A Dual Journey to Healing

November 1, 2011

“There is no better psychiatrist in the world than a puppy licking your face.”- Ben Williams

Pets can ease our loneliness, reduce our stress, promote social interaction, encourage exercise and playfulness and provide us with unconditional love and affection. Rex, an American Shelter dog, is doing just that.

Randy and Dannielle lost Letty, their darling Pit Bull, on October 18, 2011. Letty was an amazing dog, and the love of their life. After Letty had survived so many setbacks in her life, there was one final one she could not overcome. It was heartbreaking for both her parents and all of us here at KHS who had loved her. It was clear to everyone that Letty had a purpose for being here. She had been placed on this earth to show us how to love and help others. And we all learned from her. But there is still pain, and numbness…

Rex came to KHS on March 25, 2011 with Ruby. This bonded pair was separated upon intake, and Ruby didn’t do well. She made a barricade and hid behind her bed. She was withdrawn and sad. It was then decided that the two be placed together in a joined kennel. Ruby was happy again, but it became a challenge for them to be adopted together.

They were protective of each other and barked at other dogs. They were hard to get out of the kennels together. It was thought they were related because of the way Rex protected Ruby. These dogs loved each other and we wanted them to find a home together. We created a love story about them, came up with promotions to get them adopted together, but here they sat. And then Ruby became sick.

Ruby started having small seizures, and as a volunteer was walking her one day she ran into a wall. We all became worried and our vet services department began watching her. Ruby’s condition worsened and we all knew it was her time to cross the Rainbow Bridge. With Rex at her side and her KHS family gathered around, she received lots of love and her favorite treat – peanut butter.

Rex was brought up to the customer service desk and we gave him a job to do. He became our greeter, and within a few days he flourished. He began to think of the customer service desk as his home, with plenty of “moms”. He has gained weight from all of the treats and napping on his bed. But what Rex really needs is his own home. That has been hard to find. Rex doesn’t like other male dogs, and is often protective of females. He has felt loss, and needs a sense of belonging.

Randy and Danielle came into the shelter yesterday to visit. They sat with Rex, and he gave them kisses as they hugged him. Was there a little bit of healing in those moments? Our KHS family felt there could be. Pets such as dogs and cats provide unconditional, non-judgmental love and affection. And pets can shift our narrow focus beyond ourselves, helping us to feel connected to a larger world.
They took Rex home yesterday. Not as an adoption, but as a cage break. He will give them the love they need and help them heal. He will help show them that they can remember Letty and share the love they have for her with other animals. In turn, we will learn about what kind of home Rex will need. Female only, married with no kids, or family friendly? They will help us with finding him his forever home by supplying us with updates on his progress. And while there, Rex will live in luxury. A couch of his own is one thing he has always wanted. He will have an amazing time with truly incredible people.

Immanuel Kant once said, “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

Randy and Dannielle must have beautiful hearts.
                                        – Heather Kite, KHS Shelter Director