By Leslie Gallagher
The phone call hit me like a blast of cold air. Lisa, the woman who runs Dobie Rescue and gave me Savannah, the love of my life sounded like she was going to cry. “Leslie, one of my volunteers accidentally dropped a metal gate on a dog’s neck and he is paralyzed in all four legs. My vet thinks I should euthanize him. Can you help?” My legs actually got weak just hearing this. I said, “Can you give me more information?? Did he get any x-rays? Is he on steroids? Does he have any feeling in his feet?” Like all rescues in this town the people who run them have hearts of gold and very limited resources as they try to help every single animal they possibly can. I knew there was no way Lisa or any rescuer for that matter could handle a dog in this condition. I knew that we could. I also knew that if I didn’t step up to the plate, the dog would be killed. I told her I would call her back.
For the next 10 minutes I ran around the office asking my staff if I should take this on. It would mean moving a lot of resources away from taking care of other things to help me with this dog. It would mean Bryan and I getting up 5 times a night to express his bladder. It would mean another body in my house that would potentially not be good with other dogs. It would be a drain on the Bank of Leslie to pay for all his care. It would aggravate the heck out of my already tapped out husband. It would be exhausting, overwhelming, hard on our bodies, and most importantly, hard on my soul if it didn’t work out. So of course I called her back and said, “Yes.”
I promised my beleaguered husband Bryan that we would just board him at the office. I pleaded and cajoled. “Look, they’re going to put him down anyway. Living at the office is a heck of a lot better than death! We don’t HAVE to bring him home you know. We COULD just tuck him in late at night and staff will start on him first thing in the morning. He’s going to die anyway. It won’t kill him to stay at the office!” Bryan knew he wasn’t going to win this battle just as he knew there was no way we’d let that dog out of our sight. He shrugged his shoulders and our marketing assistant Jan Sarah grabbed her car keys and started driving.
Several hours later my staff stretchered in the most pathetic looking Doberman with a smile on his face the size of Hawaii. As much pain as he was in, Kenny was grinning ear to ear. He must have known he’d just won the lottery.