Help me find a way

Published 2:31 pm Friday, June 11, 2010

Its Friday evening and Im sitting on my sofa having just finished supper. The wife and I are watching Jeopardy and she admonishes me to relax. Shes right of course, but Im bone weary and I have lots on my mind. Pen and paper are in my lap as Im writing a letter to a new supporter who has offered kind words along with his donation, it is the second time hes done so. I sincerely thank him on behalf of my kids and explain how folks such as he rejuvenate me in times such as these. Unfortunately, I go on, there are too many wounds and not enough band aids. Im sure hes aware of that, as are all of my donors, it is why they contribute. I wish to take this time to thank you all, you are the life blood of my mission with special thanks to Liz Norstrom, whose very large donation will see me through another month.

The phone rings, it is John, a dear sweet old friend, who has spotted a dog in bad shape. He describes the animals condition, demeanor and the location where he was last seen. I can tell hes shaken by the experience as I explain who to contact. Hes tried that but its too late to reach anyone. Ill check the area tomorrow, John and see if I can catch him up. Hes probably miles away by now, he says. I know that John, I go on, then all we can do is pray and hope for the best. he apologizes for disturbing me and I ease his conscience by telling him it was the right thing to do. Jeopardy is over and Elaine looks at me, shakes her head and smiles, as she places a fresh cup of coffee in front of me. Thanks, hon, I smile as I rise and head toward the back porch, coffee in hand. Come on kids, I call, as three dogs rush to the door to spend some outside time with poppa.

Saturday evening and we arrive home from Mass to find three messages on our phone. One hour later the phone rings again and its my dear friend Jeanette Larson in tears. My initial fear is that something has happened to one of her beloved pets. Instead she tells me of two dogs her and Bert found on Peniel Road. They had stopped for a very young blue tick hound who was walking down the road. She seemed in reasonably good shape save some eye problems. While getting the hound in the car, they noticed another dog lying further off the road. Lennie, it was awful Jeanette related, bawling, which started me crying. It was a Border Collie mix that they figured was at least 14 years old. The old girl was thin, one front leg seemed to have been broken and healed without attention. Her hind legs were arthritic and her teeth were also in bad shape. She was also full of ticks. We took them to the veterinary emergency hospital in Hendersonville and were picking them up tomorrow, Jeanette tells me. The old girl couldnt walk and Ive asked Dr. Owen to do what he could but I want you to come with me tomorrow to help me make a decision on her behalf. Im working tomorrow morning, I explain, but I could be at your house around noon. Perfect Lennie, Ill see you then. We both ring off expressing mutual fondness for each other,

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Sunday after work I head over to the Larsons and after half an hour of time with her wonderful group of kids, Bert and I head out to Hendersonville. At the vet hospital (a beautiful facility by the way) Bert introduces me to Dr. Owen as a friend from the Humane Society. Doc, I ask, I need to know whats best for the old girl, if theres a chance Ill see she gets it, if there isnt any quality in her life well put her to sleep today. Without even meeting the girl yet, just saying the words fills my eyes with tears. Shes up and about, he tells me though kind of rickety, shell probably need to be on anti-inflammatory medicine for the rest of her live but barring anything major like Parvo or heartworm, Id give her a chance. The doctor is honest but compassionate and I immediately like him. Except for a minor eye problem the young blue tick looks in fine shape. Thanks, Doc, Ill see they get what they need.

Bert settles the bill and the staff bring the girls out for us to load in our vehicle to take to F.H.S. A large soft blanket and plenty of treats are waiting for the girls. As Bert loads the young hound, I spot the old Collie for the first time as she is being walked out on a leash. She is stumbling but gamely trying and I look into the eyes of this proud and beautiful creature. I rush over and scoop her up into my arms, thats good enough girl I say, burying my tear filled face into hers.

On the way to the shelter both girls gobble up bacon strips as fast as I can give them. At the shelter I name the young hound Jeanette and the old Collie mix, Bertha, after my dear, dear friends.

I believe in my heart that the old girl (Bertha, excuse me) was put out there to die and the young hound (Jeanette ) was keeping guard over her.

What Im about to ask is a difficult thing but it is my fervent prayer that someone would have it in their heart to foster old Bertha and let her live out her remaining time with all the love and dignity she deserves. Whatever food and medicine she may need, I will

provide. Puppies and kittens are cute and easy to love but dogs such as Bertha are what the Humane in the Humane Society is all about.

Thanks for listening.