There is one dog in this world, though, who inhabits a unique place in my life and my heart. His name is Tristan. I met him only once, almost exactly a year ago, and I doubt I'll ever see him in person again. He has, however, affected me in a way that few others have in my lifetime.
|My mother's pal, Jumpin' Jack|
My interaction with Tristan literally lasted about five minutes or so and yet that dog haunted me. I knew he was on his way to safety, he had a foster home to live in until he was adopted, but I couldn't get that face out of my mind. What in the world had someone done to him to make him that scared? And what would become of him?
Thoughts of that shell-shocked dog might have continued to overwhelm my thoughts if not for a tragedy that ocurred just a week later. I received an e-mail on the morning of March 1 from my mother. I knew there was trouble when it started "I feel like I can hardly breathe." There had been a fire the night before at the home of Shannon DeBra, the founder of Recycled Doggies. In all about a dozen dogs and one cat were killed, including Jumpin' Jack. (Two dogs who survived later had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries.) My sister wrote a lovely tribute, with all the details, on her blog here.
|St. Jimmi, settling into her new home|
In the months to come I would see periodic updates about Tristan on the Recycled Doggies Facebook page, enough that I was reassured he was being loved and cared for. His foster mom, the divine Lori, officially adopted him last fall. Only someone with her kind of patience could have helped him make the progress he has. She has dealt with his night terrors, his fear of leashes and strangers and going outside. Lori has a website chronicling her weight loss efforts, through which she is raising money for Recycled Doggies. Please check out the page she has dedicated to Tristan here. There is a special place in hell for any person who would abuse a dog so badly.
|Tristan with his Christmas present|
from "Aunt Shannon".
|Christmas flowers from Tristan.|
This dog was labeled "unadoptable" and was literally hours away from death when Lori stepped in to save him. He's been abused and traumatized. And a year after his rescue he is one of the most-loved dogs on the planet, by those who connect with him in person and by those of us who adore him from afar. Happy Valentine's Day!
|Tristan and siblings playing with|
his Valentine gift.
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