I never really decided to start a dog rescue here in Lethbridge. I was volunteering for the local cat rescue, PAW, when another gal from that group asked me if I'd want to start a dog group. Being allergic to cats and pregnant at that same time, made fostering cats a challenge for sure, so I jumped at the dog part of the rescue. I remember the day so clearly nearing the end of March in 2002 when I met Camille at the animal shelter and we took out our very first three dogs that were supposed to die that day. Running only on adreneline, certainly not on funds!, we continued and managed to adopt out a bunch of dogs that first year.
I remember checking myself into the hospital to deliver my daughter Rayna and after she was born, I checked my house messages. There were 18 calls about people wanting to surrender their dogs, or adopt one of ours, all those messages in the time it took me to deliver a baby!!
Time went on, dogs came into my house and went out shortly after. Camille left the group too after a while. Then, Amanda came on board with me, we only had one other foster home at that time, thanks Bernice for sticking with us for the past 7 years now! Amanda and I worked our butts off together for four years, building alot of what you currently see of PDCR, including the name, blog and website. (Amanda manned the phone while I delivered my son Jackson in 2005) We did alot of driving around, alot of picking dogs up, alot of supply drop offs to our many foster homes. We dealt with hundreds of dogs in those four years, each making a very big impact on our lives. With hundreds of dogs comes untold challenges. How to keep them healthy, clean, .... alive. Where to put them? How to pay for the bills? Then the biggest challenge for me personally, Amanda moved on from the group.
Last night, as happens every couple of months depending how busy we are, I was feeling totally overwhelmed at the challenges that the group and the dogs face every day.
I am 'in charge' of the dogs that come into the group, which means a large part of my job is taking phone calls from people who don't want their dog anymore, or from families that are devestated by new found dog allergies and have to part with their dog. I can't even express the amount of controll that goes into my day to not snap at everyone that calls with every stupid excuse in the book to dump their dog, then the emotions that go into the phone calls of the familes that are upset of giving their dog up, or the families who had a death in the family and due to circumstances, no one is willing to take the dog. The local county bylaw officers and other rescue groups also email me and phone me each day with news of a new stray that is in 'jail' or an email from another group that have a new dog, but don't have the room to take it in. Stress is an understatement! Having to say no to some dogs due to full foster homes, or begging a bylaw officer to hold off on a 'kill day' is a horrible thing to do......and I do this on a regular basis.
So, anyway, last night I went to the Happy Tails part of the blog as I don't look on there very often. As I scanned thru the stories, my eyes filled with tears as it seems like our dogs come at the right time is seems for so many people. The background on alot of the adoptions are never made public obviously, but knowing that a certain lady was dealing with the sudden death of her husband, and how her new dog proved to be a great comfort for her and her children, I can't even describe how happy I am for that family.
One family had recently lost their young son to cancer, there are the tears again!, and its the dog that I didn't have room for and brought in anyway, that has become a trully valued 'fuzzy brother' to their other son.
Then, the stories from the dogs perspectives: Louie was an unwanted. Now, he is in video doing his dance routines with his new mom in the sport of Freestyle.
Its too much people!! I cry, but laugh and feel immense pride in what we do. Then, today, I recieved the following email. I don't know these people but what a nice thing to say. I read it and felt better about the challenges that the group faces and the dogs face everyday, and I know that everything has always worked out, why won't it continue as long as we as a group are doing it for the dogs. Bring on the challenges, we are getting used to them!
You are wonderful people!
I live in Regina where there is not one no kill shelter. I have tried volunteering at the Regina shelter. I found my heart shredded too many times and cannot bring myself to volunteer there.
You are a group who share the beliefs I hold. What can I do to help you? I will happily send you what small donation I can. Is there anything else that I can do?
Hear that PDCR team? We are wonderful people!!
Thanks so much Ingrid for your message, it came at the right time.