Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Good People Do Nothing

Zeke, The Shelter Dog Who Changed My Life

A few months ago, 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 wet 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 dogs 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 few months. But I couldn't forget those barking dogs, that wet floor, the echoes in the concrete.  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.  My friend sent me a photo of Freckles with a megawatt grin, nursing her puppies in her new foster home.  My eyes welled up and I felt a lump in my throat and something more.

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 recruit fosters and volunteers.   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 something more.

I could easily stop placing my ads.  Stop networking with friends.  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 last Saturday.  I received an email from the adoption coordinator thanking me as the adopters came in response to one of my ads.  

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11 comments:

Robbie said...

Good point! It's easy to get too comfortable and decide you've done your part and it's someone else's turn.

Glad you're back by the way. :-)

Chile said...

Dang. Just lost a long comment. Oh well.

Good for you for staying involved. Both of our dogs are rescues and we initially found out about the organization that rescued Angel from ads on craigslist.

SustainaMom said...

You made me cry! Connecting people really does change the world, doesn't it?

The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman said...

This is such a great story and message, GB. I hope it goes viral. It deserves to.

notherethenwhere said...

Thanks for the reminder of how important it can be to step up and do something, and the difference that taking action can make in the world.

Dea-chan said...

http://crazinessandmore.blogspot.com/2011/05/belated-rhubarb-tarts-in-jars-photos.html

Bam! Ask and ye shall receive! You should totally try them out if you have spare rhubarb around. :-P

Green Bean said...

@Robbie - Thank you for the welcome back!

@Chile - Rescue animals ROCK!!!

@SustainaMom - You made my day. I love making people cry. :)

@Alison - Thank you so much. I hope so. What a difference people could make.

@Notherethenwhere - And it feels so good every time I find out one of "my dogs" has been adopted. Bonus.

@Dea-chann - heading over there now. :)

mangocheeks said...

Love your message and reminder.

We hope to pick up a rescued dog oneday from the dogs home trust in the U.K. For now, I love oggling at the pets of others.

Anonymous said...

yes, so easy to do nothing.
thanks for the positive reminder that it doesn't have to be hard to make a difference.

Green Bean said...

@MangoCheeks - Rescue animals are the best. But be careful. I started with ogling and now am advertising. :)

@Anonymous - Thank you so much leaving the comment!

International Adoption Agencies said...

Great facts, several thanks towards the author. It really is incomprehensible to me now, but in basic, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and very good luck!

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