URGENT DOGS! WILL DIE TONIGHT! FOSTERS NEEDED! You all know the drill. That is the usual plight of open intake shelters, too many animals, too little room and hard decisions have to be made (aka who will have to die to make room for this new stray).
That is when well-meaning individuals will step up to the plate and agree to foster that animal to save its life – usually. Usually those people can’t stand to see an animal lose their life, at all, but especially due to no space in the shelter and so they want to help. Usually they are amazing, bleeding hearts who do in fact help and save a life. But sometimes, they are like the person you will read about below. Sometimes, we are forced to believe that the shelter actually IS the best place for these animals, even if it means they will be euthanized. This is Dewey’s story.
Dewey was a kind, gentle soul. He was an older gentleman that mostly wanted to snuggle up in some blankets with his favorite person. Dewey was found as a stray on 08/01/2017. How and why would a senior dog not have an owner looking for him? We don’t know. What we do know, is that Dewey was a pretty cool guy. He was thought to be 8-10 years old, well past that annoying puppy phase, but still enjoyed play time as much as any dog. He was smart, affectionate, sweet, knew commands-all the things you would want in a dog.
Dewey drew the small end of the stick and he had to leave the shelter by 09/08/2017 or he would be euthanized. While everyone knew how great he was and wanted to help, there was little to no room in the rescues to take him unless they could find a foster for him. The urgent plea was put out and someone agreed to take him and be his foster in rescue, therefore saving his life! We were ecstatic – He would finally have the life he deserved! Or so we thought. Hind sight is always 20/20.
Dewey’s foster parent sent photos and told us how amazing he was, how sweet he was…for a few days. That was the last communication we would have from Dewey’s foster. Fast forward to 10/14/2017. Dewey died on this day. I’m not able to go into details due to current legalities, but Dewey’s foster parent ultimately became his killer due to neglect. He passed away peacefully with people who actually DID want to save his life.
What’s the moral of the story? The moral of Dewey’s story is that when a dog’s urgent status is changed to”SAFE”, that it’s not always the case. It’s a cruel world we are living in when a dog LEAVING the shelter is actually the worst thing that can happen to him.
What happened to Dewey is in no way related to how reputable the rescue is – it can happen to any rescue and we are lucky to have so many rescues willing to save our shelter animals. But, with what happened here, it serves as a reminder that maybe we, as rescue, can’t break our own rules just one time to save a life. There’s that hind sight again.
If you are truly interested in saving a dog’s life and want to help us help them, find a rescue you like (see my previous post for a list) and fill out their foster application. Do it PRIOR to acting on an urgent animal’s plea and not a last-minute foster, to give rescues the time needed to do a more diligent check before being approved to bring an animal home. Yes, animals get time-stamped at the shelter and the urgency is severe – but please take a step back and think – what is in the dog’s best interest?
I will end with this:
Lots of people blaming themselves for the death of my Pen Pal, Dewey- myself, the rescue that only wanted to help him, the volunteers who helped with his foster meet. You know who doesn’t feel any blame? The piece of human waste who actually is responsible for his death. What happened to Dewey should finally put to rest the “Anywhere But ACCT” mentality. There are far worse fates for these animals than ACCT. And when those fates become a reality, it’s always the people that cared that are left with broken hearts and lives forever altered.
Written by Dewey’s best friend, his Pen Pal Sherilynn.
See him in action below.