Hi Everybuddy -
Mom received this story in her email and thought it was quite worthy of sharing.
I hadn't been in rescue very long and I was reading a story about Lexi, looking at her sweet golden face in the picture. Apparently, she had been rescued as a pup from a shelter. However, in this instance, the word "rescue" seemed to have been used merely to assuage the guilt of her human mother who was now looking to find a new home for Lexi. How else could one justify finding a new home for a family member? Lexi's mom had two toddlers and other excuses for now wanting to find "the very best" home for the dog she'd raised for the past 10-11 years. Her family of four was moving to a new subdivision, and between the toddlers and the upcoming move, along with working, she had no time for Lexi. I didn't understand this reasoning then and still don't understand it. The dog was part of the family. Yes, we all have lifestyle changes. We have kids. We move. We work. We become preoccupied with our children's schedules as well as our own. We don't think we have enough time. Well, I had done all those things and never once thought of finding a home for any of my dogs -- they were part of my family. How could she do this to this sweet girl? I made arrangements to pick up Lexi, who was living in a very nice, gated subdivision, not far from ours. We introduced ourselves to Lexi's mom and were taken to see Lexi. The garage door opened and there was this sweet dog, in a large wire kennel where she'd obviously been living, with a small fan on her, in Houston, in September. Lexi had been digging in the backyard and they couldn't have that -- not with their house for sale. She gave me a brief history of Lexi, concluding that Lexi would probably look for her by waiting at the door at night. I took Lexi, who jumped in the back seat of our truck and never looked back. From that moment on, she was my dog and she never left my side, nor did she ever fail to thank me daily with her eyes and utmost devotion. Of all the dogs I'd ever had and loved, this one was most special. She was my first rescue. We took Lexi home to our family of four other dogs and, after proper sniffing and various other forms of introduction, all dogs took their places in our lives. Lexi never left my side. She could be found sleeping at my beside and when Rick got up early and let the dogs outside on weekends, Lexi wouldn't go until I got up. What a wonderful old girl she was. We moved to the bay in June of 2004. Lexi was getting visibly older and was slowing down. She had free rein of the house and could always be found at my side, whether that be at the side of the bed or the foot of the couch. I never left her outside. She had spent enough time in the heat, in a cage. She was 15 years old this past January. She had numerous tumors on her body and in her eyes and, although she ate like a horse, was skinny as a rail. I prayed that she would go to sleep on her own, and not leave me to make that decision for her. I finally had to make that appointment, and she went to sleep in my arms. She took a piece of my heart with her and I know she now waits at the Bridge, playing and waiting with my Huskies. I write this, not just to honor her memory, but hopefully so that another young mother, with toddlers, who thinks she has no time and needs to rehome her dog, will read it. Lexi was lucky -- she found me. Other senior dogs, and cats, are not as fortunate. If a home can't be found, they are dropped at a shelter to a certain death because they are deemed unadoptable by the shelter. It's not the shelters fault. Over crowding due to a glut of abandoned pets leaves no room for an older dog or cat. I hope that the young mother who reads this will think twice and realize that the pet she has raised loves her, whether she has as much time today as she had yesterday. I hope the young mother who reads this will think about what she will be teaching her children if she gives her old pet away. Instead of teaching them that a pet is a responsibility for all of its life, she will be teaching them that a pet is disposable. I hope she will read this and look into her pet's eyes and see the love and the life still devoted to her. I hope that she'll have many long years with her pet after her toddlers grow up and, in that way, she will have taught her children how to love, care for and be responsible for a pet -- for all of his or her life.