Meet Blue and Maize. This is their story as told by their human mom, Sue.
We weren’t looking for another dog.
Our hearts were still healing. Our first experience with a rescue dog had ended just a month earlier with a very sad, tear-filled goodbye. Woodson loved our family, but he couldn’t get past his fear of just about every other person on the planet. As much love as we gave him, as much as we tried to teach him to trust, our lives full of children and action and noise and craziness just wasn’t the right environment for him, and it broke our hearts to have to say goodbye.
We weren’t looking for another dog, but even so, I connected with a dog rescue group on Facebook. I felt so strongly that I’d let our Woodson by sending him away, and I was trying to find some way to deal with my guilt, so I connected with this rescue group in hopes that I could plan some kind of fundraising event for them that would maybe help me feel like less of a failure.
And one Tuesday afternoon as I was scrolling their site, I saw a post they shared from the shelter.
Two freckled pups, brother and sister, looking sad and shaken. Just like my two sad kids, a brother and a sister, whose world had been rocked by the loss of their beloved Woodson.
The first thing I did, of course, was share the post to my own Facebook wall, seeing if there was anyone out there who would foster these babies. Our shelter was a high-kill facility, and their clock was ticking. And while there were lots of “awwww, they are so cute” responses, nobody said they’d take them.
The second thing I did was show my husband. He was not as moved. Not only did he not want ONE more dog, he definitely didn’t want TWO.
The third thing I did was to go visit the shelter. I woke up Wednesday morning, got everyone off to school and work, and went to the shelter to find the puppies with the freckles, “just to see.” I knelt in front of their pen and peeked in. The bigger, boy dog came right up to me, sticking his snout through the fence, licking me, telling me he’d be thrilled if I’d take him home. His sister hung back, holding me a little more at arm’s length, holding her cards a little closer to her chest.
I fell in love.
And for the rest of that day and into the next I cried and begged and implored my husband to let me bring them home.
Thursday is a bad day for a dog at a high-kill shelter. Dogs with no rescue, foster, or adoptive family need to be “dealt with” to make room for all of the new dogs that will be picked up or abandoned over the weekend. And THIS particular weekend was a HOLIDAY weekend, which meant they needed to make even MORE room for the bigger number of dogs who would come in between Friday and Monday. The shelter re-posted the pictures of these babies with a last-chance plea for someone to get them, otherwise, they were to be the next to make the horrible walk down the hall to be euthanized. My friend Melissa saw the same post, and, knowing I was watching them too, texted me, saying “go get those freckle pups, Sue”. It was 4:40 in the afternoon and the shelter closed at 5. I made one last plea to my husband, asking if we could PLEASE agree to foster these dogs, otherwise, they would be put down. He finally said, “yes, go save them”.
I reached for my cell to call the rescue to let them know they could pull the pups for me, just as it started ringing. “Hello?!” I answered breathless and irritated, focused solely on the fate of these dogs. “Is this Trio Fitness?” the voice on the other end asked. It was a woman calling my business line, inquiring about classes at the fitness studio I owned. The type of call that I usually loved to answer, patiently and graciously answering every question and making the caller feel welcomed to the studio to try a class.
But not this time. This time it was all I could do to sound polite while I watched the minutes tick away on the clock as it drew closer and closer to 5PM, when the dogs would time would be up.
Ten minutes later I finally freed myself from the caller, found the number for the rescue, and called and texted my contact to say I wanted the freckle pups. No answer.
By 4:55 I started calling the shelter to say SAVE THOSE DOGS. No answer.
The tears and the anxiety had built to a fever pitch. As my clock struck 5, I just knew that I had lost two more dogs, and the feeling of despair in my heart was just indescribable.
And then my phone buzzed. It was a text coming through and the timestamp was 5:01. It was the rescue saying “call this number, it’s the backline for the shelter, and let them know The Maggie Society will pull those puppies for you tomorrow morning.” So I called, and a man answered, and in all my blubbering happysadness, I managed to get the words out, and the dogs were saved.
The next morning, I got everyone off to work and to school and on my way to the shelter, I stopped by PetSmart to pick up a couple of collars and leashes, some dog food, and two name tags for our “foster puppies” that we were going to call Maize and Blue. I met the rescue in the parking lot and was amazed at the vetting they did right there with the dogs sitting on the tailgate of a Suburban. I got the instructions for when to bring them to meet the official doctor. And I got a big, teary hug from Laurie, the woman who knew what these dogs meant to me.
I brought the dogs home and gave them a bath, getting rid of the last of the fleas that covered the dogs so thick that it looked like they were wearing brown pants. They drank water but weren’t quite ready to eat. Blue, the boy, was ready for love, but Maize was much more nervous. I don’t know what happened to them before they went to the shelter, but whatever it was, he was ready to leave it behind, yet she wasn’t quite ready to forget. But it was okay. We had time. They were part of a family now.
One by one, everyone made it home from school and work and we spent the afternoon in the grass in the backyard getting to know our new family members, who, let’s face it, were NEVER really going to be fosters.
This weekend is their fifth birthday.
Over the last five years they have learned all of the important things like how to sleep on the foot of the bed, how to lay on my feet while I’m going to the bathroom, and how to sit patiently in the kitchen while I’m cooking, because they know I will inevitably drop something on the floor that they will want to eat. They have also been good luck charms during many University of Michigan sporting events (hence their names) and know how to roo and howl when we are singing the fight song. We recently moved to Florida where they have grown very fond of walks on the beach, chasing lizards, and once they even managed to save us from a snake that made its way into the house.
While I’ll never forget the love we had for Woodson, and I’ll never stop feeling guilty for having to let him go, I am thankful every day for finding Maize and Blue, who not only have made our family complete but who also connected us to the world of dog rescue. Before I saw those sweet freckled faces on Facebook I really had no idea about the plight of a shelter dog, and all the volunteer manpower behind the scenes that work so tirelessly to save the lives of these wonderful animals. Dog rescue people are big-hearted people, and I feel so lucky and blessed to have been able to have a part of such an amazing organization, even in this small way.
Thank you, Sue, for sharing the story of your spoiled hounds! You can follow Sue’s adventures on her website Mrs. Fatass.
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