Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet 16

She may not get excited about long walks or car rides the way she once did, but she still dances for her food.

Rafa brought Thunder home when she was about three months old. It was Valentines Day 1995. He had been talking about this Chihuahua puppy that he'd met at a friend's house and I wasn't sure about a small dog - we had four cats and a larger dog at the time - I just thought another larger dog would go better with the family.

Finally Rafa won out and he brought the puppy home. He was over the moon for this little black and white baby with specked feet and nose, and a white tipped tail. We didn't know if she was a boy or girl then and somehow checking seemed to clarify things. We named "him" Thunder.

A day or two later we headed off to the vet for puppy shots and Diane at Dr. Raemaker's office looked at us kind of funny and said, "This is a girl and this is a border collie!" I'm sure she was also thinking, "rookies!"

That was 16 years ago and what a life we've all had together. Thunder's an official daddy's girl. Being a daddy's girl myself, I can testify to what a special feeling it is to have that classification. Love, heaped on in big doses, makes for a long happy life.

Thank you to Liz Lange for taking this precious picture of our girl Thunder after this past weekend's outing to the Wash n Wag.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Dawn

After spending a couple of days at the local animal shelter helping with an influx of bunny rabbits rescued from God awful conditions with a crazy breeder, I’m exhausted.

The work is extremely rewarding, and it won’t be done for weeks, and it’s hard – physically and emotionally. I came home Wednesday evening and cried for hours.

The rabbits are in an overflow area at the shelter’s back end, in sort of an over-sized garage. It’s clean and it's suitable temporarily – in fact it’s a Hilton compared to where they came from – but there are so many rabbits.

The first day we saw to their basic needs, separated the males from the females and assessed them for injuries. It’s bending and reaching and squatting and lifting – it’s work! That was on Monday.

Wednesday I returned to clean their pen areas and help shuffle the buns to and from the vet exams. There was a time when I was alone, and I noticed a young woman coming and going from the garage.

About the fourth time she came in I saw she that she held a black bag and she carried it into a walk-in refrigerator and laid it on top of the others there. I suddenly felt a knot in my stomach.

The knot lasted the day and into the night, accompanied by shifting feelings of pain and anger, grief and rage – followed by blame. It was business as usual in a typical animal shelter, and animals die in shelters.

If you are reading this and you are a breeder or you buy animals from a breeder or support breeders in any way – please STOP. You are part of the problem. When you buy rather than adopt, you are perpetuating the cycle of pet homelessness. Maybe you didn’t know – it’s true.

My heart is still broken from the disposability of those cats and dogs, a minuscule sample of the larger population – turned into waste because of human selfishness, closed-mindedness, ignorance and irresponsibility. We don’t have to continue the cycle.

It’s hard to believe that we live in a world that needs so much love and yet we destroy the vessels of love so easily. I ask, no I beg for what it’s worth, please – spay and neuter your pets, and speak up! Educate others, be part of the solution – don’t be afraid - this is an opportunity!

For those of you who know me, this post isn’t as bubbly as the norm, but it is a message of hope. A new dawn emerges! As sure as there is a sun and a moon, we are are moving in the direction of compassion, it’s just that the pace is an intangible.

All you have to do is think back to the changes that have occurred over the past 50 to 100 years – it’s a perspective thing. The middle of change isn't easy, and some days trusting in the slow work of God seems inconceivable.