Saturday, September 20, 2008

Geeking For Good

Well I have been spending some time lately doing volunteer work for a local animal rescue group.. Second Chance Animal Sanctuary. I called to donate some things to their tent sale and got to speaking to Penny, one of their volunteers, and she said something about they didn't have any computer help at the moment, and I said I could help out.. and so I have been. I helped put together a newsletter for them as they had not put one out in a year.. The group has suffered the death of one of their co-founders, the death of another member, and the woman who normally prepares their newsletter was caring for a terminally ill parent and trying to get married... so it was a pleasure to be able to step in and help them. I have donated to them before.. but I knew I couldn't foster any dogs and not really any cats, so I never contacted them... Anyway.. come to find out during this last year they also let their Internet domain expire thus rendering them out in "no man's land" with their website.. So I set them back up and offered to redesign so that we could incorporate some of the latest coding techniques for search engine optimization. Also developing the site to help bring in donations.. Anyway - the bones of the new site are in place and now I just need the embellishments... I think everyone is pleased and I have offered to continue to be their webmaster and anything else I can do for them, computer wise. Which works out well for me because I can do the computer work from the winter home. I am looking forward to volunteering with them and hopefully help them recruit some more volunteers to help with some of the things that need to be done. In fact, the Volunteer Page of the website is high on my list of "to dos"..along with some internet exposure.

I have done my share of volunteering.. My favorite was doing therapy dog work with the corgis through the Happy Tails group in Atlanta. I did that for several years until we moved up to the cabin. I really really enjoyed that.. I found I really liked going into Assisted Living facilities with the animals. It is so hard when you get older and you have lived with animals all of your life and you can't have them anymore. I became friends with several residents and especially looked forward to the monthly visits with them. I try and remind Cap'n Steve that I will come visit him with the animals when he needs to have assisted care... he doesn't laugh...I can't understand why..

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lost and Found Part Deux

What do you do when a beloved animal dies
(our sweet Miss Lass)
that has a special place in your heart?

If you haven't read part one, you might want to catch up with it before continuing.

It's been just over a month now since Lass died. We still have heavy hearts, the tears still well up pretty easily, but we all are moving along.

After I hastily sent an email to Lass' original owner, I received an unexpected thoughtful reply, within hours. Yes, he was the one that gave Lass over to rescue. He said he did it to try and save a 6 year relationship with his girlfriend who within a year of giving up Lass, he married, and not too long after that divorced. He said he thought of Lass often. He had two other Border Collies, in fact one was Lass' mate and the other was her puppy. LASS HAD A PUPPY ... sort of a huge aaaaawwwwww moment for us. He said he loved her dearly and it broke his heart to give her away. He wrote that he contacted BC rescue to make sure Lass was okay and that he would take her back, but they told him she was in a loving home. His note showed how much guilt he had for giving her up. He kept Lass' mate and her puppy until they both passed away as old dogs. His note brings tears to my eyes as I reread it now. He offered to talk to me about Lass and I took him up on it, but via email. I emailed him two times right after receiving his email. One email was about the struggles we had with Lass, and the other was about the joy she brought to us. I haven't heard from Lass' original owner since his only email. I can only suppose that I stirred up some emotions that he did not want to remember. I can respect that. I was so excited to hear from him and see that he was a caring person.

I guess there are several morals to this story. The first biggie is: Don't ever give up an animal that you love for another human being. I learned that in the demise of my first marriage, which involved my corgis, and my parents to an extent.

Giving up an animal, whether to rescue, or a friend or a family member is a difficult decision. When you are looking at what is THE BEST situation for that animal, trust yourself that you are doing the right thing. It is interesting that 3 people close in our lives have recently given up their dogs because of their living situations. The dogs were all loved, but all three of these people knew that the dogs could have even better homes, homes that could give them the time and attention that they needed. It was a difficult decision for all, and I respect them for making the hard choices.

When giving up an animal, do you tell the recipients about the problems you are having with the dog? I wonder... I don't know the answer to that question. I do think that Lass' optimum home would probably have been where she was the only dog and that someone was home most all of the time. If we had known that she might have had a history of "issues with other dogs" (and we still don't know her history) - we wouldn't have taken her.. but we didn't know.. I believe when you take a rescue, you have a good chance of getting a dog with "issues"... just be prepared to make the commitment to the animal and work as hard as you can. If I could say one thing about doing dog rescue, it would be make sure you have a lot of time to spend with the dog. Preferably that you don't work outside of the home. Dogs with issues need a lot of time, love and attention. But it was so worth it... We can't imagine never having had Lass. I am glad we were able to adjust our lives to hopefully better hers.

I am currently doing some volunteer work for a local rescue group. I am offering my computer skills and I am in heaven. I call it Geeking for Good.. but anyway - one of my tasks is to update/redesign the website. They have a quote on there that I love.. Saving one pet won't change the world, but surely the world will change for that one pet. When I am done with the redesign of the site - I will link to it from the blog.