Maribeth Wilder Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Gratitude Month – Day 12 – Humane Society

on November 12, 2010


With the exception of our two shepherds, my family has adopted several dogs and even two cats from our local Humane Society.   Each of these animals has been a joy and a welcome addition to our family, and with the adoption comes knowing you’ve saved an animal’s life.

Thirteen years ago, we adopted a puppy from our local shelter as a playmate to our 6 year old female German shepherd.  I’m not sure Steffi was as thrilled with the idea, but little Sandy eventually wormed her way into everyone’s hearts.  When Steffi died five years later, Sandy was so brokenhearted she stopped eating.  It was with a lot of love (okay, serious spoiling) and people food that got her back on the road to healing.  We all took turns nursing her and even my husband, devastated over Steffi’s loss and not ever thrilled with Sandy, came to realize what a special, albeit very quirky, dog she was.  We guessed that she was a lab/queensland mix, around 40 lbs, and when she was happy, she wagged with so much force that we called her wiggle butts.  If that tail whacked you when she was happy, it HURT, but always made you laugh.

Sandy was my trusty assistant.  When I was in my office working, she was laying on my feet.  When I went to the bathroom, she went with me and told me all of her secrets.  She could make this noise that sounded like muffled words, as if she really was talking to me.  When I was sick, she nursed me.  When she knew what time it was for the rest of the family to come home, she was there waiting; if they were late, she paced.  With a busy husband and kids who were gone more than home, and since I work at home, I spent more time with Sandy than anyone else.  We lost her in a cruel way – to hemangiosarcoma.  She died in my lap in the car about a block away from the veterinarian’s office in August 2009.  I still miss her every. single. day.

When we picked Sandy out at the Humane Society, we actually didn’t pick her out.  We had another puppy that we met and played with (Sandy’s sister).  She was six weeks old, and they kept her for spaying.  I picked her up two days later.  When I got home with her, I realized we had a different dog.  This puppy had double dew claws on her back feet that were horrifying and the puppy we met two days before had normal feet.  I wonder if the Humane Society sensed that we’d take care of this messed up puppy and did a switch.  Or maybe it was simply an accident.  It didn’t matter because I was not going to take her back and complain.   We simply loved her and had her feet fixed.   She impaled herself on a stick when she was 3 from running like the wind, and it’s simply a miracle that she survived.   She had a tender tummy and vomited a lot but she was simply a sweetheart, warts and all.

I could give a eulogy for every single shelter dog and cat we’ve had but you’d be reading for a long time.  I just want to express my gratitude for Humane Societies and those who rescue animals and do what it takes to find them homes.  These animals don’t deserve the neglect, and they’re worthy of love and good homes.  Yes, I loved our first shepherd (the BEST babysitter ever!) as well as the shepherd puppy we have now but I will always have a soft spot for our rescues . . . they’ve been every bit as special and intelligent as our shepherds.

Thank you San Diego County Humane Society and Washoe Country Humane Society for allowing us to take home these special animals over the last 25 years!  I’m sure we’ll be doing it again someday.  Thanks to ALL no-kill rescue shelters and people who rescue and/or foster animals.  You are very special, and you should be thanked and supported a lot more!

And what you grateful for on this beautiful Friday?

One response to “Gratitude Month – Day 12 – Humane Society

  1. Ada Lai says:

    wow. thank you.


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