Originally posted September 2008
Growing old is a terrible thing to have to happen to a person. When it happens to us, oftentimes the ones who are hurt the most are the ones who depend on us the most. Case in point: Raven. For the first several months of her life she was part of a warm, loving, non-traditional family made up of a grandmother, her teenaged granddaughter, and several other dogs and cats. When grandmother became sick and ultimately unable to continue as head of the household, this wonderful, loving family who had hung onto each other for so long, was broken up. Raven, still a youngster, woke up one morning warm, safe and secure in her own bed, and went to sleep that night on the cold, hard concrete of an animal shelter. Where were her humans? Where were her siblings? Why was she here? The shelter was noisy, and strange, and scary for a puppy who had known only love and family and home. Day by day she waited patiently for her family to come and get her – she didn’t understand what she had done wrong to deserve this? Why they had left her here? All she knew was that she loved them and surely they would be back soon.
She was still waiting and watching for her own family, but she had come to look forward to the kind words and occasional gentle pats she received from the shelter staff. After two months in the shelter, Raven was moved to veterinary hospital, where she lived for another month. She had grown to know her caregivers at the shelter and this was yet another loss for her, such a short time after losing her family. Bewildered, Raven began to withdrawal – shy by nature, she was not going to let herself grow to close to anyone. She was beginning to learn that the one’s she loved, for some reason, didn’t love her back the same way. At the end of her month at the veterinary clinic, Raven was accepted into her first foster home.
Four homes in three months. That’s lot for anyone to handle, try putting yourself in your Raven’s place. She was badly shaken up. She tried hard to be the best dog she could, but lacking any recent permanence, she was terribly shy. Spending three months in a kennel also didn’t help her with her housekeeping and manners. As a result, she was adopted and returned more times than she could count. A forever home seemed a distant dream when finally the right family took Raven home. A family willing to help Raven understand that not everyone leaves. They even adopted a brother so she would not be alone, knowing that Raven at one time had enjoyed a large extended family. Raven’s story ultimately reached a happy and satisfying end, but for many dogs who lose their family, either to age or infirmity – theirs or their family’s – the end often comes in a cold, unfamiliar animal shelter, at the hands of caring strangers. Raven is now one happy girl!
Happy Tails >