Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Two Fairytale EndingsRecently, we were looking at having to make some very difficult decisions. Two dogs in our shelter were determined to be unadoptable due to medical issues. One is hard enough. Two on the same day is practically unbearable. Needless to say it was a tough pill to swallow.
Titan, an older pit bull, and Holly, a senior standard poodle, are staff favorites. The senior dog veterinary exams we do for all older dogs entering the shelter brought us bad news for these two lovely dogs. Each was determined to have medical issues that prevented them from moving forward to adoptions. LG, the shelter manager in Tri Valley, let the staff group know the bad news. Both dogs would need to be euthanized.
Unfortunately or fortunately, (depending on how you look at it), the closer you get to an animal, the harder it is when the toughest of decisions has to be made. I got the call on my day off, and it hit me like a freight train. "Titan is going to be euthanized today, I am sorry."
Titan in particular holds a special place in my heart because during his nearly 6 month stay at the shelter we spent a lot of time together and I grew to love his easygoing personality. Most importantly, he is a pit bull, and I have a serious soft spot for the bully breeds. Once he bonds with you, he never leaves your side. I would take him out to the yard to play, and he would sniff around my immediate area, never straying further than 5 feet or so, always keeping me within eye, nose, or earshot. I would train him in the lobby of our adoption center, and kids would run up to him, asking me if they could give him a treat. Gladly obliging, he sat like a gentleman and gently took treats from their hands all the while wagging his happy pit tail.
After hearing the news, I quickly got in my car and headed to the shelter. On my way there I stopped and bought a bacon cheeseburger. It is nice to be able to give our animals an extra special treat before you say goodbye, besides, it is the least I could do. On my way there, I got another call. I had to stop the car. I had to concentrate because I found it hard to believe what I was hearing. I couldn't believe this mind-boggling turn of events. It turned out one of our dedicated canine volunteers, who had fostered Titan for 2 weeks, wanted to adopt him. Since this was by no means a typical situation, our shelter manager had to speak with the volunteer first to make sure she was fully informed of Titan's medical issues and that she had thought it through thoroughly. It turns out that she had thought it through, and she adopted him the very next day. By the way, he did still get his cheeseburger. Incredible sadness followed by triumphant joy. This day might just turn out all right, or so I thought.
Holly, an 8 year old standard poodle had come to us full of mats and burrs. After a good shave and a bath, she was looking and feeling much better. As one of our old timers, Holly got the full work up, also known as a Silver Muzzle Club exam, which involves a blood test. Her lab results didn't show anything terribly concerning, but our vet decided it would probably be best to send Holly to a foster home and recheck her blood work again in a month. So off she went, lucky girl, she got to spend the holidays with a loving foster family. Then came the bad news. Holly's second blood test showed signs of chronic liver failure. She, too, would have to be humanely euthanized.
Once again, before the difficulty of this news could totally set in, I heard the news. Holly's foster home didn't even think twice before deciding to officially welcome Holly into their family. It is unknown how much longer a life she will have, but she will get to live out her days in the love and caring attention of her foster turned forever family. Of course Holly is oblivious to all of this, all she knows is that she has two new loving parents, and she'll be able to live the rest of her life in spoiled bliss.
It is days like these that make me want to tear my hair out.
It is days like these that shave years off of my life.
It is also days like these that, corny as it sounds, make it all worth it.
Submitted by Chris H. in the Volunteer Department