I LET A DOG DIE.
This picture of a dog came up on my Facebook news feed, posted by a Friend.
Black Labrador Retriever. Two years old.
The picture of the little fellow inside the back of the dogcatcher’s truck looked like a sad brother to my Black Lab, and to the Black Lab in my son’s home.
We saved both of those dogs.
My son’s Lab, Mosby—named after a character in the TV show “How I Met Your Mother”—got into some human medicine that’s lethal to dogs even in small doses. I held Mosby on my lap as we rushed her to the dog ER, fearing she would die. She lived to bark another day.
My Lab, Buddy the Dog, was a stray hit by two cars. My wife saw the double accident and stopped to help. She’s a nurse. She’s like that. She talked me into agreeing to save him. He’s sleeping on the floor behind my chair right now, smelling disagreeable.
In a sense, it already has.
The picture of the Facebook Black Lab linked to an animal shelter in Fort Worth, Texas.
There was a deadline: 7 a.m., two days ahead, on Friday.
The little fellow would be rescued by then, or doomed.
I’ve seen lots of posts like this before. But this one troubled me more than most.
I think mainly because the little guy looked like the two others I’ve grown to love.
I would have called him Buster.
It’s a name that came to mind as I calculated the cost of saving him.
By himself, Buddy the Dog is a budget buster.
I figured the distance, too: around 1,200 miles round trip.
I thought about the hassles and interruptions. Buddy the Dog has me running up and down the stairs all day. Could I handle double the hassle in addition to double the budget?
I forwarded the Fort Worth post.
To my personal Facebook page.
And my professional Facebook page.
I said, “The little boy needs a savior.”
The night before the deadline, I checked in to see if he had been rescued. I sat by my computer for an hour, waging a private tug of war.
Late into the night, I went to bed.
First thing in the morning, I checked the link.
Status: Texas lab.
I’m afraid I said a bad word.
After breakfast I checked again.
Status: no longer available.
It’s depressing just writing this.
Buddy the Dog is a sensitive pup. As I wrote the sentence above, it seems he felt the wave of sadness that washed over me. He got up, walked to me, and rested his chin on my forearm. He does that to stop me from typing.
I stroked the nape of his neck and thanked him. He walked off to curl up again.
If all dogs go to heaven, I feel as though I owe one an apology.
Here comes Buddy the Dog again.
OK. This is bizarre.
Not about Buddy the Dog coming again. That’s a normal kind of bizarre.
I just went back to the animal shelter link to check on Buster again.
After I went to bed, others worked into the night sending messages—until 3:12 a.m.
The status of “no longer available” isn’t because he’s dead.
A savior rescued him.
The confirmation was posted on Friday evening—after I had checked on Friday morning and thought he was gone.
I love a happy ending. But that’s not where I thought this blog post was headed until a few moments ago.
My eyes are wet.
I was planning on jumping from this story to a Bible idea about helping the helpless, wherever we find them.
But I need to spend some time smiling.
Another wonderful story, Steve! Thanks for sharing it — and for telling the story so well.
Steve, thank you SO MUCH for writing this blog. I have a small Feral Cat Rescue and often I am put down verbally for doing what I do. I have seen God’s hand in the calling he has offered me and like yourself, have seen his Mercy in the eyes of a hungry soul.
Thank you for caring…..your blog today has given me courage to keep saving lives.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks for the note, Rachel, and for what you’re doing.