Except for those cases where photo evidence is needed for cruelty charges, I don't have the heart to point my camera at dying or suffering dogs. I think it's unnecessary and rather exploitive and we see far too much of that in the constant "Save This Dog!" posts that get cross posted round and round and jam our mailboxes. But I bit the bullet and took this photo of Miss Birdy when she first came to us, hoping we'd be able to post it with a happy ending at some point. We are.
Birdy was found as a starving stray in late October - a Halloween skeleton, barely making it down a street in Oakland. A very lost dog or the victim of the foreclosure trends in Oakland? Possibly. Her finder was on her way to work, but pulled over without a second thought. She phoned for a friend to bring kibble - hurry! - and laid a bread crumb trail back to her car. Miss Birdy happily obliged and pulled herself in to the car, nearly dead from the starvation. (photo below after a week of food, if you know what I mean)
She did a detour in the parking lot of Oakland Animal Services where an officer winked the finder off to Berkeley Animal Care Services. And so off she went to BACS and then to our barn to enjoy many, many tiny meals, warm raincoats and new friendships.
We hold our breath with dogs like this. She's a senior dog with a list of health issues, and we won't know 'who she is' until she feels better. Will she die on our watch? Will we have to make a difficult decision and let her go? How much should we budget for her care? How long will she need us and how do we plan for her? A veterinary exam revealed that Birdy has lymphoma, and while she isn't suffering, her days would be limited. Weeks? Months? A year or more? All we knew is that Birdy was very very grateful for any and all attention. She gained weight, demanded affection and even flirted a bit with the boy dogs. The longer she was with us, the more we realized we were helping a living dog, not a dog who needed us to fuss over her end.
Here's the happy part -- And where I can finally justify taking that awful photo when Birdy was at her worst. The former street stray went home yesterday, and her adopter Anneke is just thrilled about her new pet. She asked, "What should I feed her?" My answer: "Anything she wants." They shared a burger on her way home from the barn, and we're quite sure they're going to be living a very, very nice life together. Miss Birdy is home and all is right with the world.
With many thanks to Erin G. for saving this girl when so many others kept on driving.
More (early) photos of Miss Birdy here from the very talented creator of the Love and a Six Foot Leash blog Thanks again, Aleksandra.
Anneke has promised us a blog of Miss Birdy's exploits, so we'll post that link here if and when she does. And more early niblets of our team helping Birdy get acclimated are lined up in our Barn Dog Blog.