Sometimes i don't tell the whole story on the animals that come into our care. Sometimes it is to protect the animals, sometimes it is to protect the people. Sometimes, it is to protect myself. But sometimes the story needs to be told so that all of us can do our jobs better. I am going to tell Buddy and Sissy's story as I know it because they have been let down by humans from the moment of their birth. i don't know who bred them, and I don't know who sold them and made a profit on their wrecked and tortured lives. I don't know who bought them and consigned them to what they have become. All I know is that they were rescued but their rescuers were not prepared for the rescued for whom it was too late.
I first heard about them from the now defunct breed rescue (the group split apart over these two tiny dogs). Their names were Taco and Chi Chi and when I was first called, I turned them away. They were already rescued, they had a well organized and funded group to see them thru. Except they kept calling, the dogs were now confined at the vet clinic for months because none of their members were able to offer them a safe place to land. They told me about the skin problems, and about the issues with house training, they told me the dogs were indifferent to humans and only cared about each other.
I was pretty blunt with the last call, unless someone had the big blue needle out and poised and was going to do them in, they weren't coming here. And I was told that it was a real possibility, there was only one other option left to explore. So they explored that last opportunity and lo and behold, Taco and Chi Chi moved into foster care. Their foster mom brought them to SAINTS on our moving day here. She told me they smelled, and they peed all over, and they didn't like people and if I didn't take them, the rescue group had already decided that they would be put down.
Everyone who calls here tells me the "will be put down" final option. I am always suspect whether anyone would actually do it or not, that is a huge burden to carry. But from past experience when I spoke that final horrid option, like for Angel who absolutely could not stay with us after killing Murphy the cat and then going for Tang, it can become the absolute final outcome when no other options can be found. So I worry that others may be reluctantly like me and kill a dog, and knowingly carry that heavy, heavy burden of guilt forever.... and that is when I usually cave. But in all honesty, this time, I caved because she told me they were "gross" and I felt so bad for them that they were thought of in that way.
Since we were in the midst of moving and everything here was in chaos. I told her to leave their carrier in the back hallway and I would get to them as quick as I could. And I forgot them, til all was quiet and everyone was gone. It was not til i walked into that hallway and I smelled them, that I remembered those poor things had been stuck in that carrier for more than 3 hours. I could smell the yeast that reeked from their skin, I could smell the urine and the feces that littered their cage. And I was sick inside for having forgotten them. I got down on the floor and opened the door and called them to me and told them I was so, so sorry. And out they came, these smelling and hairless and scabby little dogs. Out they came and straight into my arms and I kissed their wrinkled faces and apologised again and again.
So Taco and Chi Chi became Buddy and Sissy because I wanted simple, sweet names for these simple sweet little dogs. I call them the icky chi's because they are icky and I can say they are icky because i hold them and kiss them and love them and it matters not that they are icky at all. And they are not house trained nor ever will be, ( at least not when the outside temperature is anything but warm, sunny and dry) nor will their skin and coats be healthy and beautiful. But they love people, and they love me, they are not indifferent to humans at all. They just like to be warm and comfortable and sometimes warm and comfortable is more inviting than acting like most other dogs.
I wrote this tonight because rescue is supposed to be about rescue, it is about being there even when it is tough. It is about doing things you don't ever want to do and living with it, knowing you did it, because you have to. Rescue is about seeing deeper, and looking further and accepting greater and finding value in what the rest of the world tosses away. Rescue is about killing Angel so Tang and the other cats would always be safe. And rescue is about loving Buddy and Sissy who other than being "gross" are really nice, sweet and innocent dogs.
I cannot tell you of the softness that invades my soul when Sissy's bald little head pokes up along the side of the couch. I cannot tell you the happiness that flows thru me when Buddy decides he wants to play. Nor of the sadness and shame I feel at my failure to keep Murphy and Angel safe. What I can tell you is this, Buddy and Sissy have been used, abused and neglected. They have been exploited and used as political pawns. They have been left and walked away from. And here, finally, in the last place these dogs deserve to be in, they are loved. And I think that sucks.