When I first met Snoopy, he was simply a photo forwarded to several pit bull rescues by the local shelter. At a frail 12 years young, I don’t think they felt he had a chance at leaving the shelter, but sent his medical report and a photo along anyhow. My insides turn to mush when I see a senior dog in the shelter. How could we not go meet him?
Snoopy was one of three dogs that had recently been surrendered because their owner had become homeless. Snoopy had certainly seen some of the hard times that led to his dad’s homelessness, and they were evident in his ever careful movements. He had to be coaxed from the relative comfort of his shelter bed and blankets. An obvious shelter favorite, his bed had a couple extra of the fluffiest of cushions. Arthritis wracked his poor bones and he moved slowly and deliberately across the cement floor. He was oh so thin. With multiple broken teeth, even watered down canned food seemed painful to eat, so he had simply stopped eating. His ribs poked through his thin skin in disarray as his body contorted to fend off the aches. However, his cloudy eyes eagerly sought out affection and he was only too happy to plant his boney butt on the nearest soft lap. He leaned back into the evaluator and closed his eyes. At the sound of a man’s voice nearby, his head turned expectantly and then laid back down. His ears cocked ever so slightly in recognition of the softly spoken Spanish questions asked of him by one of his evaluators. We don’t know much about his former life, but he had loved his dad, it is evident. He had given 12 years of his life protecting and being protected by him, until neither of them could protect one another any longer.
We, as a rescue, are realistic that a 12 year old dog will likely not get adopted from our group either. However we are proud of the fact that we are good stewards of the moneys granted to us by organizations like the Petco Foundation and by our personal donors, we can afford to accommodate what we call a sanctuary dog. A sanctuary dog is one that we take in, knowing that we will be paying for his care and medical for the rest of his life. It is a dog for whom we need to find a special foster parent – one who realizes that they may need to love this dog for whatever time they have left and then to help us make the hard decisions when it is time for that dog to cross over the rainbow bridge. However, this special person, in return, will know that they were the one person who could keep June 12, 2012 from being that rainbow bridge day for Snoopy. They are the one special person who will have shown him comfort, love, care and dignity in his final days, whether they be 2 weeks, 6 months, a year or five years.
Thankfully, when we put the plea out on Snoopy’s behalf, we had not one but two loving souls step forward, and dozens more who will help monetarily with his care. Snoopy has a whole choir of angels watching out for him now. He is no longer simply a photo on an email requesting help. He is a leaving, breathing example that there are still good people in the world and hope for a future where no pet has to go homeless just because their owners have hit hard times.
(As told by Kim Smith, Petco Foundation Pit Bull Advocacy Program Manager and Executive Director for Pit Bull Rescue San Diego)
Petco Foundation grants help rescues with the day to day functioning, improvement and infrastructure of their organizations so that when special cases, like Snoopy’s, come up, they can go to their local donors for help, knowing that his ongoing support will not compromise the welfare of other animals in their care. Please donate, knowing that, because of you, senior pets like Snoopy can live out their lives as the beloved member of a family.