A Love Story
by Gale Landingham

(thirteenth article)

I received an e-mail at 6 a.m. on August 31, from a woman asking to foster a timid, shy 6-month-old dog at Mat-Su Shelter. It was Wednesday, the shelter's scheduled euthanasia day. He was to be euthanized at 7 a.m. I didn't know this volunteer foster mom, but I'll use any excuse to save a life. I met one of the shelter staff at the gate as she was arriving for work, and she agreed to hold the dog.

Later, I discovered why this baby (his foster family named him Howie) had not been claimed by his family or taken by a rescue group. He had an eye condition called entropion eyelids - his eyelashes were growing inward rather than outwards, creating irritation and pain. Corrective surgery is about $240 per eyelid - more than rescue groups can allocate to a pet, and possibly the reason his family gave him up. My spirits sank. Howie needed a $500 surgery, as well as neutering.

My husband had already made pointed remarks about bills for critters we couldn't keep; this could be the last straw. The vet on duty that morning, Dr. Williams of the Palmer Veterinarian Clinic, had left me a note. He noticed this last minute save, and offered to perform the surgery at a discount. My heart skipped - veterinarians are already underpaid, and I wouldn't have dared ask for such a thing - and I left with a hopeful heart.

My friend, Leslie Rule of Rule's Rescues, took Howie in while I checked out the foster family. My visit with Darlene and her daughters at their home was comforting - it was clean, dog-friendly and they knew dogs - so I delivered Howie to them with confidence.

Dr. Williams saw Howie the next day, and scheduled surgery for the following week. I nearly cried when he offered to donate 75% of the cost for Howie's eyes and neutering. I added a request for donations to Howie's picture on the adoptafriend.net website. Within 8 days, three families donated enough to cover the bill, and the STOP program sent a $25 voucher for neutering.

Howie is all healed up now, playing like the puppy he is, and Darlene, his foster mom, found a wonderful home where they have kept their other furry family members until their passing of old age, and love him as we do already.

This child was an hour away from death - the shelter kept him 22 extra days, and had to schedule euthanasia when it became too crowded to justify keeping him any longer. After a lifetime of discomfort and poor eyesight, then a month in a cage, Howie has all he needs for a long, happy life, thanks to at least nine compassionate humans.

Rays of Hope is not a rescue organization, but has a vision of a harmonious world that embodies compassion and sustainability in every part of our living universe. It is in that context that Rays of Hope sponsors adoptafriend.net and provides adoption assistance. Funded only by private donations, Rays of Hope has sponsored 35 pets since April, all of whom were unclaimed, unable to go to rescue/foster homes and scheduled for euthanasia.

For these special cases, Rays of Hope pays rescue fees and, with the help of the STOP program and the SPCA, the cost for spaying or neutering. We ask only that a family donate what they can, and provide a safe, loving home. If you can provide a home or can make a donation, information is available at adoptafriend.net.

Past articles can be found at raysofhope.info. Gale Landingham is a member of Rays of Hope and can be reached at 841-0502.

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