Today is Christmas Day.
I'll be leaving for my mom's house in a few minutes. She survived colon cancer this year, and I'm so happy to have her for one more Christmas. I'm looking forward to watching everyone open their gifts, and chatting at the kitchen table over a ham dinner. But I cannot leave before addressing my best and most important family. That is you, my Facebook family.
This year at Christmas, I am surrounded by the squealing, scurrying, bouncing and wrestling of a bevy of puppymill dogs. As I look down, I see Holly, the little pug with an awful eye injury, standing with both paws on my leg. I lower my hand to scratch her hear and she begins to play, chewing on my fingers.
One week ago, she ran from me and urinated in fear when I picked her up. That is the change we have made in her life.
Likewise, China, another pug from the auction who would not come near anyone. She lays beside me on my bed with her chin resting on my knee. No small thing, what we have done here.
Caesar and Misha, two French bulldog puppies, are learning to bond and socialize. They are young enough that we're overriding the dog aggression they leaned at the Mennonite puppymill where they lived. Their parents, who are five and six years old, must be separated from the other dogs. But I see subtle changes in them, too. They came here with no eye contact or reaction to humans. Now they look for me, meet my gaze and their tails wag when I pet them. Somewhere, there are one-dog homes waiting for them where they can love and be loved for the first time in their lives. The years spent as livestock are over because of you.
Biscuit and Cookie, two Shiffon puppies bought at the auction, arrived like little lumps without expression. Now both have such personality! Cookie actually barked for the first time yesterday! Biscuit plays with the other pups and with toys. They are so young, they will not even remember their lives before rescue. Clementine, the English Bulldog, has had her physical problems repaired and is in a wonderful foster home. January 19th she goes home with Audra, and RN who cried telling me about her Bulldog, Luke, who had passed away. Audra is spending Christmas visiting her family so she'll never have to leave Clementine alone again.
So many wonderful people. This is the family I love and need most of all. This is the family who, instead of saying, "Can't you get rid of some of those dogs?", says "We love dogs. We understand. We want to help." Only a certain kind of people know what I mean. I'm privileged to know so many of them, and so fortunate that God gave me a purpose.
This Christmas, I received the greatest Christmas gift I have ever gotten in my 54 years. I walked into an auction barn and left with 20 dogs, every dog I had physical space for and a need to rescue. Many beautiful pugs, and a few other dogs with physical issues I knew would go unattended should they enter the world of puppymills. Four more followed on Monday. My auction buddy left with six more still. The grand total was 30 dogs snatched from lives of misery. We did this together. Every one of you who sent money, who spread the word, who offered to accept the dogs into your rescues afterward, who lent your support in so many ways has made a difference for these animals this Christmas.
We still have a ways to go, but we will get there. Every dog here will be made well.Every dog here have a loving home. So I want to thank you. Thank you for the opportunity, thank you for this incredible gift, thank you for all you do to ease suffering and lift up the least among us, the most powerless. Thank you for enriching my life and being my ROCK!
If these dogs could talk, they'd thank you, too. For them, you have closed the door on a world of misery and opened up a whole new world of love, comfort and freedom from pain. Words cannot begin to convey this miracle for them.
With heart full of gratitude, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, as good and hopeful as the one you've bestowed on every rescued dog.
Merry Christmas, and may 2013 be just the beginning for you, too.