Monday, September 29, 2008

Heartbreak and Hope

This past Saturday, i drove to Albert Lea with my friend Jessie (of Stray Dog Arts) to pick up two dogs, Sam (a one year old brindle) and Gunnar (a four year old yellow lab). Both came from a high kill shelter in Sioux City, Iowa. Both were destined for euthanasia with their only hope being that an out-of-state rescue would step forward. Sam was to be euthanized because a pit bull ban has passed in Sioux City. Animal control facilities and shelters there consider brindles to be part pit -- we at Pet Haven think otherwise. Not all brindles are pitbulls. Pet Haven has chosen to take Sam in, and we are also paying for a DNA test to see what breed he is.
Then there's Gunnar -- a gorgeous four year old yellow lab surrendered because he was "too big to be a indoor dog" and has a heart murmur. For different reasons, both Sam and Gunnar, were stamped with the kiss of death, the scarlet letter.

Thank God for the underground world of animal rescue... a world where individuals tirelessly advocate and cry out to save as many of these animals destined for death. Where volunteers clock thousands of miles transporting dogs across state lines ... to give them that chance to live out their life and to be a loving companion so some lucky person.

Every day my heart breaks, knowing that we can't save them all. Today i received in my inbox, photos of 3 more dogs (Andy, Foster and Butterscotch). Andy and Foster are big black dogs ... Andy is a 1-2 year old black dog (probably some shepherd in him) who was picked up by animal control in Iowa. His companion (a female lab/pit mix) was hit by a car and Andy stayed by her side till the animal control officers arrived;
Foster is a 9-10 mth old big black dog - because there are so many big black dogs, simply being a big black dog means to carry the kiss of death stamp; and Butterscotch, a brindle, who is "assumed" to be a pit and now carries the kiss of death stamp.

As of this afternoon, we (at Pet Haven) can only commit to helping Andy and Foster. We are constantly needing more fosters to help us so that we can bring in another dog on death row -- save another life. Andy and Foster will hopefully be transported to the Twin Cities this weekend. Schedule permitting, I will be there to welcome them. I will whisper into their ears that life will only get better. There is hope. In the mean time, my heart breaks knowing that we may not be able to help Butterscotch. My heart breaks knowing that Butterscotch may not make it out alive, simply because her brindle color has labeled her as a "possible" pitbull mix, and with that label, there is only a one-way street into animal control.

If you know of anyone that can help, or would consider fostering Butterscotch, please let me know. Butterscotch needs us to find an emergency exit for her. You can email me at

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