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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