In the short time I have been working with animal rescue, I have noticed that some animals speak to you more and you are extra motivated to see them have a happy ending. Each of the animals that I have emotionally bonded with until now have made their way out of danger and into rescues, fosters, or forever homes. The animals speak to you for various reasons. It can be anything from their history, their wrinkled faces, or their personalities.
This loss hit me hard. I cried for this dog. I think he deserves to be remembered. I have named him Luke.
Luke, I am so sorry that we failed you and you had to die alone without a human to call your own. I wish we could have done more to rescue you from your situation. I wish that the adopters that had tagged you, had you neutered, and planned to give you a forever home had been able to follow through with those plans.
Even though you never got the forever home of your dreams I want you to know that you were cared for and loved. You are missed and you did matter. You touched my life and I will never forget you. I hope that you rest in peace.
Luke really spoke to me because he looked a lot like one of the dogs I had in high school. She was with me until my mid twenties; and I was with her when she died. I held her while she left this world. It was hard. Anyone who has ever told you that owning a dog is all fetch, love, and snuggles lied. There are challenges, there can be health issues, there is always death. Being with your pet through all of those things is part of your promise, your commitment to them. They need you.
You might think that suffering this loss would make me apprehensive about continuing to work in animal rescue, but it does not. It makes me motivated to work harder and do better so another animal like Luke gets to live. I will not let his death be for nothing. I will save lives in his honor.
If you adopt a dog and you cannot keep it, please think twice before taking the easy way out. There are options for you to re-home your pet without putting their life in danger. Yes, they are harder on you because they take more time and work; but their life is worth it. Don't let what happened to Luke happen to an animal you have made a promise to.