By Lisa Marie Tabor
I met Betty a little over a year ago where we had had found one another on FaceBook, sharing common interests such as playing games and chatting every so often. Throughout the year we shared our lives with one another and became close. When I had learned that Betty's grandchildren lived with her despite a limited income, I knew that she was a kindhearted person who went out of her way to help others. She widely read a lot of the animal welfare issues that I would post on Face Book. I often took advantage of my account profile to gently educate others on the well-being of animals. It was during this year our acquaintance made for a genuine friendship rather than just a "cyber" social contact between the two of us.
One day, a few weeks before Christmas, I received an unexpected email from Betty. This was not one of our usual "so how are you doing?" kind of emails. Rather, Betty had wrote on that chilly day she decided to visit Fred's department store in the little town of Trenton, Georgia, where she resides. She is hardly among the well off, retired and living on a pathetically small fixed income as a result of having cancer, she none the less was determined to finish her Christmas shopping. While at the cash register paying for her purchases she had observed two young girls each holding a puppy up to the window from outside. They were apparently, demanding the cashier's attention.
The "air was as cold as an ice cube outside" Betty explained, saying she was curious why such tiny puppies would be in the hands of the little girls and questioning why anyone would ignore their pleas for help. She said it was evident the cashier had no interest while shaking her head no to the girls, continuing on with her business, quickly ringing up Betty's few items. Betty said she saw how delightful the tiny puppies were and thought how much her Granddaughter would love to have one.
After gathering her few gifts Betty walked out of Fred's Department Store. When approaching the sidewalk one of the little girls, hanging ever so carefully on to one of the wiggly pups, asked her if she would like one. Betty said that with much curiosity, she walked over to get a closer look at one of the delicate little puppies. She asked where they had got them. The little girls replied that a man just a few stores down had a box full of them and didn't know what he was going to do with them. Betty said of this moment, "I could only predict that they would end up at the local shelter and be euthanized, as if they were just something to be thrown away."
Despite knowing she had very little income, Betty decided to open her heart and help one of the tiny little puppies. "The adoring innocent brown puppy, ever so wiggly with his big eyes looking up at her was irresistible" she said. She took him home with her, not knowing how she would provide for him, but believing in her heart this was a kind gesture to do for the puppy and vowing to find a way to give him a loving and quality life.
Even though Betty felt a bit embarrassed, she would not allow her pride to get in the way of seeking help. Knowing that I worked to help the less fortunate animals, she asked me to send out an email to my network of animal welfare friends and rescues, seeking assistance for her. She wanted to get started soon so she could provide the required necessities for the puppy.
I immediately sent one out a request, explaining Betty's situation. We both thought that the first response would be from an animal rescue or an organization. However that was not the case and within that same day a kind gentleman, whom I have known for many years, responded offering to help her. Bob, living in Illinois, miles away from Betty and knowing her about as much as he knew a stranger walking down the street, was delighted to help her with the puppy.
It was no surprise when Bob offered to help. He realized that Betty, who found it in her heart to rescue a puppy, was a wonderful person, considering her limited income. He knew if not for Betty, the little puppy was doomed to end up at the local animal shelter (sure death), or on a research table (sure death after terrible suffering) as the nearly as 100,000 dogs experience each year. Also when people give away dogs free to just anyone without checking references there is a possibility that the person that takes the animal is a licensed USDA "B" Dealer. They then proceed to sell the animals for a nice profit to research labs. The puppy might also have ended up in the hands of the dog fighters as they look for free puppies to use as "bait animals" . They use the puppies as bait animals while training dogs to kill, getting them ready for the next dog fight.
Bob felt that with the millions of animals being killed in pounds and humane societies each year, thanks to the irresponsible people who don't spay or neuter their pets, it was a blessing to hear of someone willing to give a loving home to one of these unfortunate puppies.
Being a long time animal welfare lobbyist, Bob knew the possibilities of any of these situations happening from his experience working with animals. According to author Crystal Miller-Spiegel from the American Antivivisection Society, an animal advocacy and educational organization in the United States dedicated to ending experimentation on animals in research, in her story "The Use of Dogs in Laboratory Experiments in the U.S.", she explains that "approximately 77,906 dogs were used in or bred for laboratory experiments in 2002."
As soon as Bob read of this story and learned what kind of help Betty needed, he began searching online for the best possible dog house. One that could be used at the moment and also when the puppy was full grown. It was not a big deal to do this for Betty because Bob said he felt she was giving a needy puppy a home and he had the ability to help provide what Betty could not.
After going to his local Pet-Smart, he had the dog house delivered to her home in the small town of Trenton, miles away from his own state. When it arrived Betty said it was perfect for the puppy and she shed tears of appreciation. Bob went beyond just getting Betty the dog house and also decided to call her local vet and arrange for puppy shots, a heartworm test and heartworm preventative. All of this was a wonderful contribution to a little life that had no idea how lucky he was and how unlucky he could have been.
All that Bob was providing were things money could buy. On the other hand, Bob said "Betty provided the really important things which are a home, security and love." All the things that are really important for one little puppy that had started his life in a cardboard box.
Three people, living in different areas of the United States, worked together to help one homeless puppy, sitting in a box, to have a chance at a happy and love filled life.
Today, just a few months later, the puppy is living happy and protected with his new pet-parent, Betty and her Granddaughter. They feel they are both blessed and grateful to have received the assistance from a man they never met and to have the chance to love a special pup called '"Bear."
Miller-Spiegel, Crystal. "The Use of Dogs in Experiments in the US : AAVS."
Working to End
Written By Lisa Marie Tabor [email protected]
Editor, Linda Beane
Please send comments and submittals to
the Editor: Linda Beane [email protected]
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