Those who know us well know that we've had a very long history with animal rescue, welfare, fostering and adopting. It is a huge example of yin and yang, give and take, a big mash up of love, grief, humor, love, tension, terror, love, stress and well...love. Those who know us really well and see first hand what we go through probably often wonder why we do it.
In almost thirty years of doing this there have been close to 100 critters coming through our lives. We were portals for many to find their new and forever homes, many others found their homes with us.
We've seen births and more deaths than I can sometimes bear to think about. There are rarely any canine medical conditions that come up that we haven't dealt with before. We've worried and wept while nursing dogs back to health, many times the outcome has been blessed and positive with the patient recovering and going on to enjoy many more years. Many more times though, we've acted as the hospice provider knowing that the outcome was unavoidable...still...we've always tried to keep them with us as long as we could and begged them to give us a sign to indicate when they no longer felt comforted by life but rather imprisoned by it.
We've dug graves in our rocky soil and noted that the end usually seems to come in the dead of winter. We know who is buried where and are forever grateful that when we sit graveside our memories are of our friends in their healthy and playful primes.
There is no doubt that had we not taken this path with the animals we would have been able to live comfortably financially. But then again, when lives are at stake, there is no greater motivator to making a decent living. Veterinary costs are skyrocketing and unlike human health care, it is very difficult to be an informed consumer with regards to those costs. We made a painful decision a few years ago to not personally rescue and foster any more animals so that we could continue to give the very best care we can to those we already have committed to.
We are in one of those situations right now. Wiggles, a Black & Tan Coonhound mix is in the middle of kidney disease right now. She was born here, along with 10 brothers and sisters. We adopted all but three of the puppies and the mother out. The mother lived with us for 10 years until she died 2 years ago. Wiggles, other than refusing to eat seems happy and content. She was eating canned food up until about a month ago. Now we cook her meal and hand feed her four times a day. Why do we do this? When we are exhausted we ask ourselves the same question. When she greets us in the morning though, she is happy and glad to see us. That's why. When that stops we'll make the decision in her best interest.
This morning on facebook, a friend posted this video and inspiration came to me in a flash. This is why we do this.