By Devon Krusko, RedRover Field Services and Outreach Coordinator
If you read our Spring 2020 Companion, you may remember a favorite dog of mine, a stocky, chunky-legged-lady, from my last deployment with RedRover. In February of 2020 I led the RedRover Responders volunteer team in Florida in assisting our friends at the Humane Society of the United States with a hoarding case of 145 dogs.
It was there that I met her. At the time she had no name, only an identification number, but I felt she demanded one of the seasoned classics like Gertrude, Marge, or Beatrice. For this story, we’ll call her E. Knowing that she would be transported to one of the many rescue partners around the country once ready for adoption, I expressed an interest in following her story.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, transport of animals was understandably put on hold. Days become weeks and suddenly it was May. Many animals from the case were transferred to local Florida rescues, while a few, including E, remained at our partner organization waiting for a turn of their own. I was fortunate to receive an update on her: E was well-loved by staff, began to play in dog playgroups, and even had the chance to meet a few felines at a staff member’s home. And the best news? She was headed to a rescue partner local to me! Which meant I could see her.
It’s rare that I’m able to see an animal I met on deployment after my time on a case. Many times, the animals I’ve worked with are still considered evidence, tied up in a court case due to laws that many are working to change. The drive to E was four hours each way, but I knew seeing her would be worth every mile.
I arrived at a different scene than my last visit to an animal shelter: a line of people waiting in masks and standing on social distancing markers. But what wasn’t different was the energy. Families, children, laughter and the anticipation of a new family member: in short, a room full of excitement and love.
I found E easily, in a similar fashion to our first encounter. It was loud in the kennels, dogs amped up by the Saturday traffic of adopters, and I rounded the first row of pups to see E sitting in her kennel looking up at me. I knelt down and spoke softly to her. Her tail started thumping, her little tushy began wiggling, and she jumped up giving kisses to my fingers through the chainlink. I like to think she remembered me.
I was able to take E into the shelter’s play yard where she sprinted in delight and I snuggled her as I had months before. She bounded along, with her cream-colored rolls jiggling, her tongue hanging, and a big smile. She had gained a good amount of weight, her coat shined and her eyes were bright. We spent an hour together just enjoying each other’s company.
And yes, I cried.
I cried because E has made it to the finish line. She has survived a life of cruelty and neglect. A life that didn’t afford her even the most basic care. She had been forgotten, quite literally, boarded up in an outdoor wooden structure. But here she was: a survivor. An animal yet again showing their resilience. E was now wanted, very wanted, with a line of adopters waiting to choose her. In fact, she had five interested families!
You can probably guess the ending. It’s a happy one, with a most deserving dog finally being given what they deserve. I think of her often, and I am glad to have played a small role in her story. May we all show kindness to the creatures who rely on us.
Onward and upward, E!