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A Rescued Dog is the Most Rewarding Act
My husband Eldad was on his way to an overcrowded animal shelter in to look at a dog which he claimed “had a horrible looking photo.” Labeled as a terrier-mix, and already overstaying her welcome by a week. We are full time dog rescuers so we are used to the inevitable.
I got a call, “You will not believe how cute this dog is and she is already spayed so she is coming home with me today.” Later that afternoon, I walked into our house to be greeted by our two white rescue terriers and this shaggy ball of fluff that licked me as if I were her best friend. “Oh you look like a pumpkin,” I said. And so Pumpkin instantly became a part of the family. Eventually we would have to find her an adoptable home, but she was so squishable and potty trained and just so perfect/
Two days later Eldad and I had to go speak to a class of children at an author’s festival about the dogs and other creatures we had fostered in our home.. We had no idea what we were going to say, so we brought our book and we brought Pumpkin as an example of how a rescued dog is a friendly and adorable dog. I just hoped that Pumpkin wouldn’t be too skittish. I had her on a leash and planned to keep her on my lap the whole time.
The kids were second-graders and were very polite and attentive and I realized that they were too young to really be exposed the term “euthanasia” and it would be inappropriate to tell horror stories of abused animals. Eldad presented a power point presentation of photos of many of the dogs and cats and other creatures we had had in the house. The kids oohed and ahhed and then suddenly, Pumpkin jumped off my lap. As if she were possessed, Pumpkin dove into the crowd of kids like she was a rock star throwing herself into the crowd.
The mood immediately changed and all of a sudden everyone was going nuts over Pumpkin. She had been neglected her whole life and had never received so much love and affection by so many people at one time. It was if she instinctively knew “I gotta get the message out, mutts from the pound are the coolest dogs in the world.” The petting and hugging lovefest was incredible and instead of a stiff presentation, we now had really relaxed and exciting dialogue with the students.
Now we learned to let Pumpkin work her magic. She diplomatically walked around the class and let each second grader get equal time in petting her.
These little kids were filled with questions and would not stop raising their hands with comments and at the end asked for our autographs.
When Eldad, Pumpkin, and I were finished for the day and were walking off the campus, most of the students were outside at tables eating lunch. The second they saw us, they started screaming, “Pumpkin!”
I had an army of kids chasing me trying to get to the superstar Pumpkin. I was informed by their teacher that most of these children were first generation born in the United States and culturally were not exposed to animals as “part of the family.”
It’s amazing to think that this dog who had made such an impact in a few hours on so many people had only two days before, been sitting in a cage, deemed not worthy to live.
There are a lot of Pumpkins out there facing the same fate and hopefully one day, these young people will remember her choose to save an animal rather than support the puppy mills and the pet stores. Maybe other Pumpkins will have loving homes instead of being trashed at pounds. I can only hope.
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