Rescue work. It is my passion and my joy. Today, I am remembering a special foster.
Many of our dogs come up from the South, and we foster parents, along with shelters, and rescue agencies wait in commuter parking lots for the transport vehicles to bring our dogs to us in the hopes that they will find happy homes.
It is an awesome sight to see so many people full of anticipation to meet these animals who have had nothing. It is even more awesome to drive a truck full of these animals from high-kill shelters and pulling in to a place where the volunteers pour out to take charge and do their jobs. Truly awesome.
I am full of admiration for the people who work in the poor shelters, especially in the South and Midwest where we get a lot of our dogs. They do so much with so little, and it has been my privilege to work with many of them. They have their hearts broken every day, but don’t give up.
Anyway, this is the story of a VERY special little girl. It was years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
This is Ruby’s story, so I will let her tell it.
Today was the scariest day of my whole life. I’d been living in a shelter for a long time, but no one wanted me. I tried to look appealing and be good whenever anyone came by, but it was always the same old story. Another dog would be picked. Year after year, people would come in, and no matter how hard I tried to get them to give me a chance, I was always passed over. There are so many adoptable dogs out there.
One day, a lady came and took me out of my cage – ME! I couldn’t believe it. Was I getting a home? Was my time over? I didn’t know.
She talked sweet to me and put me on a big truck with lots of other dogs. We were scared and quiet, and rode for a long, long time. Where were we going? No one knew.
After riding a long, long way, the man stopped the truck and took me out of my cage. He carried me out and set me on grass. I froze. What is this grass? All I ever knew was a dirt surface.
The man put a leash on me and handed me over to people I never saw. It was awful. I put my head down and tried to be invisible. They put me on a soft blanket on their back seat. I hid in the corner and once again, tried to be invisible. They offered me a liver treat, but I was too afraid to take it.
The lady got in the back seat with me and loved me very gently, but I still just drooled because I was so afraid. and didn’t want to get out when we got to their house. She lifted me out and walked slowly around the front yard. I dug a hole to hide in.
Then, the biggest dog I ever saw came out of the house! He came and smelled me all over and then licked my head, so I guess that meant I was ok with him. Then, we all went for a little walk together. I didn’t understand the leash, but I just followed the big dog as he seemed to know the ropes. Coming home involved something called stairs. I didn’t know about stairs. I didn’t like or trust the stairs, but the man started teaching me. He didn’t start me at the top where it looks too far, but at the bottom, one stair, then two. The man was nice and had chicken.
Finally, we went in the house and I found a place to hide behind the couch. The lady put a nice new bed back there for me. I got the idea that it was mine – MINE! Can you believe it?
Then, it was time for dinner. I was a little underweight so the new lady made me a concoction of hamburger, wheat germ, eggs, Total cereal, molasses, and a bunch of healthy stuff. Small amounts at first so I wouldn’t get sick, but I could have eaten the whole bowl.
When it was time for bed, the people and the big dog went up stairs. I lay on my new bed, but didn’t want to be lonely, so I figured out how to get up those stairs – by myself! It paid off, too. There was another soft, plushy bed up there for me. I’m not one for the big bed, especially since the 130-pound big dog was already hogging all the room up there.
It all came together, though. I got used to the good life pretty fast. I had one audition, and let’s just say that new lady couldn’t get me out of there fast enough. She said bad words on the way home, and said she wouldn’t leave any dog there. I was glad to leave.