Sunday, February 15, 2009

Old Mister

Every now and takes an unexpected turn, plans change, and something happens to change our life, touch our hearts, and remind us of what is truly important.

.......enter Old Mister

On Thursday I was exhausted. Many of you know that my mom has been suffering from terrible pain for months, and Thursday morning I was to have her at the Hospital for the first in a series of steroid epidurals that we are hoping will help ease the pain. I was up at 3:30 AM drinking coffee, and getting ready to pick her up for the early morning appt. When we got home, i was feeling like I needed sleep, and took a teeny weeny nap, and was attempting to work on my last item for TDIPT Mercantile. I'm way behind in my selling and really needed to be sewing. son was leaving for afternoon classes, and he came back in and said there was a dog outside. Some of you know I live in the city, just outside of Detroit, and believe me, when there is a dog outside of my house, usually, no one is looking for him. it means just another stray that no one wants. Most of the time anyway. Some of you also know I have worked in rescue for quite a few years beginning w/ the finding of one such stray dog that crossed my path and who I named Lucky. I told about her in my very first blog post.

My journey in rescue has consisted of intense "hands on" devotion to "lulls of absence" in between, b/c of much depression associated w/ the sadness of not being able to save them all, and knowing the truth about cruelty and neglect. Sometimes I feel too overwhelmed by the sadness of all the animals in need, and I just want to curl up in the fetal position and grab a pair of rose colored glasses and pretend all the animals are OK, and live the life I knew before my eyes were opened to the real need.


Anyway......Stevie said "Mom, there's a dog outside", and I said (in a rather disgusted tone) "ugh, I don't want to see any dogs Stevie", and he replied in a soft voice "You used to, so I thought you might want to know", and then he shut the door and left. Those words haunted me, and I felt so ashamed of myself. "used to used to used to". UGH! I was so tired, and had been diverted away from my sewing by so many things the past week, but those words grabbed ahold of me like nothing had in some time. So.... out the front door I went to have a peek at the animal I knew would be in need. I was not prepared for what I would see. As I looked down the street, I saw the poor old dog hobbling. I called to him, but he couldn't hear me. He should have, but I'm sure his hearing was gone...he was old, I could tell by his gait and the way he hobbled.

I went back in and got my shoes and my phone and began to call anyone I thought may help me to get this dog somewhere, anywhere but here, on these streets, in the cold, w/ the chance that he may be picked up by our local ACO who I think is the devil himself. This was not part of my planned day.
I walked down the street, and the old dog had stopped to visit w/ a dog in a fenced yard. He was facing me and I called to him, and he came eagerly, hobbling all the while. I discovered he had a collar, and a rubber flea collar as well. I knew right then, that whoever had him, probably meant well, but didn't know the collar would only kill the fleas on his neck. The old guy had a bloody lump above his eye that had bled into his eye. He needed my help, and I was not gonna let him down. I called my sister and asked her if she would drive us to the shelter, and of course she said yes. She brought some food and water out, and he drank from the bowl, and then his teeth just chattered and chattered, as he was shivering. I got a blanket and put it around him, while she went and got her truck ready for us. I just kept petting him, and telling him he was gonna be OK...and then I named him...Old Mister, as it suited him perfectly! At this point he would have followed me anywhere and gazed at me w/ the most trusting eyes I've ever seen, like he had known me forever. He was stealing my heart right out from under me. He loved to be on the leash, but the hobbling told me that each step he took caused him pain.

I got in the back seat of the Explorer, and he crawled in w/ me. I knew he was sick, or just too old, or maybe both.

We drove the 40 minute drive to the shelter, and in we walked w/ Old Mister. The girls fell in love w/ him, and one even said she may want to adopt him, as she had a soft spot for the old ones. The first thing they did was take off the rubber flea collar, and they gave him something for itching. Then they looked in his mouth and discovered he had some broken teeth, and also noticed he had cateracts in both eyes. They thought he was probably an outside dog, one who had been tethered his whole life, but I'm not so sure...he's was too loving, and trusting, but maybe it is b/c he is sick, I don't know. We said good bye, and I asked if I could come visit him, and they said yes. I felt so thankful that I had not turned a deaf ear to him. Oh, I would never have forgiven myself.

I called the shelter on Saturday, and the gal told me that since he is so old, and he is sick, that after his holding days were up, they would probably be putting Old Mister to sleep. My heart sank again. What about the gal who said she may take him, I wondered? I asked if I could come and see him and say good bye, and the gal said yes. We got there and it was so busy, and all the workers were very busy, and I was glad to see that people are still out and adopting even in this tough economy. I asked to be taken to Old Mister. I had my camera and was going to get another pic. She led us down all of these halls to the very back of the place where they hold the "strays". It was like a garage, w/ large kennels, and cement walls in between each kennel, but nice blankets on the ground for them. There I saw him. Just laying there, w/ his spirit gone it seemed. I called to him, but he didn't flinch. the gal reminded me that this was a privilege to be taken back here and I was not to put my fingers in the cage nor touch him. Iagreed not to, and kept saying "Hi Old Mister, it's me", and finally I saw him stir and try to stand up. He managed to get to his feet, and come to the gate. By this time I was crying at the site of him and b/c I could not touch him as he was asking me to, and I looked to the girl and said "I can't put my fingers in?", and she looked back at me and nodded and said "yes you can". in the softest, most emphatic voice. I touched Old Mister, and he began to whine in his very faint tone, and cry to me. He continued to do so all the while I talked to him and touched his nose and muzzle. He wanted to come to me, and wanted to see me, but he could not, and I was not able to go to him to hold him. I gave him a little doggie cookie through the bars and he ate it, slowly, but he did. I couldn't bear to take his picture in there. I told him I loved him, and I told him this was OK, and he was OK. I told him he was just waiting to be taken to the Rainbow Bridge, and I could not go w/ him, or stand in his way of getting there. I told him that soon he will feel no more pain. Oh, but my heart is aching b/c I would love to give Old Mister the life he deserves, but I cannot, I have my own 3 and one w/ very special needs, and they consume my time already, and our house is full. This was not a perfect solution, but an OK one, I guess. I keep telling myself that anyway, and find great comfort in knowing that he is not out on the streets in the cold, and wandering, on the run from anyone who may hurt him.

We can't save them's what I hear all the time, over and over. Sometimes I want to just give up, and I am so thankful that fate saw to it that Old Mister and I would cross paths. I'm thankful that this has reminded me that "out of sight out of mind" is just a way of making ourselves feel better about things, and letting ourselves off the hook to save from having a guilty conscience. I needed to stop what I was doing. I needed to help Old Mister...he needed me, and I need to help. As bittersweet as this all is......I know when all is said and done, it's all good. I did what I could, and Old Mister will leave this world by way of loving hands and much dignity!

I love you Old Mister, and I will never ever forget you,

or what you have done for me.

*** Update***

Old Mister gets a reprieve!!!

We visited the shelter yesterday to say one last goodbye. When we got there, a nice volunteer had Old Mister out for one last walk outside before it was time for him to go. I couldn't believe it....he was to be euthanized in about an hour, and someone was kind enough to take the time to walk him outside.

What a great place this is, and what wonderful people there are in this world, out there volunteering their time to make a difference!

Anyway..we waited for Old mister to come back in, and we said our goodbyes, again. No tears this time, I had accepted his fate and had come to terms w/ it.

I got home and received a response to an email I had sent to Best Friends (in Utah) asking them to help Old Mister. Of course they could not, as they get 1000's of requests just like ours each year, but they did offer to try to help find placement for him in our area.

I called the shelter to tell them this good news, and they told me they would check to see if Old Mister had been euthanized, and they would call me back. He was scheduled to be put down at 2:30, and it was after 3 when I called them. I was swetin bullits.

When the gal called me back after 5, she said Old Mister was still w/ us, and they had decided they want him to be re-evaluated by one of the Vets, and if his illnesses are not too very bad, they are gonna try to place him right there from the shelter! She said she cannot promise anything, and it will depend on what the Vet says...but there is hope, and they are trying to do all that they can to give this old man a chance at a little bit of good life! Whew, it seems that Old Mister has a few very deserved Guardian Angels :)

Yahooooo...I'm walkin on SUNSHINE!

I will keep you posted as to what happens.



Janelle said...

Well I can't hardly see the screen from all the tears...
What a God send you are Patty - that was the most touching thing that you did, and God will surely reward you for it...
My heart breaks for all those like Old Mister, who are neglected and left alone in the cold....
Thank God for people like you...for YOU, Patty....


Anonymous said...

Oh Patty, I am with Janelle on this one, what a heart breaker....You are right, you can't take them all in although I know you take them all in your heart..

Old Mister is lucky to have crossed your path, lucky to not be cold and miserable, out there all alone, and you know what? Maybe, just maybe the family that loves him will find him there?
You are so awesome, knowing you has made me a better person, I love ya, Mo

Give Stevie a big hug for me, see he knows his mama.......

~GoldieLoo Woodworks~ said...

Patty Im thankful you had the strength and compassion to do for him what so many others can not or will not do.I have had to make this decision myself before, I don't think it will ever come easy for me nor you.
Thank you & big furry hugs ♥

Mad Red Hare said...

Wow, what a touching story. I am crying as I read this. I too am an animal lover and I am involved in greyhound rescue. I too suffer from the "can't save them all syndrome". I just sent one of my fosters to her forever home today and already miss her. But I too have my own three. I am taking a break from fostering for a while. I have had several "long term" fosters and get way too attached. Anyway, thanks for your courage to help Old Mister.

Mad Red Hare said...

Wow, what a touching story. I am crying as I read this. I too am an animal lover and I am involved in greyhound rescue. I too suffer from the "can't save them all syndrome". I just sent one of my fosters to her forever home today and already miss her. But I too have my own three. I am taking a break from fostering for a while. I have had several "long term" fosters and get way too attached. Anyway, thanks for your courage to help Old Mister.

Briar Rabbit Primitives said...

Run Free, Old Mister...Your Friend Patty will see you again someday at the Rainbow Bridge. RIP Sweet Old Feller... Bless you Patty & Stevie for helping this wandering old soul, who knew exactly which house to come to for help. You are both Saints in my book. Hugs, Starla

Cookie said...

what a loving and thoughtful tribute to this old boy who touched your life and moved your heart in an instant!

Your heart is about as big as Texas and I know this was so difficult to put in words but you have shared a bit of the love with all of us and Old Mister is now in my heart too ♥

thank you buddy, for all you do.

Naija said...

im animallover...sadly we cant save them all..

lovetheprimlook said...

Oh Patty, I cant stop my tears. You are an angel. God Bless You !!! I know we cant save them all and it hurts so bad. Poor Old Mister wont be cold and hungry any more. Big Hugs and thank you for all that you do .


bayrayschild said...

Oh Patty, I am so saddened by your post but so glad that there are people like you who go out of their way to help the "Old Mister's", in need of loving homes.

You are a blessing Patty.


Carol Roll said...

Patty you sweet angel. Old Mister has touched my heart and I am glad he will live his last days in a warm and caring place. I just cant believe the way some people can treat their pets. Thank you so much for caring for these precious animals Patty. You must be so proud of Stevie. I know I am!

~Tonya said...

Awww, the length of the post and the compassion in the post, Patty...I know Old Mister touched your heart.

As I read on, the tears began to roll. It was so thoughtful of you to take the time for Old Mister. I am sure he loves you for it.

We all tend to get wrapped up in our lives...just trying to keep up. It is little reminders like this, that let us know we are still a test. And you passed with flying colors.

Have a great day Patty and Thank you for sharing your story of Old Mister. Had it not been for Stevie and you taking the time (along with your sister) Old Mister may still be cold, shivering and hungry.

Take Care.

Dogpatch Primitives said...

thank you to all of you who have stopped by and shared w/ me in the happiness of knowing Old Mister. Life is funny, and I wish all could know the joy a simple creature can bring to the heart, and how they make us realize how important some things are.

Thank you good friends!

Anonymous said...

Yay!!! Maybe there is hope for our old pal...This news has made my day..Whatever happens to this sweet old fella, I am sure it will be what is best for him... Hugs, MO

Old Glory Soldiers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old Glory Soldiers said...

My heart is overflowing with your story! I want to take Old Mister and run ... but I too have a full plate and know how you feel. Several months ago we found two dogs (one pregnant)... and sometimes it is hard to accept those things we cannot change.

My dogs have been rescued dogs. Dogs are so much of our lives and in our hearts ... they are there for you and don't have to say a word. They know when you are sad and can just lay their hard on your lap or lick your hand. You are doing a great thing by helping and by sharing!

Prim Blessin's, Tina
Old Glory Soldiers

Cheryl said...

Love your dedication and determination. I love this story, it sounds like something I could have wrote. Bless you for helping him, without you, who knows what would have happened to him. I will pray for Old Mister to find his forever home.
Keep on helping those animals that need the help, as heartbreaking as it is, its worth it

Doreen said...

Oh my gosh..I'm with everyone..this is so sad and upsetting. He's such a sweetheart I so wish I could take him. I'm praying that a wonderful person comes along and is able to adopt him. I'm so glad your sweet son let you know he was out there.

You are a wonderful person for helping Old Mister.

Take care,

Debra said...

Oh gosh Patty- once again you have touched my heart! You are such a good person! I hope Old Mister found a home!
You are right- you can not save them all- something I have to learn too!- but you sure do your share!

Carmen said...

Hi. This is my first time visiting . I work at a veterinary clinic and know all too well about not being able to save them all. God bless you friend for reaching out to an old dog in need, SO many folks would just turn away and never give it another thought! Chances are if he can't hear well, he would have been run over. You were his angel that day, bless you!

Michelle said...


Thank You so very much for sharing this beautiful story about love and compassion. This is exactly what our world is lacking. Following our Hearts and doing what pleases our Lord. He called upon you that day and you answered and like Janelle said, you will be rewarded.

Thanks for giving Old Mister the dignity he deserved. I will pray that he gets a second chance at life and a family.

Thanks for making a difference in the world and for touching my heart.