NEW: A thank you note from all of us:
This has taken me far too long to write. And for that, I apologize.
I want to thank you all for the contributions to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue after the death of our family dog, Toby (or, as we jokingly called him, Lion of the West).
For anyone who has ever had to make the final decision for a much loved companion animal, you’ll understand. But to say we are all heartbroken after losing Toby so suddenly doesn’t really do it justice
Anyway, when we realized all those who contributed and continued to, we were both moved, thankful, sad and happy — all at once.
I knew something very special had just happened.
So, four days after Toby died I attended a Lucky Dog Animal Rescue Adoption event in Arlington to donate Toby’s bowls, leashes, and all the special food we bought when we thought he might make it for another year or so, plus his favorite Gravy Bones snacks.
Over 65 puppies and dogs were there with their volunteer foster parents. Every one rescued just days away from being euthanized. Every uncoordinated puppy and dog eagerly bumping tails and noses, looking and hoping for a loving home. The place was packed and it ended up being their most successful event ever — even by their lofty standards. That’s because Lucky Dog has a 100% adoption rate.
My friend, Mirah, who runs Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, gave me a hug, and gently took Toby’s items from me — his everyday things that they so desperately needed on their shoestring budget. I wanted out of there immediately, all those happy puppies and people was hard to watch. But Mirah took my hand, knelt down, and pointed to a little Border Collie pup who couldn’t have been more than two months old and was bouncing around all paws, tongue and ass — playing with a prospective family.
Mirah whispered to me, “He’s gonna make it — thats what your friends just did. They rescued him. ”
You see, it costs Lucky Dog about $240 plus dollars, to rescue, transport, provide veterinary care, spay and neuter and adoption services for every dog they rescue.
So, through your gift, you directly gave a second chance and a loving home to a puppy – actually many puppies – you’ll never know on behalf of a dog you never met.
That little Border Collie, so full of puppiness, joy and life, was less than two days from being killed in a local shelter in South Carolina because they had no room. He’d already been there a week, alone and abandoned. His time was up.
But, thanks to you, he made it, he got Lucky and is now with his new family.
I bawled like a baby right there in the parking lot — but I loved knowing that he made it. And I hope you like knowing that, too.
Thank you everyone, it was special to us.
Robert, Peggy, Billy and Meghan
PS. I never did get that Puppy’s name, but I kinda like to think he’s called Toby, too.
Yesterday, I lost someone precious – my pup, Toby.
My pain can only be measured in love, and both run deep. And while I’m still struggling to imagine life without him, I recognize it’s a life we nearly never had …
You see, Toby was born one day – and scheduled to die the very next.
It’s true. Toby was born “on the streets” as they say. My mom didn’t know about the puppies when she discovered the mom, a skinny, scrawny pup at the end of her driveway. She tried to get close, but the dog ran away. So my mom left food out to lure her back. It worked, she ate, then ran off.
My mom’s plan was to keep her coming back and win her trust. So the next morning, she went to put food out again but instead saw Animal Control at the end of her street.
Already loaded in the van was the dog my mom had been feeding along with 7 newborn puppies (2 of which didn’t make it), My parents were told the mother was “mean” and needed to be “put down” – and since the puppies couldn’t live without their mom – they would also be killed.
This is where Toby’s story could’ve both begun and ended if not for my parents, whose tenacity and heart I’ve been fortunate enough to inherit just a small portion.
The van drove off – but with my parents in hot pursuit.
If you’ve ever met my mom, you’d know she’s a force to be reckoned with. And apparently Animal Control wasn’t prepared so while she was warned that the dog was mean, my mom and dad left that day with a dog who turned out to be incredibly sweet, though a fiercely protective mom, and her five puppies.
My mom doesn’t believe she saved any of their lives – but rather, they saved hers. You see, that was the summer of 2004 and my mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. All that love was her therapy.
They named the mom, Cora which means “heart” because she healed theirs.
I looked outside this morning, and still fresh in the snow are the footsteps we took together, yesterday. As the day warms, those footsteps will fade, but the imprint he’s made in my heart will last me a lifetime.
Let me tell you, I’m so fucking grateful for the love and the life he gave me. He held nothing back – not ever. His enthusiasm for life was unbridled and contagious. With unwavering devotion, he gave us everything he had and everything he was. Everything.
Maybe you think Toby was a lucky dog to have had ten amazing years as part of our family – but I know it’s me, I’m the one blessed. He’s taught me so much about true love.
Heartbreak is inevitable when we open ourselves up. But the love that’s allowed in, along with that which we share, changes us forever. It makes us better.
He made me better. He made our family better.
We didn’t rescue him – we rescued each other.
Toby is special but his story really isn’t …
And why my friend Mirah runs an animal rescue called Lucky Dog. You might recall that just last month, I taught a donation class for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue – before Toby was even sick.
It’s because I believe so strongly in the work Mirah is doing to save lives, not just the lives of innocent animals – but ours.
The outpouring of love I’ve received this week has been overwhelming and comforting but what would truly help me heal is if you would take a moment now and give to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue on behalf of Toby and my family.
Mirah’s rescue operation runs on bare bones. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it sometimes, but because of her, there are more pups like Toby out there saving families like ours, making us better people and spoiling us with their love.
Nothing would bring me more comfort than to know another pup was saved in Toby’s memory. Nothing. To keep that love alive and growing is all I ask.
Here’s the link to donate:
Or here, for a wish list on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3AW1BUYSY69G5/ref=cm_wl_huc_view
Please feel free to share comments below, even your own lucky story. I’m having trouble responding right now, I hope you understand, as it’s all pretty raw, but I am reading and grateful for your love.
And through your support of Lucky Dog, Toby’s life will take on even greater meaning.