Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why I save animals!

A pooch named Pickles

Sometimes it is hard to remember all the success stories, we as animal rescue professionals have. It’s no wonder, with all of the field service work we do, countless investigations, adoptions, surrenders, adopters, relinquishers, angry complainants, helpful volunteers, litters of bottle fed kittens, and puddles of puppy pee; that can’t we keep track of all the smiling children walking out of the shelter with their new forever best friend.

But today, years later and miles from the original success story, I was reminded of one very happy tale.

Now, thinking back, I kind of recall the story of Pickles. But not how he began as an abandoned puppy in the shelter, but instead, that he got adopted to a family who didn’t live far from my home. You know the scenario, the typical mom, dad and grade school age daughter looking for a puppy to join their family.

Somehow when they wandered into the shelter I recognized them from the neighborhood where I lived, so I gave them a personal tour, introduced them to a four legged furry fella who lacked a name, and only had an impound number assigned to his cage door. The details get fuzzy from there but when it was all said and done, these fellow neighbors had themselves a new little puppy.

I stayed in touch long enough to chuckle at the name the daughter finally assigned to him, Pickles. Yes, an uncommon name of a chow mix, but who am I to judge what a family names their companion animal?

For a while I would see Pickles being walked in the neighborhood, and even tried to make it a point to drive a little extra out of my way just so I could get a glimpse of Pickles in his new domain of yard and trees, playing with his other new friend, the existing family pooch.

After time went by, and life got even busier, my drive-by’s became less frequent and the need to see Pickles grew less and less, as the other more current issues took over. Pickles just became a successful statistic that I no longer needed to retain a memory of. Honestly, those are the types of memories I like, the ones that don’t disturb me, but remind me that I made a difference and can move on.

But, it was in an instant, while puttering in my yard, on one of spring’s warm weather greetings that Pickles appeared. He was an overgrown bush of a furry old friend, lumbering down my street, with his now quite grown up human teenage sister pretending to hold tight to his leash. Years had aged him, but that face, I had not forgot.

Instant memories of a giggling girl and her beaming parents departing from the shelter with an uncontrollable bouncing puppy brought a smile to my face.

Pickles greeted me, not because he remembered who I was, but because he found a friend on his walk to convince that he needed a scratch behind the ears. And yes, he got plenty of belly rubs and cookies too.

It seems the years really had flown by, Pickles, now a senior dog at about ten wasn’t just a pet. He became a confidant, a secret keeper and so much more. He unknowingly helped his human sister through grade school awkwardness, the death of a parent, prom, a driver’s license, high school graduation and the first year of college.

Now, his teen sister, home on spring break and out for a Sunday stroll with Pickles, granted me a gift I did not know I even asked for; a forgotten memory.

After our brief encounter and the two departed to finish their walk, I stopped my peach tree pruning, turned on my lap top and wrote this blog. I wanted to record exactly how I felt, before it faded into another distant memory.

I felt simple joy. Joy at saving a dog’s life, making a family’s life more complete and updating another successful animal rescue memory in my life.

There is nothing more to this story, other than reminding myself that the work I do, is truly good.


(To all who work on behalf of animals, please remember that you too, do good work).

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