Thunder’s Story

Part 1

Last summer I received a phone call and as she began her story, I filled in the details before she finished. Same story, different day. After hearing her tale of woe, I told her there were too many dogs in this area who needed help and three hours away was too far. She wouldn’t give up…and kept calling. The story was not good but predictable. Mom had lost her home, but dog was still locked in house..alone. He had one dog friend, but they found a home for him. Now the remaining one was in the dark, no heat, no water and alone…alone.

I hate these calls because I cannot let them go. So I called their local humane society which was also the pound.
They knew the dog…and the family. He was aggressive and had never seen a vet. Not good. So we went around and around and I asked it they local animal control person would at least go to the house and send me a video. She was kind enough to do so, and sent it to me. He snapped at her and she could not get near him but he was so pretty!! And , of course, my volunteers said we HAD to take him so he would not be put down. And we have taken many who were not handsome, but this one sure was a movie star.

I told the caller I was way too busy to drive three hours but I would consider taking him if she would deliver him. Of course, they had no car BUT found a person who gave all of them a ride.

It would take a long, long time to describe his arrival with the band of people. Lots of crying and promises to keep in touch, and of course we never heard from them again but I have zero expectations at this point, so was not surprised. They left amidst a flurry of tears and dramatics and I stood there with a dog who was glaring at me with crystal blue eyes and I really questioned my sanity.
I marched him into our “bunkhouse” which is heated and air conditioned and has a comfy sofa. He charged at some of the dogs through the fence and growled at everyone who looked at him. But oh, he was so gorgeous.

Weeks went by and we became friends of a sort. He trusted me because I fed him, but he did not like anyone else. In time he made friends with the husband of a friend of mine who bravely put him on a leash and ran him hard around the pond. Progress, for sure. Tiny steps, but momentous.
I took him to the vet. He was too thin, had hair loss from fleas, had to be neutered, get his shorts and be heart worm tested. So much to do. So much.

Socialization next.
The we let him out of his yard, put all of the dogs up and let him run behind the Gator. He seemed timid and would only go so far….and then he ran back to his “home.”
He started mellowing a bit and let another of our staff feed him other than me. Progress.
And then an application came through on Thunder. I read it and re read it. Seriously? They sounded sensible and dog smart. I warned them about all of his foibles. They understood and said, “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.” Encouraging.

So, the meet and greet happened. They were patient. Thunder surveyed them from his spot, looked at me, and back at them. Time passed and I left them alone. Thunder looked worried and watched me leave. But when I returned, his face had softened and he put one paw on the man’s knee. He even kissed the wife on her face.
Time for the next step. Put him on a leash and lead him to their car. The wife hugged me and thanked me for trusting them with Thunder.He got in their car voluntarily and once again, I stood at the gate, dust flying, watching yet another beloved friend leave my driveway but never my heart.
Fast forward. Here he is now…the wife is taking the picture. I got a text (many of them to be precise) but this was the last one. “Thunder is home. He is not coming back.”

So you see Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.

Part 2

It’s been a long day of dog rescue, and I am too tired to write about it but here is what I am going to write about.
Thunder. Do you remember him? The dog I swore I would not take? The dog who came to me last summer, growling, missing most of his hair, unpredictable, not neutered, no shots, no socialization and, of course, I took him anyway. That is one time I really questioned my sanity, something I should do daily.

If you go back and find him on my facebook page you will remember how gorgeous he was and still is. But looks can only take one so far, there really should be something more than on the surface and there was. It just took so much time and patience to find it.
Scroll ahead….he got adopted and I waited and waited for the bad news. Here are the calls and texts I dread…”This just isn’t working….we cannot have this..he is such a great dog…but” and on and on,
which is why I am accused of making it difficult to adopt a dog from here. I don’t want a dog to feel he has failed and believe me, they do feel that way. I do not want to look at their eyes and see their pain.

I heard my phone ding the other day and opened a picture of a gorgeous dog and a baby. I had to stop and look again…which dog was that? I then I read the accompanying text… “When our baby grand daughter was here for a week, Thunder guarded her and ran to her every time she cried. He is such a blessing.”
In truth, my eyes blurred. I thought back to the day he came, so broken, and I learned from him, as I have so many others, that love and time is the greatest gift we have to offer…

Maureen Cummins
Second Chance Animal Refuge Society

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