." LOL

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  3. What a great story of helping animals. I've never understood how anyone can just abandon animals. I think there is a special place in hell for anyone who hurts children, the innocents and animals. My mom has always used a saying "People plan and G-d laughs". G-d has a way of making things work for the best although sometimes it takes awhile to see the brilliance of his plans!

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  4. About a month ago, a dog came to my house; too hurt and scared to let instincts take over.

    The injury to her jaw was horrific. A huge furrow went next to her eye, down her jowl and her jaw was shattered. All was horribly infected and she was burning up with fever.

    The vet, like I was thinking, recommended euthanasia. There was too much damage.

    As I sat with the dog at the vet, looked at the injury and tried to determine what happened, I suddenly realized the damage was probably from a bullet at close range; otherwise an attempt to kill the dog.

    I've seen this too many times. When you live in a rural area, you find the heartless efforts of people to relinquish responsibility leads to suffering by the one animal that truly has unselfish love and devotion.

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  5. I need to call facilities about the dust in my office. It's back.

    You are a wonderful writer, and a great soul.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I did the same thing a year ago. Then I notified the county, who paid for me to adopt and get some basic vet care. Now, I have another faithful friend forever. "No good deed goes unpunished" is too often true, but in both these instances, it was worth the chances we took.

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  7. Damn, it's a little dusty in here...

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  8. Every time someone acts unselfishly to save a dog or cat, an angel gets it's wings. God sees.

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  9. I must apologize,
    I keep saying you write in Kodachrome.
    I tasted the tears and smelled the blood from the too tight collar from your writing. Kodachrome can't do that.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    Rich in NC

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  10. That story got dust in my eyes, or something.

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  11. Better check the window latch - it suddenly got dusty in here. Yeah, that's it.

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  12. Wow. I'm going to pet my two dogs extra tonight when I get home. Thanks for posting that.

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  13. God bless all the dog rescuers. For 25 years, all of our German Sheps have been rescues. We've tremendously benefited from all of the rescuer's unselfish, loving work.

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  14. I can't add much to what's been already said, but this was a beautiful piece. Pets are so trusting, so loving, that I can never understand how someone could mistreat or neglect them. Thank you for being there for those animals.

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  15. So many kind souls here, touched by an animal, after a couple of long days, these comments really touched my heart. Thank you.

    I need to get cleaned up and eat, and pat my dog. I will be back in the morning with some comments.

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  16. By the Grace of God, ALL the animals I've owned (or been responsible for) have been some kind of rescue.
    They've all had their own personalities, and all loved in their own way.

    gfa

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  17. I would never leave such noble creatures to die. What a touching, moving story. The shelter is close by. Perhaps a four legged friend is indicated here despite the obstacles.

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  18. There is a Golden Retriever/GSD mix, lying protectively next to my chair right now. He's very loyal and loving, his nickname could be "Velcro". But his real name is "Bubba".

    I found him abandoned in a back yard, same as your friend. He was not chained, but had survived by eating bugs and drinking rainwater.

    Monkeywrangler and her children know what a great dog he is. He's gone from 44 to 90 pounds, and is the best friend I have. He gets bacon on Saturday's like Barkley, and peanut butter/cheese cookies after his walk.

    He's not spoiled, he's just appreciated. ;)

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  19. Our dog Calico came from an abandoned litter in Detroit.
    Almost the finest dog I've ever had as a companion.

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  20. naturegirl - I'd have taken that first pup, but I was flying for a living at the time, and living alone, there was no way I could have a pet. He had a very long and happy life.

    Murphy's Law - I'm so glad you saved Murphy and Belle.

    Richard Henseley - mmmm. Cheeseburgers.

    Sarah - Amen.

    Jess - that is just so sad, the poor thing. You did all you could to ease its suffering. Bless you.

    Cathy Monroe - thank you Cathy.

    Eric - I try, sometimes I fail, but I do try.

    JaneofVirginia - Barkley is almost 12, I hope he'll be around a lot longer, but it will seem like an instant. I can never replace him, he's always been my favorite dog, but there will be a Rescue Dog, there someday.

    Jaime G. - thank you for stopping and taking the time to comment.

    Rich in NC - you're welcome. As long as there are folks like you that like to read this, I'll keep posting it for the public.

    Chris, Alma B and Rev. Paul - that dust gets around my computer a lot as well. Hugs.

    c.w. Swanson - give them an extra one from me.

    UnoMass - they are indeed great dogs. Good choice.

    daddybearsden - You're very welcome.

    armedlaughing - Barkley was the offspring of a colleagues dog, and I was welcome to one of the litter, otherwise I'd have rescued one.

    Keads - with my career, a dog is an extra expense outside of the norm as I have to have someone dog sit, often during the month. But with friends and a couple female college students who are children of friends that want to earn a little extra money, he is very rarely boarded and quite happy with his extended family.

    Sherry - with two wonderful black labs at your home, you do understand.

    Old NFO - yes, and you need a Sniffer for it, not a Swiffer. :-)

    Steakburner - Monkeywrangler is a fine woman, and I've enjoyed our many, many chats. You are in good people sir, to be park of her pack, with your own animals as well.

    Ed Bonderenka - well done, Calico has got a good home.

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  21. Unlike naturegirl, I'd simply cut to the chase. A .22 behind the left ear solves the problem permanently.

    Like naturegirl, I can't go anywhere near a shelter. My wife already thinks I'm the crazy cat guy, and we only have 6--all rescues, 5 by us, 1 by our vet.

    And you, dear lady, besides being an awesome storyteller, are simply an awesome person. You are the sort of person I ask blessings for every night before I go to bed.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get some windows cleaner, because this screen has gotten finger prints on it again, and it's blurry.

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  22. I tend to purvey your posts when I am alone and thinking stray thoughts. No matter what though, you write beautiful memories making the reader join you on trips thru life. From one animal lover to another, please don't ever stop reminding me to always care for the sweet souls that are left out there for one reason or another.

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  23. I would love to have a dog, to rescue one like you've described. I know the benefits of dog ownership and the love of a kind animal. I know what it can do for the soul. But our youngest daughter is so scared of dogs that we stick with our cats.

    We think of our cats as rescues before they needed it...we took them so that they wouldn't need to see the inside of a shelter. We have a styrofoam shelter set up outside for the local neighbor's kitty, who is an outdoor cat. (We also leave the door to our shed open, so he can escape weather in there too.)

    I am glad to know there are still people in this world who care so deeply for the animals that nearly everyone else has forgotten.

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  24. There are wonderful people in the world, and you are one of them.

    There are also people who should rot in jail forever. Those that abandon animals like that belong in that category.

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I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..