Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Good People Do Nothing

From the bean of Green bean.

Zeke, The Shelter Dog Who Changed My Life

Last March, we decided to adopt a shelter dog.  After weeks of searching PetFinder and Craigslist, my youngest found him.  "That's the one."  No matter that this dog was in a rural shelter two hours from home.  He was destined to be ours and we made the trip.

Walking across the damp floors of the shelter, we searched the cages for our dog.  Most dogs pawed frantically at the gates of their kennel.  Every dog barked and the barks echoed through the concrete tunnel of the shelter.  We finally found our dog - of course, in the last kennel.

Out in the yard, we fell in love and took him home.  Only, after several weeks, we realized that this dog was not actually "our" dog.  He wanted to eat our cat too much to be part of our family.  We worked with behaviorists but no luck.  Ultimately, we found him a wonderful new cat-free home.

With all the time that had passed, it was too late to get a dog.  We'd be leaving on a trip in a month. But I couldn't forget those barking dogs, that wet floor, the echoes in the concrete.  In late April, I began advertising on Craigslist for the shelter - anonymously, because I was embarrassed.  After a month, the shelter director tracked me down through an ad to let me know that my ads had dramatically increased adoptions and to beg me not to stop.  My heart swelled with pride, happiness and something more.

I kept up my ads and one day, one of the adopted dogs popped back up on the shelter website with a note - "please help her, she has had puppies."  Fortuitously, a Facebook friend fostered puppies for a local rescue.  We put our heads together and Freckles and her puppies were out of the shelter and in a foster home in no time.  Two weeks later, I met Freckles and her puppies while they were staying for a week at my friend's home.  As I sank my hands into her soft fur, I swallowed a lump in my throat.  I felt alive.  I felt satisfaction.  I felt centered.

Freckles pups being well socialized.  As I understand it, they've all already been adopted.

Me meeting Freckles at my friend's home.  I've only met a couple of the dogs I've worked for.

Last week, my shoulders sagged when I went to renew my ad for Indigo, a 12 year old Chow mix, who lived her whole life with the same family but lost that family when they lost their home due to foreclosure.  I'd written the most creative ads for Indigo that I could think of.  I was at a loss.  I let my fingers and social media do the walking.  I looked up Chow Chows on Facebook and posted about Indigo, two other Chows and a Chow mix mama who had just had babies - all in my shelter.  Within a week, Indigo was out and in a loving foster home.  The mother and babies were rescued and the other two Chows - Oprah and Stedman - are awaiting transport to their foster home. 


I continue to place my ads.  Since then, a rural rescue that works with "my shelter" has asked for ideas promoting their dogs.  Since then, I gave all the food and medicine from the dog we could not keep to a local family who lost their home and is struggling to keep their pets.  Since then, I've helped a rescue organization try to reform a high kill shelters by promoting their cause online, advertising their foster dogs and contacting the press.   Since then, many more animals have found homes because of me.  Since then, I've felt warm inside.  I've felt my heart squeeze.  I've felt hope and much more.  Since then, I have made a difference.

I could easily stop placing my ads.  Stop networking with friends and rescues.  Worry only about my own family.  But you know what happens when good people do nothing?  They stop feeling so good.

Cubby spent six long months in the shelter and was adopted one month ago.  I received an email from the adoption coordinator thanking me as the adopters came in response to one of my ads.  I never met Cubby but was told that the volunteers cried with joy when his new family took him home.

*The original version of this post was published on my personal blog, Green Bean Chronicles, last month. 

* This post is the Green Phone Booth's entry for the October "Green Pet" edition of the Green Moms Carnival.  Read what green moms have to say about eco-pets on October 12th at Condo Blues.


miss christine said...

LOve this post, keep up the great work!!!

Kristen said...

This is amazing, and so inspiring! Thanks for being a good person!

fullfreezer said...

What a fabulous story. You made me feel good too! We've got a rescue dog of our own and two cats from the shelter as well. It feels good to take them home.

Green Bean said...

Thank you, ladies! It feels GREAT to help other creatures and even better to bring them home and into our lives. Thank you for commenting and for caring!

Elizabeth B said...

Oh wow. Oh wow. You totally just made me cry. Thank you so very much for making the world a little better, one dog at a time.

I hopeyou don't mind, but I'm linking to this from my Facebook and LiveJournal. I have a lot of friends who are animal lovers, and I think they'll be really touched.

Simply Authentic said...

This is incredibly wonderful and what a great way for you to give. You're definitely making a large difference for both the amazing dogs and for the volunteers in the shelter. It can break one's heart walking into some shelters and knowing that you can't take every creature in there and give them a home. 3 of our 4 pets are from shelters, and our lives are full of so much joy and entertainment because of them. Thanks again for what you do and what a great point for so many of the rest of us to DO SOMETHING!

BluElf said...

And you have me crying too as I read this post! I am overwhelmed with joy as reading what you are doing for those little furry ones, the families that are blessed to bring them home, and the shelter workers who get to finally see so many happy unions! Such a beautiful, beautiful work of love you are doing for them all as well as yourself! You are such a treasure to them all and an inspiration as well to them and all of us! From my heart, thank you!

Green Bean said...

Elizabeth B - Please do link. I'd love to spread the word of ways to help these animals in need. :)

Simply Authentic - Exactly! I felt so awful for not being able to rescue everyone. I had to do something and promoting animals was what I came up with. I was thrilled when I heard from the shelter that I actually was making a difference.

BluElf- Oh, thank you!

Wellspring Community School said...

Love it! Thanks for making a difference in the lives of homeless companion animals!

Lisa Sharp said...

Thanks for helping these dogs! I've had a couple of rescued dogs and they have been wonderful. The dog I have right now is Great Pyrenees/Lab and she is so sweet. She was abused and near death when she and her three puppies (about 6 months old) showed up at my parents house. The moment I saw her I feel in love. It was so clear that my husband looked at me and said, we can keep her if your parents can't. My parents got her spayed, her double dewclaws removed and lots of meds for heartworms and earlicha (sp?) and soon she was home with me. I gave her meds a few times a day, fed her a homemade diet of rice, chicken broth and yogurt for several days as that's all she would eat.

She ripped out some stitches and had to wear a cone, she was messing with the stitches on her paws so had to keep them wrapped which meant changing the dressings several times a day. We bonded so much during this time and she is now as head over heels with me as I am with her.

I'm happy to say she is now healthy and we have even worked through a lot of her fears. She used to hate the car but now loves car rides, she still hates water but will let me bathe her because she trusts me. She is still scared of a lot of things but she trusts me and my husband so she is okay if we are around.

Anyway that was a long comment but she is a sweetheart and I love her dearly.

Condo Blues said...

So many people think the only way to help a rescue pet is to adopt them. Thank you so much for doing this and posting it so others might do the same.

Linda A said...

What a great story. I never thought about helping a rescue organization by posting their animals on Craigslist.


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