This Winter: can one dog impact thousands?

I think the Universe is trying to tell me to tell you something. Honestly, I’m not much of a Universe listener (even having lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for four years), but this “coincidence” caught my eye and I decided to pay attention. The blurb from the Espanola Valley shelter timeline, which appeared in my newsfeed, read:

“The dog came to us this weekend after being hit by a car. We held this beautiful Boxer, waiting for her owners, but no one came forth.”

Winter, the Boxer with soulful eyes

Eight years ago, my Uno wound up in a shelter that very same way. Like Winter, he was just ten months old, hit by a car and no one came looking for him. Well, we were looking for him, we just didn’t know it yet. The point is, like the purebred Boxer at the Espanola shelter, Uno had once been someone’s pet. His tail had been docked, he was clean and well fed. How could it be that suddenly no one missed him?

So when I saw Winter’s photo and read about her shattered leg, my heart skipped a beat. I recognized that look of devastating vulnerability. As it had with Uno, an overwhelming urge to care and protect kicked in something powerful. Despite the pain — and the break was severe — Winter allowed the clinic staff to handle and bandage her without sedatives. Like Uno, she innately accepted those whose care she was now entrusted to.

Surgery, of course, is expensive, and in her case, a bit complicated. For an under-resourced shelter like Espanola, treatment for this dog relies, at least in part, on the generosity of individual donors. (And the extra efforts of staff and volunteers.) I can’t help but wonder if it’s Winter’s fate, like Uno’s, to set in motion a ripple that ultimately affects more than she will ever know.

Winter in the care of Espanola veterinary staff

As a child, writing was my first hobby, and as an adult, it’s the only way I’ve earned a living. I’ve always written. But it’s because of one dog — Uno — that I write specifically now about animal welfare. He’s the impetus for pursuing shelter work in the first place and he’s the reason I don’t veer from that path. Uno is responsible, however indirectly, for every blog entry I’ve posted, every dog I’ve walked, every kennel I’ve sat in.

I feel, inexplicably, that Winter is destined to move those she encounters in similar ways, that she will touch lives who will then go on to touch other lives. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but I’m convinced she’ll affect those around her in a profound and far-reaching way.

Really, I’m not a new-agey type person. (I’m pessimistic and atheist-ish.) I don’t often have the sense that something is meant to be or that things happen for a reason. So when I mention the Universe is tugging at my pant leg, it’s with more than a bit of self-consciousness. What can I say? Winter’s story resonated on a plane I don’t often visit. I couldn’t ignore the opportunity to share it. Too many lives might be affected.

The Espanola Valley Humane Society is now accepting donations to ensure a full recovery for Winter.