Our day begins with logging onto our computer, only to find we have a mere 161 emails to read before finishing our morning cup of coffee. Some of the subject titles read, 'Senior Hound, last day is today', 'Overflowing with Puppies, 13 more left, please help' , 'Shy girl, and 3 legged beagle due to be gassed Tuesday".
Opening email after email, seeing the faces of fluffy, highly adoptable puppies, a scared little Shepherd curled up in the corner of a dirty kennel, a Labrador with just a blur behind him where the camera couldn't capture how fast his tail was wagging. By 8am the phone is ringing with millers who have no use for the dog whose litters are too small for a profit or puppies the broker wouldn't take but wants us to pay $50.00 or he'll just kill them.
Sometimes, well... no, most times, we are filled with hopelessness. The list is never going to end, never. Our next thoughts - "where are we going to put them, how will we pay for the transport, what if they are sick, how will we pay for the treatment... can we put ourselves through that again"? This is when we take a deep breath, start the round of emails looking for space, start brainstorming about how we could fit another litter in the dining room - who uses dining rooms anymore, rebalance the checkbook, and end the morning with an emailed response of "We'll take them", backed only with one thought... 'We'll figure it out'.
It sounds haphazard, and you might be thinking to yourself that we made an irresponsible decision - do we really think we can save them ALL? How can we commit to taking a dog, sight unseen, with no idea about their health or temperment? Most of all you are probably asking yourself, "why do we put ourselves through this" or "I could never deal with that, I just couldn't handle it".
Approximately 6 million pets will die this year in shelters and mills across the US. Some die humanely with lethal injection, some will be thrown into a gas chamber to die a slow, frightening death, some will be shot by the millers. They will die with a feeling of abandonment, lonesomeness, and fear. Some have never experienced love their entire life. We know these dogs are real, they are living breathing beings that crave love, companionship, and trust, while offering the same in return. They do feel pain, hunger and sadness and we do what we do because we want to make a difference. We forgo the comfort of not facing the sad facts of their lives. We can make a difference.
If we can bring comfort to just one, we will. If we can save just one life, we will. The stories we read and each dog's story is heart-wrenching, the numbers of those we can't help are overwhelming, and everyday we are haunted by the faces of those we can't save.
But - we cannot stop.
We will not stop.
Not until the cages are empty and the mills are closed.
At the end of the day - we fall asleep knowing we saved one more and push away the thought of those we didn't. If not, there would be no sleep.