How much sadness can one heart take? When you work in the animal sheltering and rescue business, you regularly ask yourself this question. Each upsetting incident feels like the breaking point. My heart is aching today for the staff of Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue who fought hard to save the life of a BIG LOVE of a dog, 9-year-old Jake who developed pneumonia and passed away last night. Jake was given a chance because he was rescued by DVGRR instead of an animal shelter where he certainly would have been euthanized due to lack of space or funding to get him treatment.  My heart aches constantly for the staff of animal shelters who need to euthanize daily because of overcrowding.

I’m sad for my friend, Sarah, who was Jake’s handler at a recent Meet and Greet day at DVGRR. She fell in love with him in the short few hours that she spent with him. I was in Sarah’s shoes several times, once for Brandi an older dog who was blind and diabetic and another time for Rusty.  I wanted to adopt both of them but my house has multiple levels and lots of steps, and wasn’t the best place for these dogs.  Both of them passed away at DVGRR, Brandi from her difficult-to-control diabetes and Rusty needed to be euthanized because of aggression issues that arose. DVGRR fought hard for these two dogs, as they do for all of the dogs who come there. I still feel very guilty that I couldn’t adopt these dogs and it’s a hurt that will stay with me always.

Just when you think your heart is incurably broken and you need to walk away from this business, something rewarding happens and reaffirms why you continue: a special needs dog get adopted, a pair of elderly dogs find a home together, a puppy mill survivor overcomes fear and learns to trust, a large donation comes in to help pay the bills.

Please, everyone who loves animals, dig into your pockets and donate to your rescue/shelter of choice. With the poor economy, donations are way down but sadly, turn-ins are up because people can no longer afford to keep their pets. This month, I decided to delay turning on my heat in my house as long as possible and the money I save will go to DVGRR towards Jake’s vet bills which are significant. Wearing four layers of clothes tonight when the temperature is supposed to go into the 30’s is a small sacrifice.  What are you willing to give up to help the animals?