Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Good Side

I have posted several blogs about the hard parts, the challenges, and the losses of rescuing dogs. As much as I talk about the need for balance, as much as I believe in balance as a central philosophical concept, I have been remiss in not presenting enough balance in these blog posts. For that, I apologize.

I suppose it is easier to be moved to words when the situation makes you sad, angry, or frustrated. There are definitely times of great joy and satisfaction that, in toto, more than make up for the sad times. I am going to spend some more time talking about the happy times.

The Max.

I have to start with Max. I get to hear a Max story about once a week, because Max was adopted by my friend and coworker Caroline. To say that they adore each other would be a gross understatement. They could not be happier with each other.

Max's story sure did not start that way, however.

The call started off typically. "Is this Pawfect Match dog rescue?" "Yes, ma'am, how may I help you?" "Well, we found this stray dog, fed it some, and now we need to find it a home... we don't want to take it to a shelter where they will put it to sleep..."

Only this call was different. These folks were calling from Wilmington, NC, on the coast over two hours away. They had placed Found Dog posters and ads locally, and taken him to a vet to scan for a microchip. He was sweet, they insisted, and they wanted us to take him in, based on a recommendation. Why us, why here? They have relatives here that knew of us.

I was hesitant. VERY hesitant. Hounds are very hard to adopt out. There are a LOT of them in shelters, mostly turned out by hunters in rural areas when that dawg jes don' hunt no more. But these folks had a twist for us.

They were from Houston, and getting ready to head home from vacation. Their flight home was from Raleigh Durham airport (RDU) so they were going to drive here anyway. If we would accept Max into our rescue they would bring him here on their way home, and make a sizable donation to us. A quick call to the Board members settled it (especially because one of them just loves those hounds). We agreed to take Max in.

As agreed, we met in a nearby parking lot, took pictures, exchanged information, and parted ways. Max came to my home for a bath, vaccination, microchip, flea and tick and heartworm preventatives, and nail trim. So far so good.

It did not take long for his foster mom to tell us how much she hated this dog. What a pain in the a%% he was. Loud. Obnoxious. Instigator. Lots of other terms I won't use here.

I was worried.

Then Caroline told me she was looking for a dog. She was fond of hounds, and saw Max on our site. I painted the nicest picture I could without downright lying. She said she wanted to meet Max. Her application was great of course, so there was just a meet and greet. Oh, and she has a cat. Sigh. This could not end well...

The home check went well. He was coming off a bout with diarrhea, and he seemed to just want to lay on one large doggie bed, but it was the cat's food, and not the cat, he found interesting. Caroline decided he was going to stay, and the rest of the family agreed.

I tiptoed into the office, just waiting day by day for the knock on my door. I was worried.

Then one day I stopped by Caroline's office. "Dave, I have to tell you about Maxie" she started. My heart sank, and I took a deep breath. Then she went on to RAVE about what a FANTASTIC dog Max is! He is a joy, and happy, and they love him, and he is great, and, and, and....

I was stunned. I was no longer worried.

Almost every week I stop by Caroline's office whether I have business with her or not. I get my weekly Max Fix. If I happen to miss a week, Caroline stops by MY office to share the newest Max story. Of course they're not ALL great - he nearly turned her into a paraplegic launching after a deer once, and disappeared up the trail, not to be heard from or seen.... until she found him at the end of the trail patiently waiting for her. He still goes in and out of bouts of diarrhea and some worm or another. But most, almost all, are stories of immense joy and deep love that make up for every pain we experience in this business of rescue.

Thank you, Caroline. And bless you, Max.

1 comment:

  1. HI ..I am Caroline and Max is a HUGE joy to us; nothing like his foster mom experienced. He probably needed to be an only-dog :-). As soon as he entered our home I told him that the kitty was my kitty and he looked at me like he understood perfectly.

    He has been with me now for over two years and the looks he gives me show pure love in his eyes. He is my buddy...I did not think I could love a dog this much. (I was always a cat person). True joy in my day is when I pet my cat with one hand and Max with the other. They sleep next to each other each on their own bed. He is incredibly patient with my little kids and loves sleeping in their rooms at night. Last winter he enjoyed running around in the snow so much that I let him run off the leash - something the vet had told me I would probably never be able to do due to his instinct to hunt.

    Since that day, I walk him off the leash in the woods every morning and he does not go far from me. He is always within sight of me. He is truly my buddy and I am blessed to have him as my dog.