Celebrating National Rescue a Dog Day
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” -Josh Billings
After rescuing 3 dogs now, I have never felt so connected to a quote. The love of a dog is unmatched, and oftentimes undeserving. This rings especially true with rescue dogs. If you have ever rescued an animal, you understand how thankful they are to be a part of your life.
My dog growing up was from a breeder, and she was a wonderful addition to our family. Since then, I have taken on many rescue dogs. Today we celebrate National Dog Rescue Day, and I want to focus on the feelings of love and gratitude that accompany rescuing a dog.
I rescued my first two dogs about 8 years ago. Both of them were in a situation in which they were headed to the pound when their previous owner did not want them anymore. For a girl from out of college and trying to take on the world, Jack was the best friend I could ask for. Jack was used to being confined to a small space in a house, but with his newfound freedom and constant cuddles had him wanting to be the best-behaved dog in the world. He was so sweet to everyone and everything he came into contact with. He had a big bark and I always felt safe with him by my side. Jack passed away from a brain tumor in 2017, and could not be missed more.
Jetta is now 16 years old, and living her best life by my side. She has been through 6 moves with me, and is the most sassy sweetheart I have ever met. On the day that I got engaged to my now husband, she was right there to share in that as well. I knew I had made the right choice in saying yes when my now husband carried her across the bridge because she didn’t want to walk on the uneven ground afterwards. Both dogs have been such a constant joy in my life (and my husband’s!). They have heard me laugh, cry, vent, sing, and yell. Through each emotion and life event they have stuck by my side, listening intently, never asking anything in return.
My third rescue, and my husband’s first rescue is a bit of a different story, but the most fulfilling. I had been asking for another dog sibling for Jetta, and I had finally worn my husband Zach down. We saw a scrawny little coonhound online that went by the name “Bones” and something inside told us told to go check him out. We bought all of the supplies needed for another dog just in case we fell in love with him. This poor 1 year old dog was found out behind a jail and was extremely emaciated at only 23 pounds. It took 4 rescuers to catch him, and he spent almost 3 months being nursed back to a state where he was even adoptable.
As soon as Zach and I met him at the rescue we both fell head over in heels in love. He was so silly and wanted to play so badly! We signed the papers and brought him home with us that evening, renaming him Cole on the way home.
It was very clear from the very first evening that Cole had never been inside of a house and was definitely not used to human touch or affection. We think he was left outside, chained, and was never cared for. He spent the entire first night crying (as did we) and would not let us near to pet him. He ate every meal like it was his very first and last meal. The only things he seemed to enjoy was running around, chasing things, and making a mess. We then found out he was heartworm positive. Having heartworms is a deadly disease for dogs which is very expensive and difficult to treat. We were faced with the challenge of treating him for heartworm, having to keep him calm throughout that 3-month process, training him, and getting him to trust us.
When he knew it was his Forever Home
The road was long and tiring, but many months down the road we finally hit a huge milestone. Cole got up on the sofa, and instead of sitting just far enough away from us, he laid his head on my lap. The feeling was indescribable, and I still get emotional thinking about it. As the years went on, Cole not only learned what human love was, but he was great at learning manners. It got better every day. Cole went from a scared, sad, and malnourished problem pup to a healthy, happy, 60-pound ball of fun.
Cole now loves belly rubs, having his ears rubbed, going to the dog park, and getting his zoomies out in our backyard. His favorite hobbies are wrestling, playing tug and chase, and getting lovies. Cole is a completely changed dog from the day that we rescued him, the only thing remaining is his sweeter than pie personality. We can tell how thankful he is to be with us, and coming home every day to him and Jetta is a feeling like no other. No matter how long we have been gone, they still greet us at the door like their entire world just brightened. In turn, they brighten ours every single day.
If you have ever thought about rescuing a dog, I promise you it is worth it. You will never have a better friend than in a rescue dog. Sometimes it’s easy, and other times the dogs need more patience, but either way it is well worth the journey. Please contact our local shelters for information about rescuing a new love or consider volunteering:
T Russell Reitz Animal Shelter: 785-587-2783
Riley County Humane Society: 785-776-8433
Purple Power Animal Welfare Society: 785-844-9199