Update: the reality of shelter life

Lovie, as some of the volunteers had come to call him, had been picked up by Animal Control as a stray. And while his week at the shelter was perhaps not ideal, I know it was better than the days prior he spent on the street.

Between the clinic staff, the behavioral staff, and volunteers Ann and me, Lovie was attended to every day. He got walks. He got soft food and a warm bed. He got ear rubs and cooing.

Enjoying attention

He also got a diagnosis: the auto-immune disorder Pemphigus. Pemphigus causes “blistering and raw sores on skin and mucus membranes.” Eating can be “difficult and painful.” “This condition is very uncomfortable to your dog.” And while some days he had more energy than others, Lovie never complained. His tail would thump at the sound of a human voice.

His tail wags to see volunteer, Ann

In a perfect world, there would be enough resources to take care of every animal who ever needs it. People would be lining up to adopt – and to take on exhausting medical care cases and challenging behavior-issue dogs. But that’s not the reality. Not even close.

Kisses, giving and receiving

And so we did everything we could for this dog. In his last days, the dog knew love and comfort and care. Is it enough? No, not really; somewhere along the way, a human failed him. But sometimes euthanasia is not the most tragic outcome. This dog died in loving arms, painlessly, peacefully. And it was far better than what might have been: his last days alone, starving, and in pain on the icy streets of Santa Fe.

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