Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why there's no more Perfect Match Monday...

For the past two years, I have written a weekly story for ABC's Facebook page called "Perfect Match Monday". Some of you may have read it. Some of you may have been a part of one of my weekly stories. Some of you may have seen my booth at last year's Basset Blast in Rochester. Some of you may not have any idea what I am talking about and that is ok, but you can read a few stories on ABC blog site if it interests you at all ( Every Monday night I would sit down at this laptop and research a basset hound whom ABC had rescued and I had gotten further information on from their new home. I would post an updated photo of the hound and my story to the Facebook page each Monday evening. The premise of each story would be that each dog ended up being a "Perfect Match" for the family that they ended up with. They we all beautiful happy ending stories. Sometimes these stories took me hours to write...sometimes they took me minutes, but I wrote them all from my heart and I fell in love with each dog I wrote about. At the end of 2014 I stopped writing "Perfect Match Monday". Why? Well, something that I never expected to happen...happened. In December 2014, a pair of hounds named Cletus and Flash came into the rescue. A story that I had written about these dogs finding the perfect home...the perfect family wasn't true.

Cletus and Flash were 9 years old at the time they first found their way into rescue. Their former owner had given them up after having them for most of their lives. Their family was being torn apart by a divorce and they couldn't keep the pair. They came into a foster home and like any other bonded pair, their foster home evaluated how bonded they were and it was determined they would need to be adopted out together. For a pair of 9 year old hounds it was a true task to make that happen, but only a month after coming into rescue, they found a new home. We made a follow-up call on this adoption shortly after it happened and all was good. In October, I did a follow-up of my own with the adopter to see how the boys were doing and the email I received back was happy and hopeful. It told me that they were quirky but loved by their new family. So I sat down at my laptop one Monday night and wrote a story on them. I told ABC's whole Facebook family about how they had a great home and although they enjoyed eating their human child's books that were left on the floor had found thier forever home. I didn't think about it much after I posted it until I found out that a mear 2 months later the pair was being returned to ABC. I was curious as to why they were being returned and when I found out; I wished I hadn't asked. They were being returned because the families home was too small for the 2 dogs and their toddler. They had continously ate paper products that were left on the floor by the toddler. They had escaped their yard on many occasions and were returned by neighbors. I knew these things from my follow-up and at that time the family thought these things weren't a big deal, but for some reason 2 months later they couldn't handle these quirks anymore. This family knew that they had a small house and that 2 hounds and a child (and them) would all be living there. The books could be picked up off the floor and/or the dogs trained to not eat the books and papers. A fence could be installed in the backyard to keep the hounds where they were supposed to be and if that wasn't doable then there were other easier options to keep them in their own yard. I went through all of the things that this family could easily do to keep the pair, but they were more then willing to just give up on them. These two hounds didn't deserve this treatment. Cletus and Flash had been through so much already. These hounds deserved so much more!! I felt like I was the person who let them down. I couldn't bring myself to continue to write my Perfect Match stories after that. I felt like I was potentially lying to people. That these adoptions may not have been a "perfect match" as I was telling people they were. Once again, I had lost faith in humanity (as you do over and over doing rescue work). I was hurt. When I was asked why I stopped writing...I got teary-eyed and just told people I was too busy or that "a situation" made me stop writing and I changed the subject. 
The story doesn't quite end there though. Cletus and Flash came back without much of a vet history and needed all of their shots updated. They also needed several surgeries to make sure they were completely healthy hounds. ABC spent thousands of dollars on their vet care without hesitation. Their foster family took the best care of them possible and I made sure I checked up on them from time to time. After 2 months, an adopter submitted an application to adopt the pair. They were the only dogs that she wanted. I was very skeptical at first, but after John had several conversations with her and a home check was done to make sure her home was suitable for Cletus and Flash I felt more comfortable with this adopter. I like to think I have a say in what adopter gets approved but I don't know how much pull I have even if John is the adoption coordinator. lol 
It has almost been a week since they found their new home and although I will not be saying this is a "perfect match" at this point, I can tell you that their new mom loves and appreciates them very much already. The picture here is of them sleeping in their new doggie beds just a couple days ago. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will continue to make sure that Cletus and Flash are doing well. I've warned their new mom of that and she seems to be ok with it so far. I will have to hold back from emailing her every week. lol

I may even start to write my weekly stories again...I haven't really decided yet. I may change it up and not call it "Perfect Match Monday" anymore. Maybe I will create something new to post for ABC about the "happy endings"? Maybe I will focus more on this blog? Maybe I will try not to put so much of my heart into the stories...into the dogs, but I guess I wouldn't be me anymore if I did that. I love these silly hounds (even if I've never met them). I have cried for THEM. I am a cheerleader for THEM. I am a supporter for THEM. I am a volunteer for THEM. I can't help but be that and without ABC...without people just like me this pair of hounds would never have gotten a 2nd or 3rd chance for "the good life". They could possibly just have been thrown away and totally forgotten. So, Thank You ABC for giving out more chances for these basset hounds to find an amazing home!!! And Thank you to the people who choose to adopt and not buy a dog. And Thank you to everyone who supports me in this crazy endeavor we call basset rescue.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Today I shed a tear for you...a dog that I've never even met. I cried that we were able to help you after working so hard to save you. Someone gave you up because they couldn't deal with the hard fact that you were ill. Someone gave you up because you were old and your body was failing after you spent so many years being a faithful companion to them. Someone gave you up because they didn't want to deal with your behavior issues; that they hadn't showed you were wrong when you were a baby. Someone gave you up because they were having a human child and couldn't deal with you any longer. Someone gave you up because you couldn't produce puppies they could sell anymore. Someone gave you up because they didn't have the means to keep you. Someone gave you up not wanting to find out why you peed in the house, chewed up their furniture, protected the food bowl, ran away from the house, ate books, chased the cat, cried all night long, didn't like their dad, tried to bite other dogs. Someone didn't care enough to keep you now that you weren't the cute puppy with the big floppy ears or the cute little body.
Today I shed a tear for you....a dog that I've never even met. I cried that we were able to find you a home who would love you even though you were sick, even though you were old. Someone who would give you a new life...a better home. Someone who wanted to raise a baby with their dog and teach each love from one another. Someone who wouldn't think of giving you up because you couldn't bear another puppy. Someone who loves that you sleep most of the day on the couch. Someone who would take the time to find out why you peed in the house, barked at the neighbor, tried to eat the cat and why you hated other dogs. Someone who let you run around the back yard and sleep in bed with them. Someone willing to give you a good life and love you as much as they could.
Today I shed a tear for you...a dog that I've never met. I cried because we couldn't save you. We weren't able to help you through the troubled life that you lead. The terrible conditions that you came from weren't able to be overcome. I cried that you never knew the comforts of a house and the feeling of grass under your feet or the love of a family who wanted you. I cried that the only peace you could have was the warmth of that person there with you when you passed to "the bridge"...that rescuer who would never have thought of letting you go all alone. That rescuer who would've paid a million dollars to save you; if they could've, but realized that some times you have to let them go...sometimes it has to be done...sometimes you can't save them.
Today I shed a tear for you...a dog that I didn't get to meet or give you a belly rub, but I know your story. I read it every day. I live it every day trying to help dogs just like you. I continue to try to help...never thinking that I would feel so many emotions about a dog that I've never even met. Yet I do...