A Life Shattering Experience

On this day last year, I was at a vet’s office while my elderly cat underwent surgery when I got a text message.  “Check Facebook.  Bunny and Brock are missing.” Bunny is the single most special animal I’ve ever fostered.  I almost didn’t let her go, and every day for the last year, I have wished that I hadn’t.  She was worth giving up the rescue for, to me.  She was worth it all. When Bunny arrived  in our care, she was one of the most fearful dogs I’d ever seen.  She was nearly feral.  She was born in a shelter as evidence in a hoarder’s animal cruelty trial, and spent the first eight months of her life without leaving her kennel or seeing daylight, or grass.  She and her siblings were said to be so afraid of grass that they collapsed on it and crawled, dragging their handlers to the sidewalk where they could at least feel the familiarity of concrete.  Volunteers for a border collie rescue had helped to socialize them, driving for hours  each week to arrive at the shelter and work with the 20 dogs that were left out of the original 30 or so (some died in the kennels, including some of the pups that were born there, and Bunny’s mother.)

When we took Bunny in, it was a lot of work, effort and a heck of a learning experience for me.  We went through so much together.  It was just a completely fulfilling experience for me, though, as I really learned about the kind of dogs that I love to help.  I would take in a million Bunnys just to see them blossom the way she did.  She was here for over a year, and she was a huge part of my life.  I was close to keeping her with that “perfect” home came along, and I was able to let her go so I could continue my rescue work.

A year later, that text message came, and my world was shaken, rocked, off its foundation.  We launched into action.  A Facebook page just for the two dogs and their search effort quickly grew to over a hundred people.   Volunteers donated an incredible amount of money to help cover advertising costs, and my husband, best friend and myself spent well over 30 hours the first week searching on foot, searching with dogs, and hanging flyers and posters to try and find the dogs.  I spent every day making a trip out to hang more posters or to search, even if I was alone.  In addition to ads, we contacted media, had the dogs’ story make the front page of the paper locally here and featured in a large spread in a weekly paper that comes out in a large area locally.  We had http://www.findtoto.org send calls out to thousands of neighbors in the area to report the dogs missing.  I took and made phone calls daily as nearly every stray dog sighting in a huge radius was called in to me- with not a single one showing any hope of being the dogs.  While I didn’t know Brock that well, we never narrowed our search for just Bunny.  It’s our hope that if she is alive, so is he.

We never had a confirmed sighting of the dogs.  After a month, our efforts on foot dwindled.  We kept our flyers updated, kept checking Craigslist and other sites, but nothing really seemed to stand out.  It’s like they disappeared.  In fact, some theories came out that perhaps their adopters gave them away (I hope not, and am not accusing them of such,) or perhaps they were stolen, or picked up and moved far away.  I will probably never know.

It’s been a year, and I’ve never stopped thinking about Bunny.  I’ve never stopped missing her.  My heart has not been whole.  I have never regretted one of my mistakes in rescue as much as I regret not keeping her here, with me, where she never would have ended up in this situation.  Some days, the misery I feel over losing her is unbearable.  In terms of closure and the ability to move on, it would have been better to find her lifeless body than never to have found her at all.   I fear I’ll have this pain with me for the rest of my life.

In the past year, it has been more difficult to allow rescued animals to go.  I have a harder time parting with fosters, a harder time trusting adopters, and an emotion of protectiveness that overcomes reason too often.  I can only hope that this will fade, or I  may have to give up my rescue for Bunny after all.

http://www.facebook.com/v/1361715043668

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Lost, Personal, Pets, Rescue

One response to “A Life Shattering Experience

  1. Trista

    I don’t know who brought up the theory of Bunny’s adopters giving her away but that is absolutely 100% not a valid theory. We loved our dogs like our own children. If there was ever even the slightest chance that I thought Bunny would be better off in a different home, I would have called you up and worked something out with you. Everything with them was great. Bunny and Brock were learning a lot from each other and I couldn’t wait for them to grow up with Ella as one big happy family. I know you may feel like the “perfect” home turned out to be a nightmare because of their disappearance but believe me those dogs were our babies. I know you had a beautiful bond with her and I always admired that about you…how much you invest into every animal and how a little piece of you goes with each one that is adopted out. But please know that just because we had something so horrible happen doesn’t mean we weren’t good parents. To whoever broght up such a disturbing theory I have only this to say: You wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) accuse a family who had a child disappear to be responsible and I don’t think we deserve such accusations either. Horrible things happen in life that are completely out of people’s control. I really hope you know that we would have never given our dogs away. The only animals we ever found new homes for were the kittens from the stray cat we took in and then the stray mother cat because she changed after her kittens were gone…she began to urinate all over the house (which we figured getting her “fixed” would manage that issue) but worse than that, she would pick on the dogs which obviously was not a good situation for Bunny. I found her a better suited home (with my great aunt) where she was the only pet and she got all of the love and attention. Again, I am sorry to have let you down…for letting them down. All I ever wanted was to give them the home they both deserved after such a rough start in life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s