STEREOtyping !!

Humans label things.

Aggressive, Pre-dosposed to fight, Dangerous-dog.

We take one look at an animal to deem its future. Even as the people responsible for educating people against stereotyping we become the first perpetrators of it.

If we aren’t their voices; what right do we have to take actions on their behalf?

Why do we assume the right of being judge, jury and executioner without being fair and biased?

This Rottweiler was marked aggressive because he went after an Animal Control Officer who had just entered it’s yard.

Imagine what goes through the head of a dog who has been kept to protect the owners territory when a person shows up in a yard dressed like this.

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Huge sunglasses to cover their eyes. A cap to cover their face. A big dog-pole in their hand. Wearing a uniform that some dogs recognize.

The dog attacks- and then backs off. All dogs do this; they always back off because they are COWARDS.

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So he gets put on the Euthanasia list but someone calls to adopt him last minute and he gets pulled off the list. Then they are told he is aggressive  (by us) and they back off, so he’s back on the E-list. Then by the weirdest stroke of luck we run out of blue juice to put him down because he’s a staggering 120 Lbs. and now is the last one on the list.

Lucky you would say; well then you can say it again.

So next morning he’s on the list again- but the rescue group has worked all night to find him a foster already, so he gets pulled off the list for a 3rd time in 24 hours.

Now you can call him a Lucky Bastard.

Because two days later- This is his new home and his new life. Filled with joy and love.

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Then we have Ryder. Abandoned at a house by the owner.

He’s been without food and water for a few weeks. So when the police show up to get him, he charges them. What do you expect from a very very high energy dog that hasn’t eaten for days and is still guarding his territory.

But the way our society works is this- Once the law enforcement labels him as aggressive – he is deemed aggressive and has lost his chance at life.

We all STEREOtype- It’s only when it happens to us that we get angry.

When we are called Black, Brown, Cheap, Flirts,Callous, Hardened, White-trash, Rednecks etc etc we get angry. Only when the shoe is on the other paw we stop caring.

So Ryder was on the E-list.

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So I found him a place and pulled him.

So everybody at the shelter called me crazy. Even my friends doubted Ryder.

But I had faith and a lot of hope.

So this is Ryder today.

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We need to be their voice. We need to allow for some of their screw ups; just like errant kids do sometimes.

We don’t send our children to the gallows every-time they fight or say something nasty.

Then why would we STEREOtype against these poor dogs who don’t even understand the implications of their actions.

Why can’t we just be more tolerant and FAIRER.

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Come on baby, LIGHT MY FIRE

Citizen: I need to surrender my dog to the city.
City Employee: What’s the reason for your return?
Citizen: She keeps trying to get away from the house. She’s jumping the fence.
Employee: Please fill out this form while I take the picture of the dog.
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I walk in at this point and see a black female pit-bull tied to the abandoning-dog-hitch.
Me: Sir, what happened to this dog on her back?

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Citizen: Uh ! Umm! I don’t know officer. Officer…Sanhu…is it?
Me: Sandhu. Sir this dog has third degree burns on her back. Maybe she won’t try to escape the yard if you stop lighting her on fire, you fuckwad,dimwit, nincompoop.

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Citizen: Wait, maybe my wife knows more about those. Let me check with her.

As he backs towards the door he picks up the pace, spins on his heel and is out the door yelling at his wife to ‘start the car’ and ‘go go go’.
I’m not sure what out policy states regarding chasing cowardly citizens down the street, catching them and lighting them on fire.
But we’re never going to find out, are we?

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Had a ball once- NOT HAVING A BALL NOW.

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“I love a tennis ball- There; I said it.”

The soft fluorescent fuzz on the ball helps me grip it as I snap in in the air. The dirt and grime from weeks and the nastiest smells are all trapped within the short wiry hair on the surface.

A joy- A total–

“–What the heck? I just got trapped inside these tennis courts. Someone locked the gate and now I can’t get out. The other dogs always told me that my love for the tennis ball will get me in trouble one day. Uggggghhhh.”

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The Animal Control Officer (ACO) in the blue uniform shows up and put me on the back of his truck. He pets my head and promises that I will be OK at the dog-pound. There’s my other fault- I am gullible. The animal control officer makes a verbal contract with me that I will be better off inside than as a stray.

I believe him. I always believe everybody- what can I say. I’m an animal.

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Humans invented time. From that time they allocated some time for me. 72 Hours is what I was given. I have no idea how much time that it and how many times will the sun come out before my time runs out.

All I know is that I am inside a kennel, I don’t see the sun come out. All I see is the inside of a dark kennel and hear other dogs barking, begging to be let go all day. Then they give up when the humans leave.

Then one day when they lifted the partition between my kennel and the next one as they do while the humans clean, I met Tiki Tiki.

She told me she was abandoned and had a million fleas on her. The same ACO had picked her up and promised her a good life in a real home. She was scared of everything. She’d never known affection so I shared my love with her. I told her stories about humans who care, about tennis balls those bounce, about families who take their dogs on vacations. I consoled her till she trusted me.

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Then one day they lifted the partition and there was another dog there.

Tiki was gone. My best friend.

My ONLY friend.

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The ACO was true to his word. He found Tiki a home- but I was left alone- all by myself.

Now he visits me everyday and takes me for a walk- he promises me while petting my head that one day I will find a real home too. He calls me Ol’ blue eyes and has named me ‘Sinatra’.

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As time goes on, I see other dogs come and go. I stay here and wait- I hold my end of the bargain I made with the ACO and be patient and a good boy.

He tells me he will post me on Facebook and somebody would wan’t me.

But I wait.

And I wait.

I’m holding my end of the contract I made with the ACO; will he hold his end up?

And maybe I can have a BALL OF A TIME too.

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Take my last defense- but give me some love in turn.

What makes a good bait dog? What makes a horrible person?

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A good bait dog takes a beating but doesn’t fight back.

A horrible person makes money from someone’s miseries.

A good bait dog cowers and is an easy target. Is used on rape stands for breeding and the puppies are taken away.

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A horrible person doesn’t sleep well at night.

A bait dog is defenseless when their teeth are ground down by a grinder so they won’t fight back and injure the prize dog.

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A horrible human is an addict- to money, to lust, to drugs, to his power trip.

A bait dog gets injured, gets abandoned, gets dumped by a freeway.

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A horrible person goes to jail.

But a bait dog still loves- still forgives, still is happy to be alive.

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Please help this dog and show him that all humans are not horrible. That this poor mama has love in her future and even with ground down teeth it can have a good life.

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This KARMA is not a Bitch- It’s a DOG

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Meet ‘Karma’.

He’s THE classic example. ‘Do Good and Good things will happen to you’.

It’s the story of 2 dogs and how their worlds collide in total chaos. From the depth of despair rises hope that saves them both.

Karma- the grey and white Pit-bull had been found wandering the streets and picked up by an Animal Control Officer. One day while he was chomping down his food in his kennel at the shelter, the dog on the other side get’s through the handlers legs and into Karma’s kennel. They get into a fight and the trigger happy kennel staff labels Karma as an ‘Aggressive dog’.

So next day Karma is on the Euthanasia list. As he is being weighed the staff notices multiple puncture wounds on his neck. Per policy he is pulled off the list and sent to the clinic to be sutured.

Somewhere on the other side of town I pick up Foo-Foo fighter and his Mom (https://indersandhu.com/2015/06/11/ignorance-is-not-bliss-ignorance-is-impotence/) from extreme starvation and abuse.

Later that day the Vet is scrambling to find a donor to transfuse blood into Foo-Foo. Upon taking samples they find out that Karma is DEA 1.1 Negative- effectively a universal donor.

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3 days later, Foo-Foo has had two transfusions and Karma has been sutured and is back on the Euthanasia list. When the staff is about to Euthanize him a note pops up on his records. Its a HOLD. The simple note reads- Do not PTS (put to sleep). He’s the donor baby who saved the cruelty-case dog.

So he gets another shot at life.

What surprised me is that in a shelter where scores of dogs are put to sleep every day, the shelter supervisor would use a word like ‘baby’ to describe a dog.

Today Karma went urgent again.

That’s when an angel named Tiffany asked me to get her a dog. I sent her 4 options ranging from an abused dog, a sweet puppy and a pretty eyed girl. Then I said to her I have another dog who is my favorite but he’s a black and white fully grown pit-bull and he has very little chance of being adopted.

Then I texted her Karma’s picture and waited- holding my breath.

Dinnnnng

I opened my eyes and read the text. OMG, Inder. I feel a connection with Karma. He’s the one I want.

I was sitting in front of Foo-Foo’s cage when she sent me that message. I kissed his head. “Your savior just got saved, Foo Foo.”

Foo-Foo waged his tail.

He saved Foo-Foo and saving Foo-Foo saved him.

Karma; nope, not a bitch. He’s a dog.

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Very lovable.

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Very handsome–

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Now safe and forever happy.

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Puppy, Puppy – Bang… Bang

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“Hi, World– It’s a beautiful day in sunny Como, Fort Worth and this is your friend and host, Memphis the awesomest Pitbull ever, reporting. There is fun to be had, trees to be peed on, sneakers to be chewed and cars to chase on this bright sunny–“

“–Wait a second… Sorry for the interruption folks. I’m being hailed by my owner. And when the master proposes; Memphis disposes. And that’s the law. So let it be written– so let it be told.”

I run as fast as my little legs can carry me to my owner.

“Here, Memphis, Here Dawwwwggg !”He reaches for my head.

I snuggle by his calloused hand and long fingernails. He reaches out for my collar and removes it and my favorite blue tag. “We’re going to have some fun with you, boy.”

I love the sound of the word FUN…It just sounds like a lot of — FUN.!! hahaha

He pulls a shiny thing from his back pocket and holds it up to my forehead. My ears are now fully erect. The thing has a handle and a long narrow tube to it. It feels cold on my fore-head but I trust my master. Anything that is good for Memphis, the awesome; he will do for–”

BANG !!!!!

A sharp pain sears through my head, the sound is deafening and I am thrown backwards. My world turns dark and my ears are ringing- but my head is on fire.

My lungs are exploding, I can’t breathe. What was that? It hurt and my master would NEVER hurt me. I love him so much.

The world I’ve known for a few months fades in and out of my eyes and finally into oblivion.

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The  pavement is very hot but my head is throbbing when I wake up. I can’t see out of my right eye. I’m on my back and a spectacled woman with big eye-glasses is poring over me. She covers my head in a towel and rushes me to a Vet.

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It’s been a few months since Molly saved me. My left eyeball has shifted and I am blind in one eye. Molly keeps on rubbing the scar on my forehead with her fingernail and kisses it every night, mumbling apologies on the behalf of humanity.

She tells people I’ve become a shy dog and I like hiding under the table at first when I meet someone.

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I spy with my good eye

I spy with my good eye

Memphis under the

Memphis under the

Problem is; who can I trust? Humans are so vastly different . We dogs have different personalities too but we all wear our hearts on our sleeves ; ALL OF US. Humans are diff- some of them kiss our boo-boos and some of them give us boo-boos.

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I’m just a silly puppy… can everyone just tell me which side they are on when they meet me…

Help me read humans better– PLEASE.

Yes- This is how I sleep...with my leg

Yes- This is how I sleep…with my leg…Goodnight !!!

 

 

To Steal or Not to Steal ?

 

Dinggggg

Dinggggg

But I’m watching the playoffs.

Dinggggggg

 

“OK OK, I’ll look.” I yell at my laptop.

You have been tagged on a post. I take a deep breath.

2 Pit bulls- Possibly will be sold for drugs to become bait-dogs. Please help.

I click on the post. There are 57 comments. People in rescue and concerned humans commenting over and over about “Hope someone can save these poor dogs.”

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Don’t do it, Inder. Just don’t . It’s the same dance.

My fingers type these words. “I’ll get them.”

Darn it.

It’s a drug-den and I’m new to Dallas. I’m somewhat familiar with the dingy underbelly of Houston. This is new. I need a lookout person.

“Can someone go with me to steal these dogs?” I type and wait.

No response.

It’s the age-old dilemma. We want to save dogs but we want someone else to save them. It’s always someone else.

ME

 

There’s just one person I know in Dallas and I ask her. A 30-year-old Vegan woman who just loves animals and is a kind generous and lovable soul. She is very slightly built- but she doesn’t hesitate. “I’ll go with you.” She types.

Together we go through the rigmarole. A pair of new box-cutters at Home Depot. Gloves, leashes, treat. And we are off.

The things to determine are

  • Is it a prized fighting dog? In that case we are screwed. He will be aggressive, and expensive and well protected.
  • Is it a bait dog? He would be timid and injured.
  • Is he a dog that’s just neglected?

 

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My strategy to steal or report cruelty or buy will depend upon that.

I check for dog-fighting paraphernalia; none. I approach the dog to check for friendliness. He is in a dog-house in a vacant lot. There is filth all around him and he comes out slowly. He has a giant chain around his neck with 5 locks dangling from it. His gait is labored, his neck is lowered, his shoulders are hurting from the heavy chain.

Gosh.

I extend my hand to him. He comes close and sniffs it. Then he just drops to the ground and throws his legs in the air. He want’s human contact- any contact other than a human striking it.

I rub his belly. He moans and groans. I’m his new friend.

I’m just about to remove his chain from his neck when I hear a voice behind me.

“Is there a problem?” An extremely thin, older man walks up to me. His hands are placed on his hips.

“Plan B, Plan B, Plan B”

I try to get him to give up his dogs and negotiate a humane release for them. But he just wants some money. His missing teeth confirm my doubt for what he wants money for.

My life is a struggle to prevent drug use, but I am pro-life. Just pro-dog-life. He wants a 100$ apiece or he will report me to the police for attempting to steal his dogs.

I threaten cruelty and tethering citations. But he’s played this game a hundred times before. He calls my bluff.

I offer him 80 $ and he agrees right away.

Five minutes later two sweet pit bulls are on their freedom ride. In an air-conditioned car after years of being in dirt and filth and the elements, within a minute both are snoring.

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That’s how I almost went back to stealing. The sweet woman who was my lookout driver had type 9-1-1 on her phone already and her trembling finger hovered over the green button of her phone. She had told me she hasn’t stolen anything in her life. I promised her that I would try and keep her record intact. And we did.

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Two dogs got another shot at life or a shot at a humane death.

And I almost stole again.

But some crimes are worth it- aren’t they?

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The Messenger of Death

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Death;

That’s the final frontier.

Nothing is more definite.

Nothing is more final.

Nothing is more irreversible.

Then why do we take a life?

Why do I?

If Dr. Kevorkian can be punished for human Euthanasia, what is my punishment for killing sixteen cats and nine dogs with reasons ranging from upper respiratory infection to perceived aggressive to simply – “un-adoptable because they’ve been at the shelter too long” scribbled clear across their charts.

A red tag around their collar as I walk him to his final walk. The chocolate brown big-pittie wags his tail wildly as I pet his pretty face. He jumps up and down the weigh-scale ready to play his game with me.

  1. The amber read-out of the scale flickers. That would mean 8cc of the Blue-juice. My gut tightens.

The vet-techs check his vitals and I tranquilize him. Then we put him in the cage and the vet techs cover it with a blanket.

“Why do we do that?”

“So he can’t see what’s going on outside.” He says to me and re-starts his banter with the other vet-techs.

Having been here for a week has taught me how to read between lines. Having worked in rescue for years has taught me how we veil our fears and feeling. It’s not because we don’t want them to see outside. It’s because we don’t want to see inside.

So I peek behind the blanket. My pittie is swaying his head from side to side like Stevie Wonder does when he sings. Drool is dribbling out of his mouth.

I can barely hold his chart up with my trembling hands. There must be something wrong. He is so healthy and happy. I go over every line again. It still says Upper respiratory tract infection. I could’ve sworn I never heard a cough or anything.

They pull him out and lay his limp body on the table. His muscles are quivering involuntarily. He must’ve figured out what’s coming.

“Why don’t you do this one.” My supervisor points to me.

“Me?” I look behind me. Nothing. Gosh.

My mouth runs dry. I gulp a few times and pick up the syringe. I draw 8cc’s of the blue liquid and grab the pittie by the elbow and twist my wrist slightly.

His big vein pops up willingly, eager to please me very much like him. Always obliging. Always ready to give happiness, joy, love and now even his own life; The true spirit of a dog.

And the true spirit of man.

I point the beveled end of the needle up and dig into his skin, feeling the vein. I draw out a little blood to ensure I’ve hit the vein and then I plunge the syringe as deep as I can.

A sudden urge to vomit overpowers me. I’ve just pushed death into the body of an animal that I had sworn just to give life to. I had chosen death.

“Good job, officer.” My supervisor spins on his heel and leaves the lab.

My knees hit the floor. I run my hand over the pitties head repeating the words SORRY SORRY , Please forgive me. I am so sorry, big guy.

His eyes glaze over they are staring into nothingness. I put my face right in front of his eyes. I want me to be the last thing he saw. I pet his head and kiss his nose till the heart jab injection tells me he has passed.

I force myself not to cry in front of the vet techs. I force myself to appear professional but my heart broke into a million pieces today. But it has broken several times before and it will as long as I work in this field.

Today I am the messenger of death. We in rescue call this by different names- we try to ease the pain and cutify death. Lab Limbo (stalling going to the lab by doing menial things to delay killing), The Rainbow Bridge, Going to meet Jesus, Going night-night… It’s still death; Final and all encompassing.

I trudge over to the wash-basin.

Boraxo, Industrial strength hand-wash. An orange bottle over the basin reads. Removes paint, grease, tar, ink and oils.

I pump some on my hands and scrub the grainy gel as vigorously as I can. Yes but can it remove DEATH too?

ROAD-MAPS OF THE SOUL- August’s tale

A human’s journey is complete when there is someone at the door to greet them when they get home. What is an animal’s journey? Some unfortunate ones struggle through the ups and down of a horrific world that we’ve created for them.

Dinggg. The amber light glowed on my cellphone screen. New text message from the Mole. I pushed the green tab. “One male black puppy. 8-10 weeks old. Rail-yard.

I gulped and quickly checked my watch. 7:47 PM. The fading sunlight in the Texas sky stopped me in my tracks. I was planning to go to the scariest part of town for picking up the puppy. A neighborhood where drugs exchange hands and possessions of guns and knives was the norm. The brutal practice of dog-fighting and killing of the weak bait-dogs was an everyday practice and this remote rail-yard provided the ideal backdrop for it.

Yet the puppy tied to the railway tracks wouldn’t make it till the morning. He was deemed too weak by the dog-fighting gang so they had tied him to the railway tracks for the train to crush him. I must get him from there tonight. I wore dark clothes and armed myself with a flashlight, a bag and a knife for protection.

I crouched low to the railway tracks and whispered, “Here, puppy puppy.” I whistled and strained to hear a sound in the darkness. My fingertips rested on the tracks and the shiny metal felt warm on my fingertips Gosh, has a train gone over these tracks recently? Is it too late?

I crawled down the tracks as they curved by the bushes and vanished from the view of the road. The beam from my flashlight danced on the broad gauge sleepers hoping I wouldn’t be spotted by the gang-members. My eyes squinted to adjust to the all-encompassing darkness.

           Aooor.I strained to listen again. Aooor.

I sprinted towards the sound. There he was; a little black puppy tied so close to the tracks that he couldn’t move more than two inches away from them. Just as expected he was a Labrador-Pit bull mix. Blood still oozed from the scar across his face. His legs had scars and his fur was matted with crusted over blood.

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“Don’t worry, little guy, you’re safe now,” I cut the rope and lifted him in the air. He was cowering and trembling but the moment I held him close to my chest, he stopped wailing.

Next morning, back at the animal shelter where I volunteer the 8 week old puppy played with the Labrador Retriever, Chevvy. He had been fed, bathed, given medicine and a new name; St. Augustine A.K.A August.

August stood up to Chevvy and teased him into playing with him. Even when he was pushed to the ground, he never backed down from a scuffle. One day when he and Chevy were playing with a tug rope. August got a little too bossy and Chevvy lost his cool, grabbing one end of the rope he flung August about six feet away. August got up, shrugged himself off and was back bothering Chevvy to ‘do it again’……

St. Augustine had boundless amounts of energy and he ran around in his small cage at breakneck speeds, the centrifugal force propelling him higher in the cage like a motorcycle in the well of death. The motorcycle gets higher and higher, the faster it goes.  It made such a horrible mess in his cage, that everyone thought he was un-adoptable.

I knew he was just burning his energy and being a rambunctious puppy. One day I caught him trying to bite his way out of the cage to try and escape, so he could play with the rest of the dogs.    It’s sad to see such a live-wire spend his puppyhood in a kennel.  August’s journey wasn’t complete yet, he needed a new home.

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Week after week of taking him to adoption events, failing to find him a home and leaving him inside a small cage every night made my heart bleed. I spent several nights staring at the ceiling, imagining his sad empty eyes behind the cold stainless steel rods, wondering if the cost August was paying for being safe at the shelter with his puppyhood was a fair one.

My friend, Navnit met him on one of her trips to Texas, fell utterly and completely in love with him and decided to give him a new home and a new name; Augustus Maximus.

A month later when I visited Navnit, August ran to the door to greet me. His tail wagged merrily and his butt shook in glee when his tongue licked my cheek. ‘All dogs are adoptable’, I thought to myself. We just need to give them a chance to succeed.

Augusts journey spanned being a lone puppy minutes away from being crushed by a locomotive engine, to finding limited joy at the animal shelter and finally an overabundance of love from Navnit.

The warm Texas breeze tousled my hair when I drove back that evening, worried about when I’d receive the next text from the Mole; my informant within the dog-fighting gang. How many more puppies can I save among the sea of cruelty all around me? A new puppy would be starting his journey soon.

August’s journey is now complete – he has found his road-map; now I need to find mine.

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FRIDA- Bella

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As I peel off my socks and groan the long day out, I run my finger over the mouse wheel.  My Facebook page races upwards and I pick up my re-heated sandwich from the Tupperware and take a big bite into the bland meal.

A piece of tomato escapes my mouth as I catch the image of a puppy, reposted from a page that sells goods. Puppy for sale. Will let it go for 100$. Several people have commented on ‘how sick they are with such posts’ and ‘how can FB allow people to post dogs in an item sale’. Some want to ‘kill the person selling it’, but most just say ‘how sad it makes them’.

Some parts of the rescue workers body function involuntarily. The brain gets put in the Tupperware along-with the awful sandwich and the heart kicks into over-drive. Ugggh. The long day is going to extend into a long night. I’ll need the nutrition. I stuff more of the sandwich in my face and crack my knuckles.

Its go time.

My desktop, laptop and cellphone are conducting Facebook searches, Craigslist scanning and I’m trying to rally a team to save the Coffee brown pit-bull puppy with a white butterfly patch on her chest. The freshly printed picture of the hazel eyed puppy is pasted over the portrait of my own beloved dog speed. Her eyes stare into mine asking me one simple question; will you save me?

Within half an hour my mind is saturated and my heart is overwhelmed by the number of ‘free puppy’ postings on Craigslist. All of these sweet pit bulls are headed to the dog-fighting rings that scour the underbelly of the American landscape. Why am I losing sleep over this one puppy out of all of these? I clasp a fistful of my hair and stare at my reflection in the TV screen. Because, she became mine when I looked into her eyes and saw a soul. Yes, there are countless others but today, right now- this puppy represents hope for all the other ones those will die this day. Her rescue will signify victory of good over evil. God, give me the courage to save her. The dog fighting rings are dangerous. I’m just one person. I touch the picture of Guru Gobind Singh – our tenth guru who gave his Sikh’s the famous line

“ Chirion te mein baaz tadaun,

Sawa laakh se ek ladaun,

tabhe Gobind Singh naam kahaun”.

(I will make birds fight hawks and win, one of my Sikhs will win against 125,000 of the enemy. Only then will I call myself Gobind Singh).

                By morning I’ve tracked down the puppy and his owner. Now it’s a matter of pin-pointing the house and stealing the puppy. Yes steal it. My money will not go to the dog-fighters. By instinct, I offer a hoodlum fifty bucks, give him the picture and show him the house. He leaps across the fence and I drive around the corner and sit and …wait.

My mouth is running dry and my car’s engine has been idling for twenty minutes when I he turns the corner scruffing the weak tan puppy and ducking across the street. I throw open the car-door and he dives in.

“Go Go Go.”

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I ran every stop sign in the wretched neighborhood, stopping at a local Walgreens and let the man out. He counts the money and gives me a homie handshake. “Aiiight, Lemme know if you want sumthin’ else, bro.” He adjusts hi crotch, “Pretty dog tho’. What you be naming her?”

Her pink nose has been on my mind all day. She’s as pretty as the first stroke of paint on a blank canvas.  “I’ll name her Frida Kahlo; after my friend Tina’s favorite painter.”

“Daaawg, who dat’ be?” He splays his arms.

“Thx Man.” I look straight ahead and gun it, driving till the yards are manicured and then finally I breathe. The puppy is sitting on the back seat and cowering. “Come here little, girl. You’re safe now.” Tears stream my face when I touch Frida for the first time.

She’s surprised by a kind touch and stands behind me on the car seat. She tentatively licks my ear and backs away. On her next lick I pet her head. She plants herself in my lap while we’re zipping on the freeway. She’s enthralled by everything; the steering wheel, the music, the air-conditioning vent letting out a stream of wonderful cold air.

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For the first time in my life I take a selfie, while driving with a dog in my lap. I don’t want to be unsafe anymore because now Frida’s life depends upon mine. The past is behind me and it’s certainly behind her.

In three minutes she’s snoring. After two baths and some food, we head to my newly found friends Jill and Dori from Dori’s cat rescue. They rescue cats but just like me they couldn’t close their eyes to this puppy. My hard work for the night is over and theirs has just begun.

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Within 24 hours she is transported to a foster and is even adopted. I know how hard these women have worked to save this one pretty dog. But I also know that in a matter of 24 hours Frida has touched the lives of all of us …and she’s just getting started. Frida has forever united me and Jill and Dori and Oktober into a cohesive team.

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Tonight the evil will be out in full-force again, money will exchange greasy palms and dogs will die. Tonight several rescue workers will be disheartened and overwhelmed. But our team will sleep peacefully- Just like Frida will.

Tomorrow I’ll be disillusioned by a fresh dose of cruelty. But tonight I sleep- with new hope.

The audacity of Hope.

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