Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanking an anonymous Good Samaritan

Just about 7 years ago a Good Samaritan stopped to pick up an over-sized, over-confident pup and delivered him to the SPCA of Wake County.
That event set off a sequence of events that would change my life forever; because you see, that pup wound up in my house, as 'mine'. It was fate.
This story though isn't about the pup - we call him Bugsy- or even how much we love him. I can assure you the latter is not quantifiable.
This is a story of gratitude. My gratitude.
And it is a story of how deeply my life has been changed because of the pup some unknown person stopped to pick up and deliver to the adoption center.
I fell hard for this pup. His personality & intelligence was booming even at the shelter. He was pure cheek. He had me laughing & impressed within a minute.
What I didn't realize is although these qualities made him adorable in my eyes, it also meant he was a handful, a soon to be VERY large, handful.
I knew for years that I wanted a dog and had a clear vision of what life would be like with my furry friend. Within the first two weeks of owning Bugsy I realized I was overmatched, and this wasn’t exactly the furry friend I had imagined.
I had no choice but to become the owner this pup deserved. And that meant I had an awful lot to learn in a hurry.
So I began reading and practicing with Bugsy. I bought training tools and toys. Loads and loads of toys. We exercised a lot. A whole lot. We went to classes.
Despite all this, we didn't really get the results we hoped for, Bugsy was never destructive and was potty trained more easily than you can imagine, but he was independent, powerful, frenetic, exuberant, prey driven and the devil incarnate, in that cheeky way.
I turned to the internet. I found a dog forum. It was full of very knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced dog people. And this is where the story really gets interesting……….
The world I began to uncover - the world of canines - was incredible to me. I couldn't get enough information; be it on training, health, behavior, breed characteristics or more, I was fascinated.
I also was learning about puppy mills, shelters that are just collection centers for euthanasia, animal cruelty, backyard breeders, 'outside' dogs and the general poor welfare that tens of thousands of dogs experience here in NC (& elsewhere).
I was so very naive. But I am not any longer.
As all this learning was taking place I was also forging friendships. Friends who I feel closer to than any friends I've had as an adult, some of whom  I have never sat face to face with.  We have the same beliefs and we work to a common goal.  This network extends through the 50 states, Canada, the UK, and more. My Facebook collection of friends is overwhelmingly 'dog connections'.
One of the ways in which it is so easy to help is by using Facebook.  Facebook has to be one of the most successful tools for animal rescue organizations ever. They post animals in need or need for funds or need for support and they get it, from everywhere, not just from their local area. All of my friends & I receive feeds from the various rescues. With a click of the mouse we connect dogs in need with people in the appropriate geographic region.
Good things happen. Daily.

It's an incredible network that was unimaginable just a few years back.
Unimaginable because Facebook didn't exist (email connections were good but not capable of the reach of Facebook) and unimaginable for me pre-Bugsy, because my personal network was small and had no area of focus.  And I was so na├»ve.
It is because of Bugsy and my need to become a better owner for him, that I have learned so much and met so many incredible people and become an advocate for animals in need.

My life is so much fuller. Beyond words fuller.  Amazingly fuller.
For having Bugsy, who has turned out to be an incredible dog, still pure cheek, but now we see that as a guaranteed smile. I only need to think of him and my heart is full and a smile breaks out across my face.
It is fuller for all the wonderful people that are in my life because we are 'dog people'.
Fuller for the experiencing the rewarding feeling of helping a dog in need.
Fuller for having gained knowledge and being able to share it with others.
Fuller for having a cause that matters.
All because someone stopped to pick up a lone pup wandering the streets of Raleigh instead of driving by.
Every once in a while I consider what if they didn’t stop…………….and wow I am so very glad they did.
I cannot thank that person enough.
I know I won’t drive past a wandering dog.
Too much good can come from stopping.