.......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.
Anyway...my 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.
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.