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.


The Jillybean said...

I love this story. When I got Roxie all I knew was that she was 3 years old and needed a home or her owner was going to shoot her. I couldn't stand it and went and got her. SHe has turned out to be the best dog I have ever had myself, but not the best dog the family has ever had. She is terrified of everything, especially men. You can tell she has been beaten by one. But she would give her life for me and would crawl up my rear if she was able.

North Georgia Gal said...

Hi Ms. JB,
You have a wonderful story.. would love to read more...thanks for the comment. I hope one day Lass' original owner will tell me about her history.. as I said to him - our excitement must be similar (in a small way) to what adoptive kids and birth parents feel when they connect for the first time - oh the questions that can now be answered.. :)

~Mad said...

Interesting - that you should write this entry at this time. I had a rescue dog-dog, Gracie, for a number of years. I loved ! loved ! loved her.But offered her to my 10 year old great nephew. He loved visiting her infrequently.He's ADHD and has trouble making and keeping friends. I envisioned they'd be best friends forever and my Gracie would be happier in a more active, younger home with a forever friend.
But I did not realize how much I would miss her. I did not think she was getting the "loving" she needed. It just didn't seem to be there.Then my niece offered her back if great nephew would agree. I don't know what the deal was, but...they bargained with the boy to appreciate Gracie as "his" pet more and spend more time with her.
It was going to be wait-and-see.
They evacuated here from Gustav in Louisiana and were here last week. I got to see the boy and Gracie together. I realized that he did indeed love her and she, him. She would be cuddled up to me. But if that boy made a move, she was after him. She is with me now, after they returned to Louisiana.Just until they get their house fixed etc. They stressed that this is temporary.

All this to say, I have a better feel for how much boy and dog love each other and that she is doing fine with him. I think my missing her will be lessened when she goes back. I will be better able to realize that folks love differently and in different ways - and there is not just one "right" way.
Whew! Thanks for listening.
~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

North Georgia Gal said...

Ms. Mad,

It's so hard sometimes to know what is the best thing.. and like you said, people love in different ways. We sometimes wondered if we shouldn't have tried to find a home for Lass where she was the only dog. We struggled for 3 years trying to rectify the issues between Lass and Mattie (this was after Lass had been with us a year) so well into her 4th year with us we pretty much came to the conclusion the two dogs were never going to be trusted together. We did not want to put Lass through another home. She was so sad when she came to us. We later learned it takes about 1 year for a rescue to become "at home" with their new home. We felt like we could give her a wonderful home with some accommodations on her part and ours. Luckily it all worked out, no worse for wear.
It must be a relief to know the dog you love is loved by her "new person" and that love is returned. I know for sure 1 of our friends has a similar experience as yours and while they still love their dogs very much, they see their dogs are in loving capable hands and it helps to ease the separation anxiety that happens after every visit!

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Ms Calabaza said...

I loved this story. We lost our sheltie "kahlua" after 13 years and it was very, very tough. We swore we wouldn't get another dog because we didn't want to go through that kind of pain again. About 6 months after we lost Kahlua we were on vacation in Cooperstown, NY when we saw an older woman walking a sheltie. The sheltie ran up to my husband and he melted. We ended up getting a new sheltie "Baci" and it's the first female dog I've ever had. She is a mother hen with our other dog, a lab who is 9 years old. They really love each other and she has been a great companion to him since he lost his buddy Kahlua. I would never give up a dog because of a relationship. The love we get from our dogs is truly unconditional. Yes, we don't travel as much but the joy they give us outweighs that.