This is a rerun from 2009 since I just don't have anything for today. I only had 3 followers at that time so it should be new for most of you.
In the years that I ran the animal rescue, I placed over 250 dogs. I would love to say they all went to wonderful homes, but that wasn't always the case. You try the best you can and while I always followed up on the adoptions, a few fell through the cracks, much like our child services organizations. One such case was Ginger.
Ginger was a street dog when I found her. She was making a living raiding garbage cans and annoying the town residents. I often worked with the Humane Society and was told about this stray. Every time they went to pick her up, she vanished. She evidently knew their trucks. The director, who was a good friend, asked me to try to catch her as the neighbors were threatening to cause her harm with vague threats of poisoning.
She was a small Sheltie mix with a very dirty and matted coat. There was nothing pretty about Ginger. I saw her cruising McDonald's parking lot, bought a cheese burger and caught her with no problem. My vehicle fooled her. I dropped her off at the vets for exam, bath and hair cut.
When I picked her up in the evening, I didn't recognize her. They had to shave her almost to the skin due to the mats. God had given her a lot of hair for a reason, she had an ugly body.
Ginger fit right in at the shelter and she adopted Sooner, a large greyhound male, as her best buddy. They were inseparable. He would do his sprints around the pasture at roughly 40 miles per hour. Pumping her little legs as best she could, she would trail him and he would soon lap her many times but both ran with tongues out and wide grins. They were a joy to watch.
I apologize for quality and stains on the old picture.
As her hair grew, she became quite pretty and I sought to adopt her out. Ginger was very affectionate if a bit needy so when a friend suggested a woman he knew who was in an assisted living home that allowed pets, I was thrilled. Ginger would get 24/7 attention.
When the lonely woman saw Ginger, it was instant love. I felt I had really found a perfect match and had made two beings very happy. It was a really good day and I was quite comfortable in the adoption. I left my card with the director and told her that if, God forbid, anything happened to the lady, I would take Ginger back.
It was almost a year later when the director called me. She explained that Ginger's owner had dementia that was progressing rapidly and it was getting where she could no longer care for a pet.
I asked if I could help out with walks and such but she said that the little dog was being unintentionally abused. The lady would tie the dog to her chair and not let her move. She would swat Ginger when she tried to move away. I was heart sick that the little dog was being so badly treated but I also felt deeply for the woman and the cruelties of that disease.
The director wanted me to take the dog but said we had to do it while the woman was at a doctors appointment as she would not understand and might get aggressive. This did not sit well with me for I was basically being asked to steal this woman's dog. I had no knowledge of dementia behavior but trusted the director and agreed to steal Ginger.
I went to pick up Ginger when the woman had gone to her appointment in the morning. Ginger acted almost fearful to see me and there was a dull look in her eyes. Under her thick coat, I felt her bones. She had obviously suffered in this home.
When we got home, her reunion with Sooner lifted her spirits and I saw some of the old Ginger reappear. I was hopeful there was no permanent emotional damage and that it would just take time, care and love.
I had plans that day and when I got home there was a message on my answering machine. As I played it, my heart split in two.
A thin reedy voice softly spoke thru tears. "My doggie, my doggie, what have you done with my doggie? Please, please, I want my doggie. Bring her back-- please." Then the phone went dead.
I didn't know I could cry and throw up at the same time. It hurt-so-damn-bad. She had evidently kept my business card from when I first took Ginger to her. Perhaps whoever placed the call, hung up for her. Regardless, she knew I had stolen her friend. Pain strangled her voice. I couldn't feel any lower or dirtier so I threw up again.
I called the director when I could finally speak. She assured me that in a very short time, the woman would forget all about Ginger. I doubted that but was then told she was going into full custodial care, so having a dog was out. The cruelty of what I had done was impossible to bear.
There was no right thing to do here. I had to protect the dog but did I have the right to make this poor woman suffer any more? Thank God she never called back but I can hear her voice clearly today.
Ginger later went into a wonderful home where she spent the rest of her years ruling the household as a benevolent dictator. That helped my conscience quite a bit. However, I still cringe today when I hear the word "doggie."
Have you ever had to do something that was the right thing to do but it broke your heart?
4 days ago