Friday, June 15, 2012

Maybe I'm not cut out for this...

Canine rescue is HARD.  It is particularly difficult for me because I get so very attached to the animals that I rescue.  I also hurt, horrendously, for the ones that I can't save.  Case in point:

Yesterday, I was notified of a group of dogs, desperately needing rescue ~ or facing euthanasia ~ in the Minneapolis area.  I contacted the shelter they were in and offered to rescue one of the dogs.  I was informed that I could not rescue any of the dogs that were scheduled to die because I was not on the shelter's "approved" list of rescues.  I offered to send my rescue policy and procedures as well as links to the Bluff Country Canine Rescue website, blogs and Facebook page, in addition to professional references.  I was informed that a rescue must fill out an application to be approved and the shelter wasn't even accepting applications at this time because it is their "busy season".  (meaning that lots of dogs are being killed)  I can't even submit an application until this Fall!  In the meantime, a young pup that I had hoped to save, was euthanized yesterday.  I sobbed for hours...

in the Rochester Animal Control Shelter

Today, Cricket (a black lab mix that I rescued in April), is leaving for her "Forever Home".  Now, that is the GOAL in rescue.  To rescue, rehabilitate and re-home companion animals.  My problem is, unlike most rescues, in my case the dogs that I save live in my house with me and my own dogs.  They become "members of my family".  I do this deliberately ~ even though I have plenty of room to put dogs in kennels.  I want the dogs to live in my house so that I can observe them closely and help them learn to be well behaved (in theory anyway!) house pets.  I want them to learn to trust the people that care for them and to learn that human companionship means love.  I will not place a dog in a home where it won't live and sleep in the house, so it is important that the dogs are comfortable and familiar with the 'rules' of being a house pet.

When I pulled Cricket from the Rochester shelter, she was extremely thin and very scared.  So scared, that while in her kennel in the shelter, she snarled and snapped at me.  By the time I got her home, we were friends.  I had intended to keep her in a kennel for a day or two until I was sure she would be OK with my dogs but as soon as we got 'home' Cricket was so happy that I proceeded with introductions and we all spent the night together in the house!

Over the next few weeks, Cricket blossomed.  Plenty of premium food put weight on her too thin frame and appropriate veterinary care brought her to peak health.  She learned to trust me and to share my attention with my dogs ~ especially Sable ~ whom she was not very fond of.  It didn't help that Sable kept growling at Cricket either.  A bit of 'sibling rivalry' there.

Cricket LOVES to play fetch and her favorite, outdoor toy is BIG sticks.  Branches, actually!  ;-)
The bigger, the better!

 As Cricket grew more confident and less insecure, she became a wonderful house dog.  She was happiest when she was close to me and became one of the sweetest, most eager to please dogs that I've ever had.

The time was right to find Cricket her own family.

It didn't take long to find someone who appreciated Cricket's good looks, athletic abilities and fun personality. We met several potential families for Cricket.  It is my job to select the one that will make the best match for a long term relationship.  I feel confident that I did that with Cricket.
But THIS is the hard part for me. 
 Saying Good-bye.

I have grown very attached to this beautiful dog.
She sleeps at the foot of my bed every night and runs to the office to lay at my feet under the desk when I pour my morning cappuccino. 

It is such a joy to see this healthy, confident dog run and play with abandon and not a care in the world!  She has even learned to ignore perceived 'threats' made by other dogs and not over-react defensively.  In other words:  she gets along well with all of my dogs.  

I'm gonna miss my beautiful Cricket!

It's scary, letting her go out into the world without me.

I don't ever want her to hurt or be frightened or lonely again.

It's hard, letting go.

Be Happy Cricket!
I will always Love you!

Gotta go cry now...


  1. You are doing great things. {{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}

    1. Thank you Barb.
      Perhaps I'll feel better when I get my next rescue lined up. I'm working on it now...

  2. Nancy,

    THAT is the main reason I've never done shelter/rescue or taken potential seeing eye dogs in (I have adopted 2 shelter dogs in my life and want to do it again in the near future). I know me too well and I know that when the time came for them to leave I couldn't let them go. It's hard enough to let one go, for ex: DeeDee let me know when she was ready to cross the rainbow bridge and for me to call the vet to help her along (I'm already crying,even tho she's been gone for almost 7 years),it was very hard.

    I'm glad there are people out there that can do that kind of work, I can't. If a dog walks/is carried thru my gate he/she is there for life no matter what.

    1. YOU are exactly the kind of person I want to PLACE my rescues with.


  3. Anonymous4:26 PM

    The dog you referenced that was in the Minneapolis area was actually killed because he bit a volunteer with 9 puncture wounds. Even if you were an approved rescue at the time they would not have released them to you after the bite incident.

    I feel your frustration with the approval process with this particular facility but I think it's important to keep the facts straight. I hope your able to get approved soon. I know they're getting pressure from the citizens to approve more rescues and that fall is not an acceptable time frame.

    Thanks for all you do!

    1. Dear "Anonymous",

      I very specifically did NOT reference any specific dog in my post. Just to keep the facts straight, as you said, I was told that the bite by the dog that did lash out as it was being led from it's kennel, through a room full of barking dogs, was more accurately, "bite marks and a couple of places that actually broke the skin". I really do not wish to get into a "he-said, she-said" with you, which as I said is why I specifically did NOT mention one particular dog. There were a number of dogs in the "URGENT" to be destroyed file that were facing immanent euthanasia. I am unable to save ANY of them.

  4. Nancy, I know the heartbreak you feel, whether the comment above mine is true or not, it's still heartbreaking when you have tried to make a difference and couldn't. As hard as it is, stay focused on the good you have done and have yet to do. In reading your post, I was reminded of something I felt long ago, and that was that there will be a day that you will see all these precious pups again, and this little one will be there too, thanking you for what you have done, and even tried to do in their behalf. Hold onto the good...

    And now, I'm going to give you a little tidbit on another way to get a dog from a shelter, just in case you don't already know...Sometimes when rescues are unable to adopt a dog from a local shelter, they find someone who will or can adopt the dog from the shelter who then in turn, give it to you/or your rescue--Believe me when I tell you that there are many rescues that do that--The rescue I work with is included in that and they have been around for more than 25 years, and there are STILL shelters like the one in the county that I live in, who won't release a dog to them--I've adopted a couple dogs, not just for the rescue I volunteer with, but other rescue too and each time I turned the dogs over to rescue, and so have a few of my friends, and the shelter is none the wiser...

    1. Oh, Kim! No wonder I love you!!!
      You always know exactly what to say. Of course I will see them again. They'll be with my "Rocky". That does help.

      I just pray that they have happy lives while they are in this world...


  5. Actually, I should clarify, I do follow up home visits on the dogs that I place so I will see Cricket again SOON.

    I get to see GYPSY and JD next week!!!

    Oh, happy heart....

  6. I'm so sad for you! But - you can be extremely proud of the work you did with Cricket, and the wonderful dog you brought out of her former miserable self. The new family is extremely lucky!!!

    Nancy in Iowa

  7. Thank you Mom L! I agree, the family that adopted Cricket is blessed to have such a wonderful canine companion in their lives...

  8. I fell in love with her thru your blog. You do wonderful work and I feel your pain of letting her go. I am sure she will live a long happy life! ps - I am crying too :(

    1. Awwwwwwww!
      THANK YOU! I hope you'll stay tuned and cheer on our next rescue...

  9. You had me crying with sadness and then crying for Cricket's joy. Well done for getting Cricket so happy and ready to go on to her forever family! They are so lucky, she's gorgeous.

    It's so sad that the 'killing schedule' has to be kept to, even when the pups have a chance of rehoming. Says a lot about society, I guess :o(

    I'm so glad you get to see all your dogs in their new homes, they will be so happy to see you!

    Thank you for everything you do.


  10. Anonymous6:00 AM

    Nancy, this post made me cry too.

    It angers me so that a shelter would much rather euthanize a dog than work with someone willing to save it. I wrote a post about Just One Day which from what I can gather saved hundreds (if not thousands) of dogs.

    I get a lot of "help this guy" baby across my facebook page and it kills me when I see them. Most of them are from Texas so the only thing I can do is cross post and hope someone will do the same and save the dog. When I see one cowering in a crate I just want to hop a plane and save the dog. As my husband keeps telling me (and I hate it, but I know it's true) we can't save them all.

    I'm so sorry that you had this experience with a HORRIBLE shelter and you can certainly spread the word about how awful this shelter is.

    Take some comfort in knowing that you saved Cricket who in some instances would have been euthanized because she was afraid in the shelter. I always say you cannot gage the personality of a dog based on its reaction in the shelter.

    You did right by Cricket and as sad as it is to let her go, it is a good thing. I am sending you a giant hug!

  11. Dear Nancy-
    Because you love so much, you are supremely well "cut out for this". But I do understand the emotional toll that it takes on a tender heart. Bless you.

  12. Nancy - Keep up the good work. Working one-at-a-time is still making a huge difference. Thanks for all you do. It has been a while since I was able to check on my favorite blogs and it was good to catch up on yours.


  13. Very interesting Article, thanks author. Boo

  14. You're doing a really wonderful job, look how happy Cricket looks for instance!



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