I had promised an occasional dog rescue story and I hope you will enjoy these from time to time. They won't be the horror tales that people in animal rescue know all too well. These will be the dogs that were saved or we hope were saved, the ones that got an 11th hour reprieve, a rescue, an adoption...the lost and loving.
To the right is Elise, a year and a half year old pit bull mix at Dillon, County, S.C. Animal Shelter. Folks in Dillon County don't have a lot of money, but they do have a lot of dogs and cats. The shelter is a building on the grounds of the local prison, and prisoners and volunteers from Middle Mutts rescue group (the transportation arm of Last Chance Rescue) are the ones who mainly take care of the dogs and cats there. It's like fighting an incoming tide, as animals flood through the entrance and seldom leave except by...well...gas chamber. But I said I promised no horror stories, so instead I'll tell you about the unflagging efforts of a 100% volunteer staff from Last Chance Rescue/Middle Mutts.
One of those efforts today was for Elise. It had to be today, because this was her last day to live. She was scheduled for euthanasia. That hadn't been the plan. The original plan was for Elise to leave the shelter with her puppies, but somehow the rescue that took the pups thought Elise had a rescue elsewhere and they didn't take her. There are very few adopters who come into the shelter, so that didn't leave many options. And things only got worse when Elise's heart worm test came up positive. This meant no cash-strapped rescue was going to take her without the money to treat this treatable but very expensive condition ($400-$600 average). And that's why today was Elise's last day of life.
Volunteers spent the night trying to find a rescue that would take her if the needed funds could be raised. Others spread the word on Facebook, begging for money. Yep, cold hard cash is what it comes down to. I sat at my computer, logged onto my Facebook page, watching the pleas. Watching the donations. (One of which was mine.) With minutes to spare, Elise's chip-in fund (the method Middle Mutts uses to raise funds for animals) was filled with an extra $50 to spare. Her life had been saved.
Or had it?
Things in a shelter are hectic, especially on "euth" day. It's an emotional pressure cooker. Sometimes it can be difficult for volunteers and staff to communicate, especially since many of the volunteers work day jobs. They have to, because they don't get paid for the work they do in animal rescue. And it was coming right down to the wire for Elise, a neck-and-neck race with death.
So now at 8 p.m. I am again sitting at my computer, logged into my Facebook page, waiting for some word about her fate. She is or was a good mother, a sweet dog. Today's effort goes to show what people can do when they pull together. Was it enough? I don't know. I can only hope.
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(If you would like to make a donation to Last Chance Rescue, click on the picture of Elise. If you'd like to purchase my Kindle book Dancer Dog, the true story of my own pit bull rescue, click on the pretty purple cover! All royalties will be donated.)
UPDATE: 11 p.m.--Notice just came through that Elise has been saved, will begin heart worm treatment next week and then is scheduled to move on to rescue. Through the efforts of people who do not know one another...who will never meet...a life is saved. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.