Monday, October 10, 2016

The Heartbreak of Losing a Beloved Pet #saveasato #animalabuse #lossofpet #dogrescue

Anyone with a beloved pet knows that one day we will lose them. The thought is so painful that we push it to the back of our minds and try not to think about it until we are forced to. That day came for me on July 15th, 2016.

It has been a very challenging year for my family filled with uncertainty and big changes in our life. We were determined to weather the storm with a positive attitude and I am proud to say that we did pretty well with this. Most importantly, we role modeled for our children that when life knocks you down you get back up and keep going. Then came the day that I knew would inevitably arrive and that nothing could prepare me for the heartbreak.

While we were in Maine for the summer, our dog Phoebe began having breathing problems that progressed quickly. The vet was a 15-20 minute drive away and it seemed likely that we wouldn't be able to get her there fast enough. My twenty-one year old daughter was with me and together we comforted Phoebe as she left this world to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Once she passed, we lay down beside her and cried. The loss was devastating but I am grateful that Phoebe died in a place she loved so much and with family beside her rather than on a table at the vet's office.

It has been nearly three months since Phoebe's passing and I still can hardly think of her without my eyes filling with tears. She was such a blessing in our lives! But there are things that bring me comfort. Phoebe was a rescue dog. She had been abandoned on the street as a puppy so her odds of surviving were not good. Perhaps the novelty of a new puppy had worn off. Perhaps her owner had little tolerance for accidents in the house, or maybe feeding and filling the water bowl became just another chore. Whatever the reason, I am of the opinion that her owners had no business getting a dog in the first place. Pets are not disposable and before adopting, one must seriously consider whether they are willing and able to provide for all the animal's needs for its entire life. This includes being home often enough to let it outside to relieve itself, being responsible for meeting its need for food, water, exercise, and affection, and committing to the cost of veterinary care.

Whatever the reason this puppy was dumped and left to try to survive on her own, their loss was our gain. Phoebe was rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico by Save a Sato, a very modest shelter run on a shoestring budget but with plenty of love to give. After she was fattened up to a healthy weight she was sent to DAWS in Danbury, Connecticut where, when she was about nine months-old, my family adopted her as soon as she was made available. Without Save a Sato, Phoebe most likely would have died from starvation, illness, or being hit by a car. But she was one of the small number of street dogs in Puerto Rico that was rescued and lived the rest of her life as a cherished family member. It helps ease my sadness that Phoebe knew she was loved and was treated with kindness from the first day we adopted her until she passed away at nearly fifteen years-old. We were blessed to have had such a loving companion and I thank Save a Sato with all my heart for giving her the opportunity to live a long, happy life.

So to Gloria, Lucy, Penélope, Ana, Leilani, and everyone else at Save a Sato who gives so much of their time to rescue street dogs from a life of misery and often abuse: Mil gracias. Para mí, Uds. son santas. ¡Qué Diós las bendiga siempre!