Late Saturday night I wrote this:
I am writing this post on Saturday night while still reeling from loss and anger. You may not want to read this story. It is sad. Very sad. I tell it because it is true, because it happened, because it is reality. Right now my sadness is second only to my rage. A tiny little bitty puppy came into my life tonight.
I wrote out what turned into an extremely angry rant which does absolutely no good whatsoever. I have now had 30 hours to calm down. I am going to tell little Donald’s story because it needs to be told. He deserves that much. But I am going to try to tell it in a way that honors him because of how precious he was. This does not mean that I am not still angry. I am. In fact, I am outraged. But since Saturday night I have had time to think. And Donald has re-taught me one of the things I am striving to learn in this life - that I cannot change other people; I can only work harder at being the kind of person *I* want to be.
Let me warn you. You might not want to read this story. It is hard to take and it did NOT turn out like I so desperately wanted it to.
Older Daughter was at work on Saturday morning when a police officer came in carrying a tiny limp body. He told her he’d found the little thing on his rounds and that it was still alive. Older Daughter took the puppy as the officer explained. He was walking in an area and thought he heard a very faint whining or groaning noise. When he started to investigate, he realized that the almost inaudible noise was coming from a heap of garbage. He started pushing the garbage away and underneath the pile of trash was the tiniest puppy he’d ever seen. He knew it was alive because he had heard it, but that was the only indication. It was not moving. He had to look very close to see breathing. He looked around for any sign of more, then scooped up the baby and headed to the shelter.
Older Daughter immediately kicked into action. She started with syrup - rubbing it on the puppy’s gums. An employee registered the puppy and gave him a name - Donald. Older Daughter worked with the puppy off and on all day. He was given subcutaneous fluids. At one point in the late afternoon, he actually swallowed a tiny little bit of porridge-consistency canned food. It was shortly after that when Donald tried to lift his head. It was the first time Older Daughter felt any hope. Of course, she brought him home from work and straight to my house. Younger Daughter came over, too, and the three of us took turns holding Donald while the other two went off to get things done that had to be done. We were all shocked at the body condition, but it was worse than that. Donald hadn’t responded even one more time the rest of the afternoon. He wasn’t responding now. At one point, the three of us converged in the bathroom. We discussed this baby’s condition.
His body was severely emaciated. His limbs were cold. The back legs were pulled up and stiff. We were keeping him on a heating pad, wrapped with soft warm cloth and up against our bodies. We did everything we knew to do and everything the vet had suggested. Sugar water, which is what brought our little comatose Gabriel back from the dead, did not work. Rubbing syrup on the gums did not work. We tried warm formula. There was no swallow reflex. Older Daughter did stimulating massage to try to keep circulation going. At one point in the evening, for almost five full minutes, Donald opened his eyes. He looked at us, and even followed our movement with his eyes. He continued to be too weak to move, but I allowed myself some hope when I saw some recognition in those eyes. That hope was short-lived.
We were all quietly sure that Donald would not make it. Help had come too late. So we never put him down. During the times that he was in my arms, I told him over and over that I loved him and that I was so sorry that this was all Life had shown him. I told him that if he would just stay with us we would show him love. I did what I always do in these situations - I quietly begged him to stay. I kissed him over and over on his tiny little forehead and stroked his tiny emaciated body with one finger. We held him until he died Saturday night at 9:30pm.
I cannot imagine what kind of person could throw this baby away like so much garbage. How long had he been there? He was alive when someone threw him out. Our daytime temperatures have hovered near 100 degrees. If only help had come sooner. When the girls went home and Husband went to bed, I sat in the dark and railed against a world filled with so much cruelty. I thought about what I could do to the person who did this. I thought about all of the pain and suffering I’ve seen in the innocent lives of so many puppies and kittens, dogs and cats. I got angrier and angrier. So I got on the computer and started writing. Well, that is the post I chose NOT to publish today.
It will not EVER matter what I think of people who do these kinds of things. It will not ever matter if I hate them, or want to hurt them, or wish that Karma will rain down on them. I will not EVER change any other person with my fists, or my words, or my desire. Truly, all I can do is be the best person *I* can be. Gandhi said to Be the change you wish to see in the world. I cannot make people stop being horrible. I cannot make people be compassionate towards animals. I can only do what I can do to offer these sweet furry creatures the love they deserve. When I am knocked to my knees by the needless suffering of an animal at the hands of a human being, I have to strive even harder to be the opposite of that monster. I want ALL human beings to care about each other and about the creatures that can’t care for themselves. But wishing it, or even demanding it, from another human being will not make it so. I will have to be the change I wish to see.
Little Donald, for you and all who suffer as you did, may there one day be more people in the world fighting for you than there are people causing your pain.
Little tiny Donald - Farewell.