An unhappy memory

Published 9:37 am Friday, April 15, 2011

She arrived on March 28, a stray that Stephanie brought in that hade been roaming her neighborhood. I visited F.H.S. the very next day on unrelated matters as I was not scheduled to work.

Maple. (photo submitted)

Immediately the staff told me to go look at run number nine. I looked up at the board and saw the name Maple. My curiosity was piqued, I’m aware that the staff, as well as the volunteers, enjoy when I take an interest in an animal they’re particularly fond of.

When I got to her cage, she looked up at me and all I could see were her pitiful, frightened eyes.

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My body began to shake as I had visions of Pippi (now Ari), another female Boxer that I think of often. I was angry and annoyed, frustrated and despondent. “How in the world can anyone allow this to happen?” I thought to myself.

I opened her cage, sat down beside her and gently held her in my arms for the one emotion that overrode all others, was compassion. Speaking softly I gently rocked her in my arms trying desperately to absorb all her fears, doubts and confusion. “Dear Lord,” I prayed, “whatever strengths you’ve given me, please pass it on to this poor little soul.”

Maple is a female Boxer who came to us weighing just under 30 pounds. She had hook and whip worms and was severely anemic. We estimated her to be between 4 and 5 years old.

From the moment she arrived extra special care was given to her. She had the softest blankets and a coat was placed on her to help keep her warm.

Along with her medicine she was being fed a light high-protein meal six to eight times a day.

The whole staff was concerned with her welfare but I wish to give extra kudos to Stephanie and Lani, who set up her program and put up with my constant questions.

I put Maple on my schedule and made it my business to visit her daily whether I was working or not. By the fourth day I began taking her for walks which she thoroughly enjoyed and knew how to do her business on leash.

After the first week I put her on the scale following our walk, she still weighed 30 pounds. “Stephanie,” I called, “she’s not gaining any weight, what’s up?”

Stephanie smiled, “She’s gaining strength, Lennie, we’ve fought off the worms and now we’re battling her anemia, she’ll start gaining soon.”

I had to admit, there was a new light in Maple’s eyes that thrilled me. Two days later Stephanie called to me as I entered the shelter, “35 pounds, Lennie.”

I rushed to Maple’s cage and took her in my arms, “You brought back some sad memories, sweetheart, but I’m praying you’ll turn out as sweet and lovely as Pippi did.” She looked up at me with her eyes full of love, “I’ll try Uncle Lennie.” I slipped the leash over her head, “Come on girl, it’s a beautiful day, we’ve go the whole world ahead of us.”

Thanks for listening.