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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lucky Dog

The past few days, have been very emotional. In the last blog I wrote, I mentioned rescue dogs that may live only 8 months after their rescue due to age or illness or accidents. I recognized that they have had the best 8 months of their lives. If you have not read that one yet, please go back and read it...I am actually pretty proud of it. I hesitate to write this one because it may not reach the mark in my mind that the last blog did...I will say I am proud of what I wrote.

To make a short story long... Last winter we had taken in a small lhaso poo from a puppy mill. She was so scared she would sometimes snap at us wildly if we approached too quickly, and she was COVERED in matts and fleas. Her ear flaps stuck straight out from her head due to the large ear matts she had. Her legs were matted together under her chest and belly making walking uncomfortable. She was one that we literally put under anesthesia immediately after taking her in, because we could not let her go on in that condition.

We named her "Lucky", and for quite some time she was the cover dog for our "Animal Alliance and Puppy Mill Rescue" group on facebook. We were so in love with a dog that we could hardly touch. Well, this woman calls from Minnesota. She wants to come meet Lucky. Her application and vet reference were spotless. We were brutally honest with her about Lucky's fear issues. It was never an aggression in the sense of "I am going to bite you", but more of a "if you grab me I am just going to grab at anything to get loose". Well, she STILL wanted to come down and meet her. We had gotten Lucky past the snapping if we approached slowly and in a way that she could see us clearly. Soon she was able to be brought in and out of the cage for potty visits outside...but by no means had she shown any sign of real affection for us.

This woman drives the 4 hours to come meet Lucky. My assistant talks to her about Lucky again so the woman knows just what to expect. Then he goes in the back, brings Lucky to the meeting room. And then it happened. Lucky walked up to this woman, licked her hand, then sat and let her pet her!!! Let's just say there was no way we were going to let this woman leave without that dog. It was a deal whether she liked it or not!

We called her a few times for updates and Lucky seemed to be fitting into the household very well, gaining more and more trust as time passed. Until a few weeks ago, the woman's parents were doggie-sitting for Lucky...and she got away. She immediately notified us in case her id tag or microchip led anyone who might find Lucky to us.

The morning after writing the last blog which discussed this very type of situation, there was a message on the machine at work. It was a tearful message from Lucky's Mom. She was informing us that they did find her, but that she was not alive. I have not spoken with her yet, so I don't know the details of Lucky's death, ie hit by car, or whether they found her yesterday or days after they reported her missing weeks ago. But the emotion in the message was clear. They loved her, and they loved the time they spent with her. They didn't regret one moment of their time with her.

I have to say that my last blog helped me through this experience. It is so emotionally draining to realize that you put all this effort into this little life, only to find out that she survived 11 months after being adopted. I can look at this as a reason to quit doing what I do, or I can look at her 11 months as inspiration.

I want to raise my glass to each month of love and affection that little dog received, each kiss that she received and returned, and each walk that she took. I want to pat Lucky's Mom on the back for all she did for that little dog. I want to thank God for guiding my life in this direction, even though there are times when I question it.

There is a reason why my blog was written about that very topic, and the phone call came just hours following my self expression and self exploration. There is a reason this blog is not just a window for you to peak into my little life as entertainment or education. This blog is also a way for me to explore myself, learn from my experiences, and keep me suited up for the next Lucky that comes my way.

I am going to change my photo for the blog to Lucky in salute of her 11 months of love. As I look at the before photo of Lucky in our facebook group's page, I cannot believe how far she came. I look at my animal hospital, and I see the direction it is taking, straight into the animal rescue fast lane, and I am happy. Happy to continue doing what I love.

Someday, hopefully far in the future, as I approach the rainbow bridge, I am going to be greeted by a large mass of furry friends...and loving every minute of it. And behind them all will be my Mom, shaking her head, saying, "Only you, Lisa. Only, you."


jdsully said...

This touched me and made me cry as I am the woman that was "lucky" enough to enjoy Lucky for the last few months. Although she was with us for a short time...she will not be forgotten. I read your memories, Dr. Deppe, of Lucky and I am happy to say that we saw a different side of Lucky. She was with my parents for most recently and soon learned that if she ran to the door when she heard the garage open, she would get to take my dad for a walk. She slowly learned that we would give her love and cuddle her (although at first it was foreign to her) she would eventually settle in and you could literally feel the release of her tense little body and she would melt right into you. She went to family reunions, ate dinner on the couch (which even I am not allowed to do :) and was a fantastic listener. She was a wonderful part of our family with a devastating end...she ran like the wind for her last month...she always stayed in my parents neighborhood but never let anyone get close enough to touch her and she would run again, tail in the air and seemingly happy (all the neighbors were leaving food out in hopes she would come close enough...) We spent endless hours looking but ultimately she passed from what we think is a hawk - very quickly and painlessly...the pain was more for us than it was for her as now she is not scared and free...I will hopefully be able to attach a picture of the Lucky we remember and thank you for all that you do at Jewell Animal Hospital for allowing us the time with her...

jdsully said...

I am not a great blogger so I do apologize but if you click on my name above or if you click on Lucky's picture under followers you will see a more updated picture...