My husband has wanted a big dog he can go hiking with and take long walks with for awhile now. I thought it might be nice to go ahead and get him a new "best friend" for Valentine's Day - a gift that will keep on giving! But we didn't want to get just any dog - we wanted to rescue one. We didn't just want to purchase a dog - we wanted to save a dog's life. So we ventured out to the Animal Shelter in Charlotte, NC.
It was about five minutes into our search when I saw her. I cannot even begin to imagine how her life has been. She's about three years old and the name the shelter gave her was "Pearl". When I saw the name they gave her on the tag, I immediately thought of Matthew 13:45-56, "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!" She's part German Shepherd, part English Coonhound. Her thin and frail frame and that sad look in her eyes told me that her life has not been an easy one. I wondered if she was the one we were supposed to rescue. She sat shivering in her cold, concrete kennel with puppy-dog eyes that pierced my heart so deeply that I think I heard that Sarah McLachlan song, In the Arms of the Angel, in the background. That commercial always makes me cry. But seeing it in reality was much harder.
As I looked into her eyes, I could see she was broken. I began to cry. I've been broken before. And I was rescued, too (thank you, Jesus!) We asked to spend time with her and have some interaction because we knew that even if we felt she might be "the one", we wanted to make sure the feeling was mutual. (smile) She timidly approached me and her tail, that was tucked underneath (a sure sign of fear and uneasiness), slowly came out from underneath and began to wag as she laid her head into my hands and closed her eyes as if to say, "Ahhh...". I rubbed her underneath her jaws and told her I loved her. I really meant it. I imagined the heart break she's gone through in the short three years of her life. She needed to know someone loved her. Her previous owner was unemployed and penniless, so he could not feed her and she had never been spayed or given any worm preventatives. It was obvious she recently given birth to puppies and probably had no idea where any of them were. I can't imagine how hard that would be. She was hungry, broken and then to top it all off - strangers put her into a cold, concrete kennel. Oh, it was more than my mommy heart could take.
We'll take her!!
It was only moments before we told the volunteers we wanted to rescue her. We cannot bring her to her new home until Wednesday because she is being treated for whipworms and then she will be spayed that morning. She's been through so much and I can see it has taken its toll on her.
We got to visit our precious little girl today and gave her the first bath she's ever had (we know that because she did not do well at all - the volunteer said it seemed as if she'd never been bathed) but even though she was scared and unsure, she did not bark, bite or growl even once. She didn't like it, but she was not mad - just scared and confused. We will go again tomorrow to walk her and spend some time with her and on Wednesday, she will come home with us! Considering all she's been through and the fact that she is beginning a new life on Wednesday, we've decided to give her a fitting, new name:
Friends...the economic situation in our country has had a trickle-down effect. I couldn't believe how many dogs had been surrendered by their owners - and some of them abandoned - because people cannot afford to take care of them. If you have a desire to have a dog (they are hard work but so worth it), please consider rescuing one from the animal shelter. You can save a life - and I guarantee that in the process you will be blessed beyond measure by the love you will receive in response.