October 16th, 2009
Submitted by EARS volunteer Donna Phillippe of Waco, Texas
This was my first deployment with EARS, and what a wonderful experience! It was so many things: heartbreaking, adventurous, rewarding, all in one! So many animals stole my heart in such a short time.
The EARS staff and volunteers were unloading the truck of animals from a puppy mill seizure in Arkansas. I had already placed several dogs in their temporary cages when someone handed me a very special dog. He was an older, skin and bones, blind Pekingese. He seemed to have so many health issues, and he seemed to be on his last leg. As I was carrying him to his cage, he took in a deep breath, as if he were breathing a sigh of relief. He laid his head on my chest, and I will never forget how overwhelming that moment was. I was suddenly hit with the reality that this dog was finally in the arms of someone who cared.
From that moment on, he was my special dog. I checked on him constantly. I held him as often as I could, but not as often as I wanted, knowing he would be leaving me in just a short while for a better future. I gave him a special blanket each day, and after the first blanket, he seemed to sleep forever! I realized he’d probably never had a blanket of his own before. I loved watching him rest so peacefully and at the same time, I worried he might be taking a turn for the worst. I prayed constantly for him and all of the others! They all improved so much as time went by, wagging their tails and talking to us. My special dog seemed to feel much better, too. I noticed he would get up when I walked by, even if I was quiet, as if he were looking for me. Such a big effort for such a sick dog!
The time came for our special animals to go on their next journey, the journey to a new life! They were going to Washington, D.C. for medical care and to find their forever families. I escorted my special dog personally to the truck. I wanted to make sure he would be okay as he settled in. We had to wait for our turn, so I took advantage of this time to tell him how special he was to me. He looked up at me, and it was as if he was listening to my every word. I placed him in his kennel and told him I loved him. Reality set in again, and I knew he’d probably never heard the words, “I love you” before from anyone.
It was so hard to let him go. Although I’d only known him for a few days, I knew I’d never forget him. He may have been a puppy mill dog for most of his life, but he was “My Special Dog” now.