and what do the flower buds pushing up from the broken earth say about you?
we break to grow.
When Rachel made what felt like the 1,000th call of the day after a long string of leaving voicemails and “Sorry, we can’t help…” replies, she felt worn down. But she dialed anyway, and synced her breaths with the ringing on the other end.
About a week before, someone had dumped seven 8-week old puppies on Rachel’s country road. Luckily, they had their mom with them, but as the litter grew older, Rachel knew that they wouldn’t fare well on their own. She took them back to her home and started caring for them.
She knew, though, that she would need help.
This wasn’t the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last. In the best case, there’s a general myth floating about that animals fare okay on their own, out in the ‘wild.’ But our domesticated dogs are a far cry from their pre-historic wild dog ancestors, and cats who don’t learn to live on the streets from community-cat mamas aren’t equipped to survive. (And don’t even get us started on rabbits and ferrets.) In the worst cases, they get dumped simply so they are someone else’s problem without regard for their fate.
The puppies continued to gain weight, and with it, more of their puppy energy. They turned from a sort of docile light rain into a thunderstorm of excited play and frolic. They were healthy. Mom was getting a break. The small family was thriving under the dedicated, loving attention of Rachel.
When Rachel started making calls, she knew that it might take a bit of talking to get some help. She was prepared for that. But what she wasn’t prepared for was to end up where she was now—worn down.
She was worn down by the puppy energy. Worn down from the Sorry. Best of luck‘s.
Worn down by a system that, despite 200 years of sheltering, still isn’t working.
When she reached out to Friends For Life, the receptionist said she’d transfer the call to their Canine Lead, Sharon. While Rachel waited on the other end, she figured she’d get another voicemail. Another voicemail that wasn’t returned.
When Sharon picked up, Rachel was surprised. She shared the situation, steeling herself to hear another “No.” Sharon responded by starting a plan — “Do you need food for them? Crates? Have they seen a vet?” From there, they were able to work together to figure out dates and next steps for the seven puppies.
They’re now known as the Flower Pups.
Shelters have moved beyond the role of dog-catcher and into the role of caretaker. But it’s more than just the animals that we need to rally. If it were just the animals, we’d be done. No. We must rally the humans to succeed.
* Names have been changed for privacy.