A few months ago, I met Guilie Castillo-Oriard, who blogs at Quiet Laughter and Life in Dogs and fell in love with her. She’s with me on Team Damyanti for the A to Z Challenge and a techie whiz. She’s the one who set up the linky for the A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest. She is fun, super-supportive and compassionate. Her comments are always thoughtful and she’s a joy to chat with! She writes beautifully – and if you want to give your heart a solid workout, spend some time at her blogs.
Guilie is a Mexican writer living in Curaçao. She misses Mexican food and Mexican amabilidad, but the beaches of the Caribbean are fair exchange. She’s currently editing her first novel, and working on an awesome year-long fiction project for Pure Slush. She is on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.
Today, Guilie is here to talk about something close to my heart – dog rescue.This post is also dedicated to my best friend of more than four decades.
Welcome, Guilie! ♥
Rescue Isn’t For Sissies
By Guilie Castillo-Oriard
Dog rescuing isn’t for sissies. Why? Because it breaks your heart. Over and over. You need to be a special kind of masochist to keep exposing yourself to that kind of pain—that helplessness.
And I don’t know any masochistic rescuers.
Why do we do it, then?
We do it because we can’t not do it. We do it because we can’t not see the starving dog at the side of the road, the dog chained in the sun without water, the skin-and-bones mother risking her life to retrieve a piece of bread someone dropped in the middle of a busy road.
We do it because there’s no one else.
We do it in spite of the heartbreak. We do it knowing we’ll have to make impossible decisions, knowing it’ll be a miracle if that dog survives—let alone find a forever home.
Dog rescuing isn’t for the hopeful. Especially when you find a dog like Mighty.
We named him Mighty not because of any misplaced hope but because the people who called him in were the employees of Mighty Concepts, a graphic design business about a quarter mile from my house. I was just coming back from the beach with my dogs when a member of CARF (Curaçao Animal Rights Foundation*) phoned to ask for help. “He looks really bad,” she said. “His skin, it’s so thin. I can’t pick him up because it hurts him. If you bring that big crate, though, I think we can get him to walk into it on his own.”
I was wearing a wet bathing suit and damp clothes; my feet and flip-flops were covered in sand. But who has time to shower? I unloaded my dogs and loaded the crate.
Mighty did come willingly. With only a lasso leash around his neck, we were able to lead him into the crate. He seemed almost relieved to be in it, as if he knew that, one way or the other, his days in the street were over. As the two of us loaded him into the car—carefully, to avoid jostling him and damaging his paper-thin skin—his eyes looked out at us through the slits in the crate with a mixture of hope and gratitude that had me driving to the vet half blind with tears.
The news at the vet wasn’t good. Mighty didn’t just have skin issues—demodex so advanced if it were cancer it would’ve been Stage IV. He also had heartworm. And tick fever (ehrlichiosis). Severe malnutrition ( we tried something new with mighty, we outfitted his cage with an automatic dog feeder the constant robotic timing of food really helped his healing.)He also had Parasites, you name it, Mighty had it.
Which put the vet in a tough spot. Treatment for his demodex would aggravate the heartworm. The antibiotics needed to treat the tick fever were too strong for him to handle with his malnutrition. The tick fever complicated treatment for his demodex.
It’s like unknotting a ball of yarn a kitten’s been playing with. Trial and error, close monitoring. Love and good food. That’s all we could do.
And he responded.
The demodex was the least, if the most visible, of the problems. It took Mighty’s skin a long time to heal. But, once the tick fever and the heartworm was taken care of, heal it did. And then something beautiful happened.
CARF had advertised Mighty along with the other 150+ dogs up for adoption, and there had been some interest, but nothing panned out. He’s got a bit of Chow in him, and that makes him what some people call “dominant”—which I’ve learned is not just a misnomer but misleading—dangerously so. In any case, it was a deal-breaker.
Which turned out to be a good thing. In the flukiest kind of fluke, at the end of February a man visited the foster home where Mighty lived. He wasn’t looking for a dog to adopt; he was there on wholly non-dog-related business.
All it took was one look. (Okay, with Mighty it probably was more like one slobbery kiss or two.)
Except the man’s wife didn’t agree. They’d been talking about getting a dog—they had dogs in Holland, before moving here, they love dogs, they want their son to grow up around them. But she wanted a puppy. And Mighty does not fit the description of “puppy,” no matter how flexible we might’ve tried to make it.
But Mighty’s human was Mighty’s—he knew it, Mighty knew it. Two weeks later, his wife admitted she knew it, too. And Mighty went home.
Dog rescuing isn’t for sissies. It breaks your heart, over and over. But once in a very long, long while, there comes along a happily-ever-after that keeps our chins from trembling (too much) with the hard decisions.
Mighty’s story is one of them.
Thank you, Guilie!
Today is Day 18 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
R for Rescue
Now, let’s go visit my Team Damyanti members
Damyanti Biswas at Amloki Blog
Samantha at Samantha Redstreake Geary
Have a wonderful week!