Over the last few weeks I’ve received three touching stories that I wanted to share with you about the bond we share with the companion animals in our lives, in this case dogs specifically.
First this update arrived about one of the nearly 700 dogs we rescued from a Tennessee puppy mill:
I just want to say thank you to all those who worked so hard to rescue the animals from the Tennessee puppy mill. I am fostering one of the dogs—a mini dachshund—who ended up at the Washington D.C. Humane Society. I cry every time I hold him when I think about what he has been through. He is slowly learning to trust us and he is enjoying being held, sniffing the yard, walking freely, and investigating all the sights, sounds and smells of a real home. I know that he would say "thank you" from the bottom of his heart if he could talk. I am so grateful that you were able to get this little guy and all those other dogs out of those deplorable conditions. —Lisa Oakley
Then last Wednesday, in response to my blog about the source of a dog being more important to animal advocates than the breed, I received this message from Helen Santiago:
There is much to be said for adopting a dog from either a breed rescue group or Humane Society shelter. In either case a dog is saved.
One of my daughters adopted a dachshund of about 3-4 years in age from the Northern Virginia Dachshund Rescue. He was of the black and tan variety ("smooth wild boar"?), smaller than standard size, but larger than any of the minis.
Frank died yesterday after providing my daughter, Marie, and myself, with about 16 years of affection, guidance and devotion. He was given the best of care and love, and left us when there were no more options available. He had the run of our lives and our homes. He challenged other males over the right to share our beds, hiked with us, drove many miles with us and provided a perfect companionship.
Frank has been buried in the Poconos where he, small as he was, stood his ground (if only briefly) against a bear invading my daughter’s rubbish bin.
We consider ourselves to be "dachshund people" which is why Marie chose a breed specific rescue group. But any rescue, general or specific, beats the loss of one of our canine companions. I guess "fancy" people need fancy dogs of "breeding", but Frank was more than good enough for us.
And after reading my review of retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman’s new book, "From Baghdad to America: Life Lessons from a Dog Named Lava," this comment came in:
I read "From Baghdad with Love" and was deeply moved by Jay and Lava’s story. Recently, returning home to Canada from NCAD [National Conference on Animals in Disaster] in Sacramento, I was in the airport when some soldiers were arriving home from Iraq. A large group of us stopped to applaud them as they were walking through the airport. Suddenly, out of a group of what appears to have been one of the soldier’s large group of family, an Australian Cattle Dog cried and burst forward leaping into the soldier’s arms. Both dog and human cried in joy at seeing each other. It moved me to tears to see their bond and how happy they were to see each other after having been separated for such a long time. The rest of the family just stood there and let the soldier and his devoted dog soak up the joyful reunion without disruption. It was a true testament to the human/animal bond. God bless all the soldiers, their families and the companion animals for their sacrifice. I will definitely be reading Jay and Lava’s second book. —Colleen Bailey, Western Canadian Regional Director, EARS