It’s funny writing a book so that you can make a quarterly donation to a non-profit. I would never, ever have written my new book had it not been for wanting to help the owner be able to keep his head above water and rescue more dogs.
So now there’s this book and the rescue shelter is having their last adoption event tomorrow. By the end of the month the building will be empty.
There were so many times I wanted to stop helping, to get a real job and have the money for traveling or medical emergencies, or to give away. We are ill-prepared for retirement. Many seniors are. I’ve never been a dog person and I know God has a sense of humor having me of all people write about dogs and their humans for five years.
This week we went and took down the quilt that has graced the walls of NEW PAWSibilities Dog Rescue in Oshkosh, WI. The room is filled with echos and memories. The leashes, collars, bed, photo studio, and more are gone. They are in trailers or have been donated to other rescues or even to people as a lovely parting gift when they adopt a dog.
This is not a good photo. I have the perfect spot in the house to hang this once I figure out how I want it mounted. Then each morning as I walk down the stairs to feed the dog, to take him out for his morning pee, to watch him chase the squirrel who has been waiting for him, I will look to my left and see the quilt. I will marvel that for five years I helped the little rescue that could. I was their marketing steam.
I want to give a huge thank you to Beverly Yoder Harrison and her husband Nick Harrison for the gift of friendship and encouragement.
I Chose You, Imperfectly Perfect Rescue Dogs and Their Humans
I think we all go through times at our jobs or just getting through life where we wonder if we can actually do this anymore. The rescue world is hard work. Don’t get me wrong. It’s satisfying to know that your unique abilities are saving lives and helping families. But the work never seems to end and you certainly don’t go into the animal wellness field for the money.
The year 2020 was challenging for all of us in different ways. In March that year I was sick for the first time in a couple of decades. I didn’t do the smart thing and rest as much as I needed. There’s such a sense of urgency about making sure that these dogs find families that I kept going even when I knew I should not write one more bio or post or email. And then I hit a wall.
I now know my husband and I both had COVID.
I started thinking that maybe I needed to find a job that paid more. I still think of my life in terms of before and after, and after-wreck-me isn’t paid nearly as much as before-wreck-me.
My husband had cancer and he had surgery a week after our state went into lockdown. Cancer is not only scary, but it’s a money sucker. And then there’s that whole thing about will he be able to work again, and how will I pay all these bills? Hence the “Maybe I should get a new job and let someone else take over what I do” discussion.
So there I was, coughing and stressed and worried, with a headache so bad that I thought I had brain tumor. I started seriously thinking about what else I would do. I asked God for a sign, the whole fleece thing. I didn’t get a sign, so I kept working. Then I asked God for a sign. Again.
I have a friend in Oregon who is married to a quilter. She’s like the Rembrandt of quilters. I’ve known Nick for years. He and Bev took a road trip in 2019 and somehow arranged their itinerary to come to see us in Oshkosh. I’d like to think it was all about me, but they really wanted to meet Coconut from all my Facebook stories.
At the time, I was working on a fundraiser, and Bev and I talked about a donated quilt being a wonderful auction item. The timing was wrong and, to be honest, I forgot about it. And then life started falling apart. Until I asked God for a sign.
The day after my second “Give me a sign” plea I came home to a box on the porch. Bev never forgot us! Her handwritten note ended with these words. “Keep it yourself or donate it to a fundraiser—you have my blessing to do either one. God Bless.” It didn’t take long for me to decide what to do, and you probably won’t be surprised where the sign is hanging.
When God gives you such a huge and beautiful sign, you can’t ignore it—so I’m still writing bios, grants, social media, and being the mastermind behind fundraising events. The quilt is on loan and hanging in the lobby for people to enjoy when they come in to meet our dogs.
This book is for every person who ever dreamed of rescuing dogs on a large or small scale. It’s for those who are underpaid, for those who drive hours to bring dogs to safety, for vets who help the homeless and abused. There’s never enough staff, volunteers, food, or money to pay the rent and keep on the lights. Most rescues do not have deep- pocket donors. Whether they are a brick-and-mortar facility or they foster dogs in homes, there is never ever enough.
Thank you to everyone who works to change even one dog’s future.