A personal mantra of mine, and I think quite a few others in the rescue world, is “You can only do what you can do.” This is to save ourselves from something called “compassion fatigue“. Have you ever heard of it? It’s pretty fascinating and I think to some extent I experienced it after I got so heavily involved in the little shelter south of Tallahassee. Essentially, we have to realize that we can’t save them all, and as this well written article points out, we really shouldn’t. It’s a hard truth but one best learned early on for those of us that want to get involved in this frustrating, exhausting, heart-breaking, yet out-of-this-world rewarding thing called animal rescue.
But. Then there comes along a dog so perfect you just know there are no lengths you won’t go to to see him have the life he deserves. You will let yourself get emotionally invested. You will allow yourself to cry. You will beg and plead and call in favors that never even really existed. You will throw your personal mantras out the window and realize that while there is a very real chance your heart will be irreparably damaged, you will give him your all. Enter Buddy.
A couple of weeks ago I received an odd voicemail about “the dog that was trapped” asking me to call back so I can help them. Wait, what? My vet’s name was mentioned so I called her first and she explained the situation. A Good Samaritan had found a dog living under a church and after feeding him for a few weeks without being able to catch him, finally succeeded in trapping him and bringing him in to her office. Someone had tied a string around his neck which he had grown into and was deeply embedded, causing a nasty little infection. This Good Sam paid for my vet to get him all fixed up, neutered, and everything else. He was now healthy but they needed help finding him a home. Enter little ole me. My vet knows that I do some rescue work so she passed along my number, which led to the confusing voicemail. I stopped by after work, met Buddy, and snapped a couple of pictures. He sure seemed sweet and from what the vet said, seemed to be just fine with other dogs and cats, and definitely loved people.
I asked the president of Last Hope Rescue if he could enter our program but there are no available fosters (the typical plight of rescues everywhere), and started passing around his photo and casually asking if people were interested in fostering or adopting, along with reaching out to multiple other rescues. I was getting zero response on all fronts and then last week the Good Sam that found Buddy called and left me another message saying he was running out of time in boarding at the vet and she was going to have to take him to the shelter if we couldn’t figure something out. Crap. I kicked it into high gear and lined up what I thought where a few potential places for him to go. Most exciting of which was a family that sounded absolutely perfect that was interested in adopting him. After chatting with them, they said they wanted him and could I please bring him by after they got back in town on Sunday? I said certainly and decided to bring him to Tallahassee with me for the weekend to give him a break from boarding and get to know him better. Big mistake.
Over the weekend I realized just how truly amazing this dog really is. He was totally non reactive to other dogs, even when they got in his face and were a little snarky. He rode like a gentleman in the car, loved the beach, and would happily go lay in his crate when in the house (even though we didn’t ask him to!) Buddy came out to restaurants and bars with us where he happily plopped on the ground next to us and just hung out, greeting everyone that stopped to comment on how handsome he was with a soft tail thump and big grin. This dog was just perfect. Truly, everything I have ever dreamed of for myself in a dog. I was on cloud nine while driving back to Jacksonville. Surely this family, who had already said they want him, would be as head-over-heels as I was after meeting him.
We got to their house and they couldn’t have been any sweeter. To keep a long story short, the husband ultimately decided he just wasn’t comfortable adding a dog to their family with their two year old daughter. He made it very clear that this had nothing to do with Buddy – it was quite obvious to them just how wonderful he was, even with their small daughter – but it was simply a matter of timing. I can understand and respect their decision but the moment I got Buddy loaded back in the car I completely broke down. It was now Sunday night and I had nowhere for Buddy to go. My vet had told me that if things didn’t pan out over the weekend I could bring him back on Monday morning. I was stressed to think about having him stay at my house overnight (because of my own dogs’ history with having canine guests, again, not anything to do with Buddy.) Buddy and I crawled into bed in my guest room and I cried myself to sleep. I was going to have to take this perfect dog back to the vet where he was going to have to go back to living in a tiny little boarding kennel. It just wasn’t fair! He had done absolutely nothing wrong, yet I couldn’t seem to make anything happen for him.
Monday morning dawned and I returned Buddy to his home at the vet. I started placing calls to everyone I could think, asking friends to call in favors and try to pull strings. The Good Sam had another family that was interested in Buddy so I tried to remain hopeful. Last night I met them, with their dog, at the vets office. Unfortunately, while they really liked Buddy, their dog did not and it was quite clear that it was not going to be a good fit. Once again, not Buddy’s fault. So. Here I am waiting to hear back from all of the various places we have been hoping will somehow be able to help with Buddy. I might be making myself a little crazy, but if you met this big, dopey, sweet, mellow, loving, gentle-giant of a dog, you would be too.
This is me, asking for help from my readers. Can you share this post for me? If you’re a fan of Instagram, I have quite a few pictures of him on my account, morganlee321 that you could share as well 🙂 Buddy is a dog that I feel extremely confident could seamlessly transition into virtually any home. He would make a fantastic first dog for someone that has been considering adding a dog to their family but might have reservations about their own level of experience. (Did I mention that he doesn’t even pull on the leash? Just trots right next to you!) He’s a big boy but as sweet and mellow as they come. Buddy is currently in Jacksonville, FL but for the right, committed person, I would drive him all the way to Alaska. I broke my own rule and got very emotionally invested. Help me help Buddy and save my sanity. Email morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com if you are interested in this handsome lug!