You’ve probably heard the story of the little boy walking along a beach picking up starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean. A man comes along and asks, “What are you doing”? The little boy replied “I’m saving them”! The man shakes his head, looking up and down the beach, “Look how many starfish there are on this beach, it really won’t make a difference”. The young boy listens politely, reaches down and tosses another back into the sea. “Sir,” he replied, “it made a difference to that one”.
I had this same feeling when I rescued my two dogs. Cody was rescued from a backyard breeder, he was just 6 weeks old, 2.5 pounds, covered with fleas, and being kept in a plastic bin with his sister. Casey, we aren’t sure of her exact age, has been with us for a year and a half now. She was extremely abused, and tied out to starve to death. I don’t know much more about her background. I hadn’t planned on adopting a second dog. But, one Saturday, as I was running errands, I saw the mobile adoption unit in the parking lot, of course, I had to go over there “just to look”. Casey was the first dog I saw. There she was looking so scared, so scruffy, and so incredibly sad. I took one look at her, and my heart just burst. I had to have her. I drove back home, told my husband about her, and we went back with Cody in tow, for a meet and greet. We got Casey out of the cage, on a leash, and introduced her to Cody. It was like they had been friends their whole lives. It was really amazing! Long story short, we adopted her then and there.
These are a few pics of her the day we adopted her. You can see how skinny and malnourished she still was, even after a month in the shelter. You can also see the fear in her eyes.
Her first taste of freedom off of a chain, and not in a cage.
Her new best friend…first one ever I imagine.
This is our Casey today. She is happy, healthy, and knows that she is loved. She still suffers from P.T.S.D, and is frightened of other people and dogs, so socializing her has been difficult, but she has a good life here.
Walking into a shelter or adoption van can be a very heartbreaking and overwhelming experience for anyone. We wish we could take all of them home, we hurt for each and every bark and whine we hear in there, and we wonder how we can possibly decide which one. Here’s my advice. Please make sure you are ready for a long-term commitment, and have the time needed to properly care for your new addition. Training takes a lot of time and persistence, and the cost of food and vet care must be considered before taking any animal into your home, and your life. Are you ready for a 10-15 year devotion to this life for which you are now responsible? Many animals end up in shelters for the sole reason that owners did not consider all of these issues before bringing a new pet into their lives. So please decide with your head and then your heart.
Having said all that, I am like that little boy on beach saving starfish. I know I can’t save every shelter dog, but I can make a difference to just one…or in my case two. Just ask Cody and Casey. Please remember “ADOPT DON’T SHOP”, and get all your pets spayed or neutered. If you aren’t in a place in your life where rescuing is an option, volunteer, or donate to your local shelter or humane society. Together we CAN make a difference.
©Kim Hood 2013