Scarlet is not dead today, and I am the reason.
Scarlet is six years old and blind. Her owner surrendered her to a "kill shelter" - I've no idea why. Scarlet is apparently perfect, other than her vision. She runs up to strangers and places both paws on their legs to be petted. Scarlet fit right into the pack at my house. She's unfailingly cheerful, playful - a joy to be around.
She came very, very close to dying.I have a houseful of old, blind, unadoptable pugs. I did not want to take in another. But I did it anyway, because God or conscience would not allow anything else. I'm getting old, I work a full-time job, I live with chronic pain. But we all have our burdens and obligations. Mine do not excuse me from doing the work I was destined to do, no matter how difficult.
Scarlet's brother, Luke, was dropped at the shelter with Scarlet. Luke, a sweet, slightly cautious nine-year old with bad knees, is Scarlet's guide dog. He has a slight case of dry eye, in addition to the mild patellar luxation in his rear legs, and was also deemed "unadoptable". When Scarlet sits next to me on the bed, I see Luke watching, like a concerned big brother trying to decide if she is safe with me.
Luke is alive, too. In fact, he's lying in a cuddler bed on a raised platform in my bedroom as I write this, twitching in REM sleep, dreaming, perhaps, of a frighteningly crowded shelter filled with the lost and discarded...the one where he and his sister nearly died.
When Scarlet and Luke came home with me, they didn't have a lot of options. In fact, they had none at all. I put out requests for help on their behalf. The only answer came from my "sister", Lisa, from Midwest Pug Rescue who, I might add, has been a great help in posting my hard-to-place pugs. Lisa tried to find foster homes for Luke and Scarlet. She and I share a special affection and empathy for the old, blind ones. Good thing, huh? I mean, since that is what we generally get in rescue. When I do have puppies for adoption, they're not pugs. They're whatever I could purchase cheaply enough to help pay for the Lukes and the Scarlets.
There is a third dog alive today. She's not a pug, but a pug-chi mix. She is a fear-biter who will not come out of her crate when anyone is nearby. Instead, she creeps out at night to eat and drink. In the morning, she is back in the crate. We have her safely isolated in our laundry room. The picture at left is her, curled up in the back of a crate. She has no name. We stop, bend down and whisper softly to her several times daily. I have no idea what happened to her to make her so viscerally terrified of human beings.Only time will tell what the future holds for this dog.
All I can tell you is that she's not dead.
Three dogs are not dead today, only because I could not allow their stories to end otherwise. Their futures may be uncertain at this stage.
But, at least for the time being, I can say they have futures.