Tribute to a Shelter Dog

buddy250x167Bill & I recently said our final goodbye to our beloved senior lab, Buddy. We knew this day was coming but it was still hard to say goodbye. Buddy died peacefully in our arms.

Several years ago we had to put to sleep our dog, Candy. We had decided to honor her memory by adopting a shelter dog. I had contacted our local animal control officer and found out our city did not have a shelter. I had told her what had happened and what we wanted to do. She recommended a nearby shelter that she had worked at previously for 13 years. She made several suggestions to us regarding adopting. She suggested getting a black dog since more black dogs are put to sleep. She also said don’t rule out a dog that doesn’t jump to the door of the kennel for attention and also look for a dog who’s time is almost up.

Armed with this knowledge, we headed to the shelter. We found this skinny odd looking black lab mix in the back of the kennel on a rug because he had kennel sores. He had all three of the strikes against him that the animal control officer told us to consider—black, disinterested in visitors, little time left. We took him away from the shelter and walked him in the park on the grounds as she had suggested and he started to come out of his shell. We took him home. We did not know at the time what a gift we had been given.

The unwanted shelter dog who’s life would have been wasted had he been euthanized has touched so many and given so much. The dog we rescued from the shelter became the rescuer. He helped a grieving family over the loss of our Candy. Later he became a mentor and teacher to the young foster dogs we brought into our home. He was a friend and buddy to our family and the dogs we have adopted. In cases of emergency, he was a blood donor to our vet and gave life saving blood to help sick and injured dogs in need.

Although our loss is great, we had almost eight years with Buddy. A life that could have ended in the shelter, but he gave so much to so many. Through the pain and sorrow of losing Candy, we found great joy in the adoption of our shelter dog, Buddy! Although we will always miss Buddy, we want to thank him for the love, joy, and friendship he gave to us all. Rest in peace our beloved Buddy!

–Debbie Umstead

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