I have a newfound respect for rescue workers. Not that I didn’t have respect for rescue volunteers before, mind you. I think I just forgot how much dang work rescuing can be. I was part of a group in vet school that rescued dogs from shelters, put them in foster homes for 12 weeks, trained the dogs once a week, and at the end of the 12 weeks adopted them out. I was just one of the adoption coordinators and it was a ton of work, happily done but work nonetheless.
We had a dog at our clinic who was, for lack of better words, a hot mess. He is a sweet, purebred setter who looks like he got run over by a train. Bad skin, bad hips, bad teeth, you name it. His owner always brought him in to be looked at and then declined everything he needed. We would do all we could to help her, but at the end of the day the dog just didn’t get what he needed and deserved.
I had mentioned rescues a few times when the owner mentioned not wanting him anymore, since he is after all a purebred. Not that mutts deserve less- it’s just easier to place a dog in rescue when they are a purebred. She never called them, of course. So when he came in for a torn toenail last week and she yelled she was going to just euthanize him since the antibiotics were too expensive, our office manager convinced him to relinquish him to us.
And by us, she meant, “Dr V will figure it out.” Fortunately, we have a tech who was able to foster him for a bit, and somehow I had the daunting task of trying to find a home for a dog I really knew nothing about except the fact that he was a total mess.
The rescue I got in contact with was based in another time zone. Bless her heart, this woman agreed to help me find a foster home. The only problem is, the closest foster home was in Phoenix, and I was tasked with finding a way to get him there.
So off I went to twitter for help, and was given a recommendation from Phetched to try and arrange a transport on the Dogster forum. There is a huge database there of people all over the country who are willing to donate their day to drive a dog from point a to point b. If you get enough people together all in a line, you can get a dog cross country. (I know my friend Karri has volunteered with the Drive for Life group on LiveJournal, which is similar.) Talk about angels on earth!
Now, in between getting the kids to bed and making dinner and cleaning up dog pee since Brody still needs hourly potty breaks or else, I needed to try and coordinate 5 or so people to relay race a dog to Arizona.
Or, as another friend suggested, try craigslist. I’m lazy, and this appealed to me. I went on the rideshare section, and somewhere between “Need a lift to LA” and “Can drive someone to Oregon this weekend” there appeared a new ad saying “Can anyone take a rescue dog to Phoenix?” An hour later, an ASU student heading back to school on Saturday offered to take our elderly hero with him.
So then I had to e-mail the rescue person in Virginia to contact the foster in Phoenix, and arrange for my tech to bring the dog to me to bring to the student who is driving him to Arizona. Got that? My head is swimming from too many things to keep track of.
I didn’t exactly volunteer for this, but I had a feeling when I first met him a year ago that I would be a part of trying to give him a better life. I’m just grateful that I have the opportunity to do this for this dog. He spent his life a yard on a choke collar by himself; five different strangers who didn’t know him, or each other, are coming together to erase that life and give him a new one. How fortunate am I to get to be a part of something good, to see the kindness out there and experience this kind of generosity given with nothing expected in return.
Now I need to just hope, pray and keep everything crossed that everything works according to plan. If you could all send good travel vibes in a southwesterly direction on Saturday, we would much appreciate it. 🙂
P.S. This is who awaits our pup on the other end: