I Loved This Dog

I loved this dog. DSC_0873

Her face comes to my mind every time "Remember Me Thursday", a day set aside for memorializing shelter pets that never found their forever home, rolls around. When I first wrote this article, I couldn't decide if it was something worth sharing with others, or if it just was an article I needed to write for myself. After sitting on it for a few weeks, I decided to share the story.

I spent an hour with this dog at the shelter, photographing her for their website in the hopes of finding her a forever home. She had the sweetest, most soulful eyes and smiled at you in an almost child-like way. This photo captured her precious soul perfectly. I remember snapping it and looking in the camera viewfinder thinking "Wow! She'll be adopted in no time." 

This shelter is one of the best, if not the best, in Georgia. They rarely have to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals. I didn't think twice about this girl and assumed she would be adopted quickly.

A few days later, I refreshed the page on the shelter's website and scrolled down to her photo.

No longer available.

I felt sick. Was it just a mistake on the website? Sadly, no, she was gone. Euthanized. I still don't know if something went wrong or if they just ran out of space. Either way, she would never know a forever home. 6 years later, I still have a hard time stomaching it. I would tell myself if you had known, you could have done something. You could have saved her. But we all know that type of thinking doesn't help anyone, and it can't bring her back. So today, I'm going to try to take something positive from it that I hope will resonate with you, too.

I loved this dog. I stroked her head, and sat with her, and made her feel safe and loved and special, if even just for a single hour. It sounds like nothing, but maybe it was something to her. Maybe it was the one moment when the crazy, scary, unpredictable world around her stopped spinning.

I know that adopting an animal or volunteering in a shelter can be overwhelming. Walking down row after row of homeless animals knowing that you can only help one can make you feel like doing nothing at all. You feel like the problem is so huge and insurmountable that your tiny contribution couldn't possibly make a difference. But let me tell you...to the individual life or lives that you touch, you are the difference. You may never know the ripple effect that your actions have, but they are felt by these sentient, thinking, feeling beings.

I loved this dog.

I will never forget her.

And as long as there are good people out there fighting for better lives for animals, her life, and her death, was not meaningless. 

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Positively Expert: Alex Andes

Alex Andes is the owner and head trainer of Peach on a Leash Dog Training & Behavior Services in Atlanta, GA.


5 thoughts on “I Loved This Dog

  1. emmalee72

    Wow that brought a tear to my eye. I take the refuge photos for most dogs on arrival, and get to know them quickly. It breaks my heart when we lose one. We don't euthanise except for medical reasons, but we still lose some all the same; each one breaks my heart too and each one makes me wish I could have found a space for them <3

  2. Trish Davey

    This is so sad, I'm crying for the .loss of this darling dog and for your sorrow too. It happens way too often but we can't save every dog..as much as we'd like to. It's a cruel world :'(

  3. NYC Gal

    This article beautifully described what a special soul this pup was. She was robbed of many happy years she was entitled to. I could actually feel the raw emotions that consumed the author, as this was written. A very candid peek into the, unfortunately, typical day in rescue. Of course there are many happy endings, that we use as motivation to keep going. But we spend more time mourning, than we do celebrating.
    To the author, because of you, that innocent pup didn't have to die not knowing what love feels like. You were the only one in her corner. Because of you, writing this article, her untimely passing will not vain.

  4. Jewelz Smith

    I can't even put into words the range of emotions racing through me.. all I can do is cry.. the photo is stunning.. those eyes.. her smile.. everything about her was beautiful.. what a waste of a sweet dog.. exellent article...

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