Although I haven’t been writing much for a while due to launching a business (no, not in the animal industry) I’m still out here.  I wanted to offer this true and very personal story, prompted by my own experiences and commentary generated by “The Tipping Point”, written by Susi Szeremy


Tears fall as I stroke silky dog ears in the night.  The deathwatch quietly ticks for the old old dog who sleeps between us.  My heart breaks at the emptiness that will soon be there, a space that has only been filled for a year.

It was then we made space in our lives for an old Gordon Setter who needed a home.  It was supposed to be fostering.  Skinny, weak hind legs, three toes on a foot and nearly blind, he wobbled in the door and said he was home.  We didn’t know much, supposedly left at a kennel to languish and handed to rescue when the kennel changed hands.  We could have made up a back story.  We could have assumed. It would have been easy. It happens all the time. “Such a sweet dog.  Aren’t people terrible to abandon them once they get old?”  “He’s so clingy, he must have been neglected.”  “Aren’t dogs amazing, never loved yet so trusting?” You hear these stories all the time, its hard to resist filling in the gaps.

The truth in his case was so much sadder.   His owner found us.  She never asked for him back, only wrote back about all the things that make him happy. She wrote of salmon and tuna fish, watching Coronation Street together and him singing along with “How much is that doggie in the window”.  She wrote of night time runs, early morning Tim Horton’s trips and every day together.  We learned of a dog loved and never away from her but once.  A dog entrusted to care overseen by a friend while family duty mandated her absence.  A trust betrayed and an owner informed her best friend was dead.  A dear canine friend mourned, only to find him on an old rescue notice and far away on his last legs. It could have happened to any of us. The clash between duties and being failed by someone we believed would help us.

Can you imagine having mourn the death of the dog of your heart … twice?

This is a dog that is LOVED. Both his families concerned only with what is best for him, grieving because his time left is so short.  Both families outraged that he isn’t where he should have been the whole time. Both families understanding that he can no longer travel.  Rivers of tears fall on both sides over for the unfairness of it all.

This experience is a reminder of so many lessons. Truth is harder, sadder and more complicated than fiction.  People are often better then we believe. Rescue means safe harbor from danger and (re)union with loved ones.  The dog finds you as much as you find them.  Dogs will tell us what they need: comfort or space, encouragement or limits, quiet or play, but most of all … love.  That we honor them best by taking the facts we know and letting them tell us the rest.

3 Responses to “Truth and Rescue Dog Stories: Personal”

  1. LD Snipes says:

    Thank you for this post. I know the pain of entrusting a dog to someone only to have the dog be lost, to never know… In 2009, I took in a shelter dog. She was scared and skittish but settled in much too quickly. Some little dog syndrome. It would have been easy to read much into little, make negative inferences and assumptions, but I chose not to. I simply couldn't believe there wasn't an owner out there looking for her, grieving for her… I guess that's why I felt the need to give her a dogster page and a possible chance to get home. I haven't had the heart to update her dogster page to show her death yet. http://www.dogster.com/dogs/1055193

  2. DCC says:

    I work in a shelter and often those who take dogs from us actually prefer knowing their dog was mistreated. I think it makes them feel better about themselves. This is a weird human problem. Many of the 2,000 dogs that come to us are/were much loved. Too bad that doesn't sell because they need new homes as much (if not more) than a dog who doesn't even know there are good homes.

  3. Safirewolf says:

    I continually tell the wonderful woman who rescues senior and special needs shelties that her courageous and selfless work on behalf of the dogs is made no less valuable for there being the absence of a villain… It doesn't always sink in. We humans are "meaning makers" and as such we are "driven" to fill in the blanks to make a story complete. Many of of us see in the eyes of a dog, the pain we have felt in our own lives, and have, as yet, not resolved. We think this connection we have made is like the one between God and mankind, where we have become "god" and the dog has become our rescued self. Sometimes it works for the dog, but often, a human-being is thoroughly wrongly judged, and objectified by one who was never given that particular spiritual role in this great Universe…

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