Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gone to the Dogs? That's not all bad!

I have been so very blessed to have wonderful, caring friends in most stages of my life.  I couldn’t have made it through some of the toughest times in my life without these dear friends.  And I’ve met an awful lot of nice people along the way.  But even with a lot of wonderful people in my life, my most recent volunteer experience has blown me away.  Since last August, I have been fostering dogs in Arkansas for Rescue Road.  These dogs end up riding transport north to New England to Last Hope K9 Rescue.  There are foster parents on both ends and adopters on the New England end (where they don’t have so many dogs, due to their strict spay and neuter laws).  We rescue dogs from kill shelters and also those who are abandoned – generally boxes of puppies abandoned at a few weeks old or less, generally requiring bottle feeding to survive. You might ask who would do such a thing?  I’m not sure I would want to know them personally, but I’ve learned that so many people are cruel to animals that it’s frightening for our world.

As foster parents, whether in Arkansas or Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont or Connecticut (or other states), we rarely know each other personally.  A few of us have met, but we mostly do not know each other’s political or religious beliefs or even sexual preference.  What we do know is that we all love dogs and are all intent on saving as many lives as we can.  We share our experiences and dog stories and pictures on a Facebook page open just to LHK9 fosters and adopters.  It’s where we seek advice about a particular issue or where we just encourage each other and share our love for individual dogs we may have fostered or for all of the dogs in general.  There are pit bulls and Labradors and Shepherds and mixes.  There are babies and seniors, some healthy and some not so much.  There are often dogs that have to undergo heartworm treatment and some who are recovering from injuries inflicted by downright mean or at least very negligent owners.

Last Hope also pulls dogs from other states and sometimes, dogs left in very bad situations.  Just this week, there was a skinny, scared dog chained to a Brooklyn, NY fire hydrant.  Again, who would do such a horrible thing?  A kind Department of Sanitation employee found her yesterday morning and sent pictures to his friends.  This went viral on Facebook and in e-mails and Last Hope agreed to take in this dog.  Yesterday, she went to a local veterinary office to spend the night and receive medical care.  Today, Last Hope co-founder Rachele Huelsman and adoption coordinator Lindsay LaRocca drove from Boston to NYC to rescue Liberty.  She is now in a 48-hour quarantine, required by Massachusetts’s law for every dog who crosses the state line.  Along the way, they posted pics and Miss Liberty seemed to be completely trusting and comfortable in her new situation.  Us crazy dog people are following her and relishing in the miracle of her life.  If you want to be inspired, just like the Lady Liberty: My Freedom from Trash to Treasure on Facebook.
I wanted to write about this not just because of the amazing dog rescue stories and people, but because of the unique relationships we have for each other as human beings who share a common goal.  Some of us became Facebook friends because we’ve shared certain dogs or experiences and we have learned to respect and care for each other even more because of this.  Or we may just connect on the Last Hope Foster page, but we do everything we can to encourage and support each other.  I have never seen so many on Facebook postings as I do on this page.  The love is obvious and not just for the dogs!

So, we may be very different people with possibly little else in common, but our love for these animals binds us together in a very special way. It is truly an inspiring thing and one I sincerely wish could be duplicated in more relationships and life situations.  In a world where differences cause us to spew hate and venom and/or tacky Facebook postings or worse toward those who disagree with or are different from us, a lot could be learned from this dog rescue group.  As a start, maybe Congress could take a lesson!

Want to be part of this amazing group?  If you’re in Arkansas, check out Rescue Road on Facebook – we desperately need fosters, for a few weeks at a time.  Also, go to Last Hope K9 Rescue to watch how it works.  A lot of dedicated people put in a lot of time to make all this happen and I am thankful for all of them (Melanie Stapleton, Chelsea Cameron to name a few in Arkansas and Rachele and Lindsay, plus Hannalore Allison Tice, Tina Muther-Hicks and Jill Monahan, along with others in Massachusetts).

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