Feel with the heart of another.

In 2015, we arrived at one of the worst shelters we had ever been to – loud, hectic, dirty kennels, understaffed, bad area. We were there to rescue as many dogs as we could fit into our vehicles and get out of there as quickly as possible.

While waiting in the office for paperwork to be processed, our attention turned to a car that had pulled into the parking lot with visibly upset people. They were all crying – wailing actually. One of the oldest in the group lifted a blonde cocker spaniel from the back seat carefully into her arms. They began walking towards us.

We pulled one of the people aside to see what was going on and to see if there was any way we could help – they were in complete agony.

Their dog had cancer and was also having seizures. Just before arriving at the shelter, they had been to their veterinarian who told them that the humane thing to do would be to euthanize their pet. They all agreed it was the best thing to do because they didn’t want to watch her suffer, but when they got the bill, they had to scrape together everything they had just to pay for the office visit – there was no money left over to gently tell their pet good-bye.

They came to the shelter thinking that the shelter could help – but the role of the shelter is to take in dogs that are surrendered by their owners or who are found as strays. While the shelter could receive her (as being owner surrendered), their rules mandate that she be examined by a veterinarian, held for a certain number of days and then put up for adoption. This is probably what would have happened if we had not been there at that exact moment.

If we would have been closer to our veterinarian (rather than hours away), we would have offered to have the family take her there and have her humanely euthanized – surrounded by them who loved her since she was a puppy. But the best we could offer was to have them give her to us with their veterinarian’s contact information and then we would take her to our veterinarian upon arrival back home. We put her in a soft-sided crate and loaded her into our car.

It was not an easy experience for any of us – having met her family – but then being the only ones who were with her during her last moments.

Sometimes animals who come into our care from the shelter or come back to us under their Purple Collar Promise are ill. If we have to say good-bye, there is always someone from the organization present until the end of their life – because we are their family and believe that no pet should have to die alone. This is the toughest thing we have to do.

To the extent that The Animal Protectorates can help local pet owners be physically present to humanely say good-bye to their pets when they otherwise would not be able to afford to do so, we offer the Senior Compassion Fund Grant. Grants are need-based. If approved, funds will be sent directly to your veterinarian.

Please contact us and let us know about your situation.

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