Losing Duke was hard. I didn't know, and I still don't know, if I'll ever get over the hurt of losing him.
But I will tell you that I've found something that has helped.
After weeks of dealing with my little broken heart, I finally decided to be proactive about healing. I signed up to volunteer with San Antonio Pets Alive (SAPA), a local organization that puts their efforts towards making San Antonio a no-kill city. Naturally, I followed them on all of their social media accounts. This was both the best and worst decision. Seeing their daily posts on Facebook is heartbreaking. The city of San Antonio euthanized over 4,000 animals in 2013 and has euthanized over 2,000 animals so far this year.
One Friday, after a really emotionally tough week, I came across their post on my Facebook newsfeed. They posted an album with pictures of 92 animals that were scheduled to be euthanized that day. 92! They were pleading for fosters or adopters to help. I scrolled through the pictures and cried my eyes out. I stopped at the picture below.
This guy was listed as "King", a lab mix who had been found on the streets of San Antonio a few days before. I just stared at him and cried. Without really thinking, I emailed SAPA to see if he was still available to save. I was told that he was still at the shelter and was scheduled to be euthanized at 5 pm on that day.
My head was spinning. I didn't know what to do! I hadn't healed from my loss of Duke. I didn't know if I was ready to be the mama to another pup.
And then I stopped. And realized how selfish I was being. I could sit there and say I wasn't ready and because of that, this little guy would die. Die, you guys! How insane is that? I couldn't let that happen. I couldn't save all of them but I had to help.
So I decided to foster. It was a reasonable median since I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to adopting.
My stomach was in knots the entire way to the shelter. I got there and was so nervous to meet him! They brought him out and he was much bigger than I expected. Very skinny and covered in ticks and fleas. And he was the sweetest pup I've ever met. He kept giving me kisses and trying to sit on my lap. We immediately loved each other.
I sat on the floor at the shelter and picked the ticks off of him. I picked off over 75 ticks and that is not an exaggeration. This poor guy had them everywhere.
I signed some papers and walked him to the car. He was very hesitant about doorways and cars. I finally got him in and we drove home. During the drive he seemed worried and I felt worried too. I was mixed with nervousness and guilt. I couldn't help but think that Duke would be so upset with me! I know that sounds silly. As we drove, I glanced up at the sky and saw the first rainbow I've seen since moving back to Texas. I broke down in tears.
I took a picture of it because I didn't think anyone would believe me! Some of you may know that rainbows remind me of Duke. Hawaii, the rainbow state, holds a special place in my heart and that's where Duke was born and raised. This had God and Duke written all over it. I think it was their sign to me that it was ok.
This was King on the day that I brought him home...
He had patches of raw skin. Scars. Scrapes. I could see his ribs when he walked. He had no interest in toys at first. And I will always remember how precious he was when I gave him a bone for the first time. He looked at me in disbelief. He didn't think it was for him. And finally, he took it from me and kept throwing it up in the air because he was so so happy. He really just wanted and still wants to be loved.
This is him now...
He's healthy and so happy. He hasn't shown a single sign of aggression towards me or anyone else. He is very social. Soft as ever. And loves attention!
I renamed him King Barnaby, but he goes by his middle name :) I liked that "King" had a hint of royalty like "Duke" does.
I'm thinking he is 1-2 years old and a black mouth cur. No one really knows but one thing is for sure - he is 72 pounds of handsome and sweetness!
I still haven't committed to adopting him and really the only reasons why are because I'm not home as much as he needs me to be and my home isn't as big as he deserves and needs. It will break my heart to let him go but I'll be happy to know that he is going to a happy home and able to live the life that was almost robbed of him.
Barnaby has helped me heal. I may have saved his life but he saved mine too! I'll forever be grateful.
Barnaby is available for adoption. Please spread the word!