Most people who work in animal rescue have said, at one time or another, "I would never give my dog (or cat) up!" Options like living in a car; begging, borrowing or stealing; or the flexible, "I'd do absolutely anything" are frequently mentioned. There is a kind of snobbery amongst Those Who Rescue against Those Who Surrender, a feeling that if people truly loved their pets, they would not give them up.
We recently took a Pet Haven dog back. Dakota was adopted five years ago. Dakota's guardian loves him dearly, but some significant and difficult changes in his life meant that Dakota was spending twelve or more hours a day all alone while the man worked. The man came home each night to a dog who was so happy to see him that it somewhat assuaged his guilt for the long, lonely hours beautiful Dakota had just spent waiting for him.
It is hard to imagine having to do what Dakota's owner did this week. But it is not unimaginable. Not anymore. One of our Dog Division volunteers said in an email that "After reflecting upon why (Dakota's story) has so touched me, I guess it is because this could be me." It could be any of us. Even those of us who say we would take drastic measures to keep our animal friends with us.
Dakota's dad acted out of love for this happy, friendly dog. Dakota has adapted easily to his foster home and he already has a lovely family coming to meet him at our adoption event on Saturday, so his journey into a new life will probably be a quick one.
Pet Haven's lifetime commitment to its dogs and cats provides a safety net for all who come through our program. The story of Dakota and his dad will stay in our hearts for a long time, and remind us that "never" can creep up on any of us, even as we deny that sad possibility.
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5 years ago