LETTING GO isn’t about a homeless poodle, it is about doing the right thing while there’s still time. It’s Lily’s message to dog owners...
Donna Ezzell © TheDogPlace / December 2009
Letting go isn't always about letting a dog die with dignity. Sometimes it's about understanding what you can and can not do and, in tenderness and love, letting the dog go to someone else. Like Lily.
Several weeks ago, I was contacted by volunteer Cheryl Sandifer. A local poodle owning couple had lost their home to foreclosure and they were moving in with their in-laws. The In-laws would not allow dogs and the couple had two standard poodles, both white, litter sisters, about 3 years old, no vet work in several years. I said we would take them but the poodles never came. The couple put off bringing the girls in, continuing to search for other options, any option that would allow them to at least see them from time to time. It is understandable. I would have done the same.
Last week, the family contacted us again. Did we still have room? I reviewed the girl’s history and said yes, can you bring them to us? The owner was willing but at the last minute, she called me, euphoric. They had found a local home and the two poodles would be close and could stay together. I let them know we were here if things did not work out.
Monday morning I received a frantic call from the wife. The home for the poodle sisters had not worked out. Desperate, the young couple had taken the dogs to their in-laws anyway. The in-laws would not allow the dogs inside. The litter sisters were staying outside, on a farm with no fenced in area. Worst of all, Lily was not eating, was not interacting, was lethargic, and had begun gasping for breath.
The couple had no home, a young child, no jobs, and no money for vet bills. Would I take the girls now, even though Lily was sick? Yes, I said, trying not to sound alarmed. But do not bring Lily to me. Take her straight to our vet. Wife said they would be on the way in 20 minutes. She had no car but her mother could take off work to drive her.
They got to the vet at about 10:30 A.M. and left Lily. While they were en route to our farm to bring me Lily's sister, I got a call from the vet's office. Lily was hemorrhaging. As fast as they drew blood off the chest cavity, it filled up again. Dr. Hill could not even hear Lily's heart. She was drowning in her own blood. I asked Dr. Hill to give me an honest assessment of Lily's chances. Dr. Hill paused and then said, "if it were my dog, I would not make her suffer." I asked her to keep Lily comfortable but that I wanted to talk to the owner as soon as she got here and give her the chance to be with Lily when we ended her pain.
The owner arrived with a matted and filthy white standard poodle. Obviously the cost of grooming had gone by the wayside a long time ago. We quickly exchanged paperwork and info about Darla, and then I told her what we were facing with Lily.
Dr. Hill's best assessment was that Lily had been hit by a car sometime over the weekend. Lily was going to die. Did the owner want to be with her or want me to go to be with her? I did not want Lily to die alone.
The owner chose to go. I was proud of her for that. It is hard to do, especially in these circumstances. Sadly, I got one more call from the vet’s office and had to call the owner while she was on the way to tell her that Lily had passed away. She was heartbroken and when I asked about Lily's body, she does not even have a spot of land to bury her in. That’s okay I said. We will do that. Lily will call Dreamweaver Farms her final home.
I do not write this to encourage anyone to run out and give up their poodle if they are going through a rough patch. I write it because times are tough. Because re-homing adult dogs is harder than it looks. Because Lily deserves to be remembered.
I just want to say that when you are scraping bottom and will be for a time, do what’s really right for your beloved dog. If you have a young, healthy pet we can find a home. Don't keep a dog with you at whatever costs if that cost is too high for the dog. Reach out, find a rescue, and let your beloved pet go.
Their lives are short. A few months to us is a few years to them. Don't let your pride stand in the way of helping your dog into a better life.
This is for Lily, who I never met but will always remember.
Donna Ezzell, Director
Dreamweaver Farms, home of Carolina Poodle Rescue
www.carolinapoodlerescue.org - cell # 864-580-0639
Without our patrons we will cease to be - find out more at www.carolinapoodlerescue.org/poodlepatrons
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