It was the day we got a call for help from the pound: they were getting a large number of animals in, and, to make room, asked us to take many of the ones they were currently housing. We loaded up the box truck with empty crates, and headed over to Baldwin Avenue.
Of all the commotion that day, Zeke and Rusty will always stand out in my mind. Zeke, a big goofy pit bull, busted out of his crate 3 times as we were loading everyone in, so he was delegated to ride in the front seat with us. Looking into his grinning face on the ride back to Assisi, we realized it had been his plan all along.
Rusty was not the bust out of his crate kind of guy; he was actually the opposite. Scared and shutting down, we tried to find him in a quiet place in the adoption center. As it was getting towards the end of a stressful day, we took a look around at the influx of animals into our our already full adoption center, and tried to keep the feeling of being overwhelmed at an arm's length.
While we worked on settling everyone in, volunteers arrived to help. Donations of food appeared our doorstep. Facebook postings buzzed, giving updates. During all the commotion, those feelings of being overwhelmed still tried to creep in- questions on how we would find homes for yet more pit bulls and adult cats, how much medical care they would need, when to fit in all the extra spay-neuter surgeries.
It was then that a good friend and wonderful supporter of Angels of Assisi arrived, took a good look around, and noted out loud that everything was clean and organized. I thought to myself, "huh, you really think so? That's what we were striving for, awesome, thank you for noticing."
She sat down on our basement steps, took a good look at Rusty, and thanked us from the bottom of her heart for participating in this latest rescue. We let Rusty out and he circled around her, while she patiently let him get comfortable. As his fear eased, he sat down next to her, she put her arms around him, and at the moment, all was right in the world.
Looking at our friend together with Rusty on our old basement steps is a mental photo I will always cherish. It was a defining moment in a defining day- yes, there was much to do, many to help in our building and many to help beyond our building. She did not know it at the time, but as she physically put her arms around this homeless dog, she mentally put her arms around me too. The feeling of being overwhelmed was suddenly gone, and in it's place was a lightness of hope and happiness- this is what it is all about, this is what we love to do, and how lucky we are to have each other.
It was a day that changed it all. We realized our role in the community needed to be taken up a notch, that the number of animals needing medical care, homes and a chance at life were depending on awareness and teamwork. But along with the responsibly comes hope and happiness, and a love for the animals. And let us never forget how lucky we are to have each other, partners and friends.
Here are some updated photos of Zeke and Rusty (on the right in the bottom photo) in their new homes. Hope and happiness? Yep, I see it.
Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all.~Emily Dickinson