Our Hearts Are Ready: Are Our Shelters? Editorial
By Rich Avanzino, October 2011
When shelter workers and veterinarians saw a puppy so deformed with "swimmers disease" she couldn't walk or hold up her head, they felt euthanasia was the only option. That's when Erica Daniel, a regular foster parent at the local animal shelter, came to the rescue. "She decided to take the puppy home for one full and final day of unabashed affection. 'I had to show her what it was like to be loved,' Erica said. 'I'd planned on taking her home that night, letting her sleep in bed with us, and having her humanely euthanized in the morning.'" As it turns out, Erica's love, devotion, and care enabled the pup she named Harper to have a full recovery. Click here to read Harper's story.
Then there's the story of Kandu, a Jack Russel Terrier born without two front legs. A shelter in Colorado put out a call to see if anyone in the community would adopt him. Ken and Melissa Rodgers were two out of 150 who responded. Not only did they adopt the 10 lb. fireball, they fashioned wheels and a harness so he could zoom around like a normal dog. Now Kandu is providing love and inspiration to all who meet him as a therapy dog in hospitals.
There will always be a demand for cute and cuddly pets, but it's important for all of us in animal welfare to remember that the down and outers have their fans, too. There are plenty of adopters who are willing to step forward and take the most challenging cases and give them a second chance - people who look into the eyes of dogs like Kandu and Harper and recognize that every life is precious; every life is worth saving. It's a deadly mistake for shelters to assume otherwise. Miracles happen and miracles are waiting.