What does courage mean to you?

September 2, 2011

“Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!”
                                      – The Cowardly Lion, “The Wizard Of Oz”

Courage, bravery, fearlessness, love of family. Animals exhibit courage when they are protecting those they love. We hear stories of animals that run to wake up their sleeping owners when a fire breaks out, or dogs that protect their home when a burglar breaks in. They love us and protect us. And some of these animals have a horrific past which they have overcome. They are no longer victims, but survivors. They show a great will to live, or a great determination to overcome difficulties and carry on.

There was a recent story on the news about a Pit Bull who was rescued from a dog fighting ring. He was in the car with his foster parent when a man tried to car jack them. He barked at the man, scaring him enough to run away. He protected the person who was teaching him to be a survivor. He had courage.

A few months ago, a dog was adopted from our shelter to live with his forever home. He loved them instantly, and when a man came to the door with the intent to cause trouble, he stepped between his owner and the door, not allowing her to open it. She believes he may have saved her life. He also had courage.

Sometimes courage is silent. Sometimes it is just the will to live and survive that makes an animal courageous. Letty, a Pit Bull who had been used as a bait dog for dog fighting in her past, was stolen one day from the shelter. She was found months later, tied to a tree, emaciated. The people who found her brought her to us, and upon recognizing the people here who loved her, wagged her tail. She had a strong will to survive. She gained her weight back, loved her foster mother, and couldn’t wait to come back to the shelter to be a customer service dog. Every day that Letty was here she wagged her tail, smiled and simply loved. She met her forever family, fell in love with them and went home. She is no longer a victim, but a survivor. She has courage.
                                                       – Heather Kite, KHS Animal Welfare Coordinator