But somehow Isabelle had still ended up in a "kill" shelter.
Luckily, this particular shelter worked with rescue. Six is up there for an adoption prospect in any shelter. Puppies fly out the doors, but a six year-old - even a purebred - is another story. Had the shelter not called us, Isabelle's chances of survival would've been iffy.
Before that came Piggy and Howdy, whose owner also died of cancer. I was in touch with the owner's daughter while she was still in hospice. Piggy and Howdy's owner had her daughter promise to care for them. The daughter, who was a lovely person, was not in a position to do that. But she promised anyway. What choice did she have? She endured considerable guilt over relinquishing them to rescue - unnecessarily, I assured her. Calling rescue was the best thing she could have done for them. What I meant to say was, calling rescue is better than leaving them in a shelter, where the foreign environment, smells and noises would certainly confuse and frighten any animal who had lived in a normal home up until that point.
Change is no picnic for the best of us. I promise you, this only worsens as we age. I work at an aging agency during the day counseling seniors who will dig in their heels at the mere mention of relocation, regardless of how obviously practical that might seem to everyone else. Then I go home to a houseful of elderly, displaced pugs.
In rescue,we try to make the displaced pets as comfortable and happy as we can, but it's sad and difficult. They don't want to be in a rescue house. They want their homes. They want the children who cuddled them, the owner who sat with them on the sofa in the evening...everything they've always known is what they crave. At work, we call it "aging in place". It means not being uprooted just because you've grown old. It's what most of us want. If dogs could speak, it's what they would ask for, too.
|Gertie, Bebe & Angus|
Isabelle has a wonderful home waiting for her. Next weekend, she'll be leaving with a couple of "repeat offenders" I've known for years, a perfect match, a happy ending after all. I have a brand new bunch of fearful breeder release pugs who will require far more emotional rehabilitation than physical.
As I grow older, I find myself identifying more and more with these senior dogs. I have the same arthritis, dental woes, declining vision and diminished hearing, and need for familiarity and repetition. Lost, displaced, abandoned. All I can do is marvel at their resilience, help the ones I can, and ensure that I do better for my own than their families did for them.