Saying goodbye is one of the best and worst parts of the job. We know our role in the lives of the animals we serve is only temporary. Our goal and our purpose is to be a stepping stone on their path to happily ever after but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Siddalee was broken when she arrived as a “stray” at the end of December. Her frail body weighed only 18lbs and we weren’t sure she had the will to survive. She received emergency medical care and our worst fears were confirmed; there was no underlying medical condition or trauma, she had simply been starved. We got to work on getting her back to health with a slow and steady feeding plan and lots of TLC. She was so easy to love and I started to fall hard. She shared my office, not spending one day in a kennel during her stay with us.
As her weight crept up so did her strength and she started to show us her wonderful personality. Before long she was ready for the adoption floor and we were thrilled to give her the chance at the life she always deserved but never had.
Her dreams came true the day before Cupid’s birthday and letting go was the best and worst part. I choose to reflect on the relationships I’ve built with the four-legged friends who run away with a piece of my heart as a way to cope and I penned this letter to my girl.
Your transformation has been my very most favorite. I’ve been thinking about how I would feel today, your adoption day, for the last week or so. I’ve been trying to find the words to explain what you’ve given me.
I’ve settled on thankful.
I want to thank you for surviving. That first night when you crumpled at my feet I felt my heart break into pieces; I was sure we were too late to make a difference but you held on. I’m so glad that you did.
I want to thank you for letting me in. I wouldn’t have blamed you for a second if you hadn’t wanted my love or attention, if you hadn’t wanted to trust me; I was prepared to earn your love but you gave it so freely despite all that you had been through.
I want to thank you for reminding me that you don’t have to hold onto your pain, you don’t have to carry it with you. Your trauma doesn’t have to control you. And that beautiful things are possible when you set it (and yourself) free.
I want to thank you for filling the void that was left in my heart and my office by a shelter dog who came before you; I wasn’t sure my heart was ready but you showed me that it was and reminded me to love the underdogs, simply because not everyone can or will.
You will forever be one of “those dogs”- the ones you never forget, the ones who change everything and the ones who remind you why you’ll be back tomorrow to do it all over again.
Thank you. I love you. I’m so proud of you.
I’ll miss you so,