WE HAVE RECENTLY RECEIVED MANY BEAUTIFUL STORIES FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE ADOPTED DOGS FROM US. WE’D LIKE TO SHARE SOME OF THEM WITH YOU.
On a recent Sunday morning, I received a phone call from JP Novic, Executive Director of CAPE, checking in on my family regarding the CZU fires ravaging Northern Santa Cruz County. I asked how the animals at the Sanctuary were doing and JP said while they did not need to evacuate this time, they have been practicing and running through their evacuation plan in preparation. The hardest animals to load happen to be the donkeys; apparently loading up and moving out is not in their game-plan. With practice however, their load up time has gotten faster and faster.
JP and I acknowledged that there has been so much already this year that we didn’t anticipate, ask for, or even imagine could happen: A global pandemic, shelter in place orders, devastating business and job losses, and catastrophic fires that obliterated homes and changed lives forever. JP asked how my own health was faring given my diagnosis of Lupus about two years ago and that it seemed the “sky truly is falling” and we are “living in such a surreal time”. And just when you thought life couldn’t get even more uncanny, I shared that I was recently given a lay-off notice that my position has been cut and my last day is about a month away. Despite these topics, our conversation was rich with generous and grateful laughter. We both commented about how thankful we are for the family we have to lean on. Sometimes, even in what appears to be the worst situation, laughter is not only all you can do, but it may be the best thing to do.
My spirit and humor remain intact largely as a result of a mighty eight-and-a-half-pound terror (I mean, terrier). Although, I had previously adopted a dog from CAPE in 1996 (Sammy, an amazing Doberman-mix with neurological issues who never let his challenges stop him from embracing life), “Cricket”, a terrier/chihuahua mix, was going to be my first CAPE foster. Cricket was originally surrendered to the local animal shelter where I volunteer, due to his chronic skin issues/allergies that the owner could no longer manage.
Cricket was a bald, bloody, and scabby mess, but you could tell he had been well-loved. At the time Cricket came into the Shelter, there was an outbreak of kennel cough and with Cricket’s pre-existing conditions and the Shelter trying to free up kennel space to prevent more dogs from getting kennel cough, the Shelter reached out to CAPE for a foster and I volunteered. It didn’t take long to become a “foster failure”; I officially adopted Cricket in January of 2016. While he still has chronic allergies and is on daily medication, his fur is now soft and lush; this tiny, little dog is a big fire-cracker. In fact, it is his fiery spirit that helps keep me going and is a true life-saver.
While the CZU fires were raging and ash was raining all over Santa Cruz County, we were put on alert that more dry-lightning strikes were headed our way. After seeing the devastation that the first round of electrical storms caused and how quickly the flames spread, my folks and I packed in case we needed to evacuate. I, of course, gathered important documents like insurance paperwork, passport, and birth certificate, but realized that what was taking up the most room in my bin and bags were clearly the items that I treasured the most: Collars from dogs that had already passed on, framed photos of the dogs that I have been blessed to share my life with, ashes from my dearly departed “Rio” who left us suddenly and tragically, and, of course, Cricket’s stuffed bear, his blanket given to him by the ladies at the Shelter, and the meds he takes to help with his allergies which were exasperated by the very fires we were now packing up to potentially have to flee from.
While Cricket’s cough from the smokey air still lingers, we are thankful that despite everything going on in the world these days, we are relatively ok. Because of Cricket and the joy he brings by just being himself, I am comforted. So, to you World (not that we want any more drama or challenges anytime soon), I am letting you know that I, too, won’t go easily and you’ll have to load me up last, right beside the donkeys and my little eight-and-a-half-pound side-kick who continues to keep laughter and love a glow.
Written by the wonderful Heather Harris
1/1/2021 11:26:29 am
Don't forget me! i am still waiting for a companion, friend and anything else nice. I want a med-small dog.I am a senior and at home most of the time. Lynne
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“"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr