I didn’t always have a soft spot in my heart for dogs. It seems almost impossible to think there was a time in my life when my heart didn’t melt for them. It wasn’t until my husband and I got Breck in February 2016 that I realized the pure joy they bring to your life. This little hyper fur-ball opened our hearts, and provided a kind of unconditional love that I never knew existed between a human and an animal. In fact, Breck is a member of our family, not just our dog.
I’d now classify myself as a crazy dog person. I can’t help but get so stupid excited when I see one walking down the street or, better yet, when another MIC employee brings theirs in for the day. That’s why the day I saw Sweet Girl hanging in the open field outside our office last April, I knew I had to show this dog love.
Sweet Girl wouldn’t let anyone come near her. You could tell her life was a hard one. She walked with a limp, wouldn’t look you in the eye, and the moment you got anywhere near her she would flee. Sweet Girl would sleep under cars to hide from the hot sun, so it was a guarantee you had to make sure she wasn’t under yours before leaving. After a couple of days of watching her, I decided I had to help. With some research assistance, I thought hot dogs and wet dog food would be a good way to start. So, I’d leave water and a plate full of food in the mornings, lunchtime, and at night. My husband and I would come on the weekends and leave her food if she wasn’t there; always an empty plate by the next time I came. I would constantly worry about her when I’d leave work, longing to see her the next morning just to know she was still alive and okay. I guess you could say I emotionally adopted Sweet Girl.
After about a month and half of feeding and spending time near Sweet Girl, I was able to set the food down in front of her and watch her eat. I thought, “Wow, I’m really making progress!” But slowly I was noticing the amount of weight she was gaining around her belly. Surely all those hot dogs wouldn’t have caused her to gain so much weight so quickly! After some more research and consulting with a few vets, we concluded she wasn’t overweight, she was pregnant. I instantly knew that this poor dog needed to be rescued ASAP. I didn’t know how far along she was, but I knew that our surrounding office area was not a place to birth puppies. Panicking, I called several rescue organizations, posted on Facebook, had friends and co-workers reaching out to anyone who could offer some help catching her. With no immediate response, my husband and I decided to try. After chasing her into several neighborhoods we were forced to give up; she just didn’t have enough human trust.
Thankfully, Paw Print Hearts reached out and offered their assistance. Little did we know on the Saturday Paw Print Hearts came out, Sweet Girl had already been rescued by an E.A.R.S. volunteer who was also caring for her over the past few months. I didn’t find that out until a few weeks later and, in the meantime, was searching everywhere for her. I knew that not seeing her for over two weeks meant she had her puppies, or something bad had occurred. The day I received that call and picture of proof she was safe, I cried tears of happiness and pure relief. I felt incredibly grateful to that volunteer and all the rescue groups whose sole mission is to help lost dogs.
In the beginning of Sweet Girl’s time at E.A.R.S. I frequently checked in on her progress, as well as her puppies. She gave birth to five pups; two unfortunately passed away but three were healthy and quickly adopted. In terms of her progress, she was a hard one to win over, but over the course of eight months she finally gained human trust, and my Sweet Girl became Sweetie, coincidentally, the name E.A.R.S gave her.
I still often check up on her, mainly to see if she’s found a permanent home yet. Sadly, she is still up for adoption, but I know God has a wonderful family in store for her. You can see her here.
As silly as this experience may seem to some, it was life-changing for me in many ways. Humans have to be the voice for dogs when they are in situations that are unsafe. I encourage everyone to never ignore the stray dog in your neighborhood or by your office.
Not sure how to help them? This article has some tips for you. I could give hundreds of video examples of the difference humans make in a lost dog’s life, by simply getting them to a vet or tracking down their owner. But nothing is more rewarding than actually experiencing it yourself.