~ Rescue Workers ~
I would've died that day if not for you. I would've given up on life if not for your kind eyes.
I would've used my teeth in fear if not for your gentle hands. I would have left this life believing that all humans don't care.
Believing there is no such thing as fur that isn't matted, skin that isn't flea bitten, good food and enough of it, beds to sleep on, someone to love me, to show me I deserve love just because I exist.
Your kind eyes, your loving smile, your gentle hands, your big heart saved me ... you saved me from the terror of the pound, Soothing away the memories of my old life. You have taught me what it means to be loved. I have seen you do the same for other dogs like me.
I have heard you ask yourself in times of despair Why you do it When there is no more money, no more room, no more homes You open your heart a little bigger, stretch the money a little tighter Make just a little more room ... to save one more like me.
I tell you with the gratitude and love that shines in my eyes In the best way I know how Reminding you why you go on trying. I am the reason.
The dogs before me are the reason As are the ones who come after. Our lives would've been wasted, our love never given We would have died if not for you.
Melissa sat on the floor, unable to sit straight and tall like her mother had always admonished her to do when she was a child. Today, it would be impossible. And tomorrow ... it probably wouldn't be possible then either. Her mind was too busy thinking about the dog that laid across her lap.
When he came to be with her, he had no name. She remembered that day very well. The first sight of him was enough to break her heart into little pieces.
The woman who had taken this dog from the rough streets where he had lived, had tried to save him because she was unable to watch this young dog find his own food in a dumpster outside the crackhouse where he lived. Nobody cared that he was gone.
His fur was very thick; so thick that she had to wiggle her fingers down to feel his bony body. And as she pulled her fingers away again, they were coated in old dirt. Black and white, he was supposed to be. But on that day he was beige and dust.
He sat in the back of her car panting continuously, ears laid outward for he had lost his courage and couldn't keep them proud and tall. He sat motionless, waiting and limp.
But the thing that was the most disturbing was the look in his eyes. They were quiet eyes, sunken into his head - and they watched her. They were alive with thought. He was waiting for her to do something "to"him.
Little did he know at the time that, instead, she would "give" something to him. She gave him one of the little broken pieces of her heart.
She reached out to stroke his head and he instinctively squinched his eyes shut and dropped his head, waiting for the heavy hand. With that little bit of movement she gave him another one of the broken pieces of her heart.
She took him home and gave him a bath. She towelled him dry and brushed some order back into his coat. For that, he was grateful and even though his own heart was loaded with worms, he accepted yet another piece of her heart, for it would help to heal his own.
"Would you like some water, big boy?"; she whispered to him as she set down a large bowl of cold well water. He drank it up happily. He had been dehydrated for a long time and she knew it would take him most of the week to rehydrate.
He wanted more water -- but it was gone. Ah ... that's how it is, he thought to himself. But he was grateful for what he had been able to get. "Would you like some more"; and she gave him another bowl along with another little piece of her heart.
"I know that you are hungry. You don't have to find your own food anymore. Here's a big bowl of good food for you. I've added some warm water and a little piece of my heart."
Over the four months that he stayed with her, his health improved. The heart full of worms was replaced piece by piece with little bits of her loving heart. And each little piece worked a very special kind of magic.
When the warmth of love and gentle caresses are added, the little broken pieces knit together again and heal the container it resides in. That container becomes whole again.
She watched each little broken piece fill a gap in the gentle dog until his quiet eyes radiated the light from the little pieces. You see, kind words gently spoken, turn the little pieces into illumination for the spirit that resides within.
He rested beside her, happy to be with her always. Never had he known such kindness, such gentle caresses; such love. His health had returned, his spirit was playful as a young dog's should be and he had learned about love.
Now his heart was full. The healing was complete. It was time to go. There was another person who had another heart that was meant to be shared with him.
So she sat shapeless on the floor because all the broken pieces of her heart were with the dog. It is difficult to sit tall when your heart is not with you. She wrapped her arms around the dog who sat with tall, proud ears for her. Lean on me, he said.
And she gave him one last thing that would keep him strong; that would keep the pieces of her heart together long after he had gone on to live his new life. She gave him her tears and bound them to the pieces with a simple statement made from the ribbons of her heart.
"I love you", Joe. And Joe lived happily ever after.
Melissa sat on the floor, straight and tall like her mother had always admonished her to do when she was a child. Today, it would be possible. And tomorrow ... it probably would be possible too. Because her mind was busy thinking about this, the next dog that laid across her lap.
Where did she get the heart to help yet another dog, you ask? Ahhh ... it came with the dog. They always bring a little bit of heart with them. And when the rescuer breathes in that little bit of heart, it quickly grows and fills the void left by the last dog.
Once I was a lonely dog.
I wandered up and down the streets,
My skin would itch; my feet were sore,
I never saw a loving glance,
Then one day I heard a voice
"No one again will hurt you"
"You will be dry, you will be warm,
I was afraid I must admit,
And as she tended to my wounds
She said, we are a circle,
"And all around you are
"And all the other folk
She said, "there is a family,
"And then they'll join our circle
I waited very patiently,
Then just when I began to think
I knew them in a heartbeat,
Now every night I say a prayer
But most of all protect the dogs
Tail tucked between your legs, Confusion in your eyes
I know it's hard to understand that someone heard your cries.
When loneliness is all you know and pain is all you feel
And no one can be trusted, and hunger's all too real...
That's the time the Lord sees you and lets you know He's there
That's when He sends His messengers, the hearts that love and care.
Yes, rescuers and angels, you cannot see their wings,
They keep them neatly folded as they do their caring things.
The medicine to make you well, good food to make you strong,
And finally to help you learn that hugs are never wrong.
The perfect place then must be found, the home where you can live
Secure and safe and happy with joy to get and give.
When you reach your Forever Home, your place to feel whole,
The Angels smile, and off they go to save another soul.
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.
It wasn't long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.
He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge. With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren't playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn't understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for awhile to explain it to him.
"You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge."
The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.
"Watch, and see.", said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.
"That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn't place on earth across The Rainbow Bridge."
"I think I like rescuer's", said the first animal.
"So does GOD", was the reply.
Taking care of Rescue dogs
The dogs I've bathed, the food I've fed,
My own dogs I've neglected,
I know they understand this,
Some people think I'm crazy,
If I can love and help a dog
So now you know my secret,
A Rescuer is one who cares
For those who rescue
Hours on computers, phone calls and e-mails
"We can't save them all"
Spay & neuter the pets in their homes
Had I not made the decision to participate in rescue, I would never have had the chance to meet him. If I had sat here comfortably in my home and said "I already have four dogs and I know that I couldn't take in another -- even on a temporary basis," I would never have met this dog.
Yes, it takes time to rescue and foster, but who gave me time in the first place? And why or what was the reason I was given Time? To fill my own needs? Or was there another reason ever so small and seemingly insignificant, like rescuing this one dog, that could make a difference in another's life? Perhaps to add joy, hope, help and companionship to another who is in need?
With great sadness, I sat down on a footstool in my kitchen this morning and watched as this foster dog bounced back into the house and skidded across the floor to sit ever so perfectly in front of me. He was the picture of health, finally. He was all smiles for me, and I smiled back at his happy face. Deep in his eyes, the storm clouds of illness and generalized poor health had blown away, and the clear light of his perfection radiated out from his beautiful soul. He holds no ill will toward man. He forgives us all.
I thought to myself as I impressed this one last long look of him into my heart, what a very fine creature You have created. Tears slowly pooled and spilled over my cheekbones as the deeper realization of how wonderful this dog is sank into my internal file cabinet of Needful Things to Remember. Lord, he's a dog -- but he's a better human being than I am.
He has forgiven quickly. Would I do the same?
He passionately enjoys the simple things in life. And I have often overlooked them. He accepts change and gets on with his life. I fuss and worry about change.
He lives today and loves today. And I often dwell in the past or worry about the future. He loves no matter what. I am not that free.
This very lovely dog has gone to his new home today and already I miss him. Thank You for bringing this dog into my life. And thank You for the beautiful and tender lesson on how to be a better human.
Today we rescued your dog. We don't know where you got him -- maybe you saw him in a pet store window or maybe one of your neighbors bred a few litters a year just to make some vacation money or because they loved their dogs so much that of course they wanted to have puppies. We don't know much about how you cared for him either, although our vet thought that for such a young dog, his teeth were in pretty bad shape.
The way we heard the story, you moved out of state and didn't want to take him with you. You left him at your grandparents. Maybe you thought a lively, handsome dog was just the thing for them, and under better circumstances it might have been. Maybe they have been cleaning up your messes for your entire life and an unwanted dog was just another mess to clean up.Did you know they were going to keep him outside? At least it was a pretty mild winter. There were no heavy snows, not much heavy winter rain and only a few days of bitter cold. But for all of those weeks he had no companionship, no care, and no love.
For some reason, your grandparents took him to the shelter. Maybe a neighbor complained about him or maybe their own health gave out or maybe they just got tired of him. You know the local shelter is a kill shelter, don't you? You know that their own statistics indicate that about half of the dogs that enter are killed, don't you?
Maybe your grandparents thought he would be adopted quickly. He is a purebred, after all. No one was interested in him, though, maybe since he's an adult dog and not a cute little puppy. No one contacted the purebred rescue group either. They probably would have placed him quickly, since he really is a great boy.
The shelter is a clean place and they take good care of the dogs. They get good food and they're bathed and brushed. It's still a shelter, though, and is noisy and chaotic and frightening. He spent two months there in that confusion, away from everyone and everything he had known.
One day, we saw him on the shelter web site. We called and asked about him. The shelter workers were so happy to hear from us and were delighted to agree to bring him to a local pet store where they do adoptions. Do you want to know why they were so accommodating? He was scheduled to be killed that afternoon. He didn't know that, but the shelter workers certainly did. It hurt them and he felt that, so he knew something was wrong.
All of a sudden, though, the shelter workers were happy and excited and so was he. They bathed him and brushed his coat. We think they probably told him this was it -- his big chance, or maybe he just knew it somehow. When we met him, we all fell in love.
He had to go to the vet to be neutered of course, but then he came home. He has his very own 13-year-old boy. You know it's almost like watching one of those old Lassie movies, seeing how well they've bonded. He's got good food and his own toys. He's taken on walks three times a day, is regularly groomed and is taken to the vet for needed care. We'll be with him always, even if we have to make that last, difficult decision, because, you see, he is our dog and we are his family.
He has a good heart you know, but then he is a dog, so that's to be expected. He's probably forgiven you and, with a dog's grace, doesn't even remember you dumped him. He'd probably even be willing to greet you at the Rainbow Bridge. But you know what? He'll greet us and go with us at the Bridge, and then he'll be with us forever, because he's our dog and we're his family.
If you worry that you have not made a difference, you have, for only those who do not worry about it have not. If you feel overwhelmed, if the weight of problems is too heavy to bear, remember it is a shared burden and the strength of numbers can accomplish much. If you think society and government are blind, it only serves to remind that we need to change one mind at a time, one law after another.
We effect change by cooperation, not by isolation. If you consider that we cannot save them all, and what difference does one make?
You ought to know the joy of the one who is saved.
Mourn those we cannot save, it is a eulogy to their being.
Do not let their loss be in vain. Be kind to yourself, remember your needsand those of your family and friends of every species.
If you give everything, what will you have left for yourself, or for them?
Strive to be happy and healthy. You are needed.
Achieving balance in life is a lifelong struggle.
We who help those who do not have all that they need should be among the most grateful for what we have. Be proud of your accomplishments, not your opinions.
The quality of your efforts is more important than the quantity.
Forgive your own deficiencies -- sometimes your caring is sufficient.
Everyone can do something, it is up to you to do the thing you can.
A kind word and a gentle touch can change a life. If a seething anger wells up within you, because people are the problem, remember your humanity and that people are also the solution. Concentrate on specific needs, pay attention to the individual -- they make up the whole.
See beyond the unlovable, the unattractive, the impure and the wounded -- see that their spirit is as deserving as the rest. Help them heal.
Their eyes are windows to their soul and the mirror of your sincerity.
All species, all beings, share this Earth in a chain of life.
Care more about what makes us alike than what separates us. Policies, rules and regulations are not infallible.
Apply them judiciously, interpret them wisely.
No decision based purely on money is ever the right one.
Listen to your heart. Sometimes we have to do that which we are most afraid of. Be true to yourself and your beliefs.
Family may abandon you, friends may disappoint you, strangers will ridicule you.
People shun what they do not understand.
Help them to understand -- kindly, softly, gently.
Those who do not respect all life are to be pitied.
Often the wrongdoer is as in need of help as his victims.
Forgive, then teach by example.
Educate yourself or you cannot hope to teach others. No action based in hatred is ever right and anger drowns out wisdom.
Yours may be a voice crying in the wilderness, make it a voice to be respected.
Listen more than you talk, be courteous and reliable.
Learn to ask for help. Never waiver from the truth.
Know that it takes a lot of strength to cry and with every defeat, we learn. All Creation celebrates that which is in its own best interest.
The Children are our hope -- nurture them.
Nature is our legacy -- protect it.
The Animals are our brethren -- learn from them.
Your rewards will not be material, but they will be meaningful, and the courage of your convictions can survive anything. We are small boats cast adrift on a cruel sea, but someday the tide will turn toward a safe harbor. No matter how dark the storm clouds, or deep the pain of heartbreak -- never forget:
We are their heroes.
~ Dedicated to all who have worked for change. May your efforts be blessed.
You have made a difference.