I was never a dog or a cat person. I grew up in a place where dogs were meant to be guard dogs and cats were to keep the mice away. I have vague memories of our dogs who were always kept outside even during the strongest storms. Most of them were named Whitey, Blackie, Brownie, Spotty or Puppy. We did not even put any thought in giving them names. Being able to feed them leftovers and petting a puppy (yes, just the young cute puppies) were enough for me. And then I came here and saw a whole new world of how dogs are treated. Even then, I would ask myself why would anyone treat a dog like a human baby. I didn't get it, but whatever.
Two and half years ago, a tragedy happened, something that brought me to a dark place, and my family to tears. A few months later, my son got a dog. He always wanted one for himself, but I remember him saying, "It will help you, mom." Long story short, we all fell madly in love with this pup. He could be on any naughty adventure and still get away with it more than either of my human children ever did. So yes, our new dog helped me. He helped our family heal from what I would say was the "unrepentant Michael Vick" of my life.
As a new dog mom/grandmom, I started reading dog articles and watching dog videos. I educated myself and found a new passion. Last March, we started fostering dogs through www.lasthopek9.org, and it has been the most invigorating and rewarding experience. We had fostered a tripod, puppies born to strays left in the dump, an adult dog rejected by his owner because of a medical condition, mutts on death row, a pup left on the street after a hit and run, and most recently, a sweet girl who was set in flames by abusive people. Although people have praised me for what I do, my truthful response was always “They do more for me than I do for them.” It has been 9 months since my first foster, a one-eyed lab mix. We are now on our 17th foster and we also adopted our second dog!
It took a tragedy and a pup to turn my sorry excuse of a heart worthy of being called a dog person. The guilt that it took me over 40 years to open my eyes and advocate for these angels with paws shames me. I apologize to all our dogs for not taking the time to look at them, ignoring their pain and pushing them away when the only thing they wanted was a gentle brush from my hand. My journey took longer than others, but I made it here nevertheless. You too can.
ADOPT. FOSTER. DONATE. VOLUNTEER. ADVOCATE. EDUCATE.
-Red D., BDA member, LHK9 Rescue volunteer