One thing our rescue works very hard at is being transparent. We are a mostly volunteer organization and do our best to be honest in our communications and show the realities of rescue. As such, we’ve decided to share one story that shows what life is truly like for those of us dedicated to animal rescue.
We got a call one day about a shelter that was flooding in Weslaco, TX. The water was septic and the kennels had standing water in them. It didn’t matter why this happened we just knew that we needed to help, and we needed to act fast. A boat and van were quickly arranged to get the dogs to safety. Dallas Dog took in about 30 dogs from this shelter and sent them all to loving foster homes to decompress and heal before finding their furever families. Videos of this dramatic rescue are in the comments.
We got a call one day about a shelter that was flooding in Weslaco, TX. The water was septic and the kennels had standing water in them. It didn’t matter why this happened we just knew that we needed to help, and we needed to act fast. A boat and van were quickly arranged to get the dogs to safety. Dallas Dog took in about 30 dogs from this shelter and sent them all to loving foster homes to decompress and heal before finding their furever families.
One of these dogs was named Ember, or Embry as we liked to call her, and we were her foster family. Embry was the essence of love. She was shy, but sweet and trusting. She had no reason to be either of these things. She was severely underweight. She was a young dog but had already had puppies. Her hip had been injured at some point (maybe a car?) and no one helped her, so she hopped when she walked. She was rescued by boat from a flooding kennel. As her foster family, we looked forward to her transformation and made it our responsibility to care for her and rebuild her trust. Dallas Dog was going to be there every step of the way providing food and medical care and anything else she may need.
I took her to the vet because something seemed off. The vet transferred her to the emergency vet where she spent two nights. We suspected tick disease. I was worried sick about her and thrilled when we got the call to pick her up. We felt like she could finally take the first step in her journey home. We started to wonder after all she’d been through if we should make her part of our family. Most of all, we thought we had more time with her.
Just one day after bringing her home from the ER, she started twitching. My stomach dropped and I immediately took her to the ER. I called the Dallas Dog medical team on the way. I knew what was happening but that didn’t stop the tears from flowing with the vet said it was distemper. DISTEMPER.
My poor, sweet Embry had been exposed to distemper during the emergency transport out of the shelter. She had been a stray and hadn’t been vaccinated. She was now suffering from a deadly (and preventable) disease. Without hesitation, the Dallas Dog President, Patti, told the vet to do whatever they could to save her. Money was never a question and she was to receive the best possible care. After two more days, I was told she could go home for monitoring. I couldn’t wait to pick her up.
In the 30 minutes it took me to get there, she took a turn for the worse. Upon arrival, I was told Embry wouldn’t make it.
She was too young; she deserved more time. Patti was in constant communication with me throughout the night, even though she was transporting a car full of dogs she had just rescued from south Texas and was in and out of cell reception. Together, we made the decision to let Embry go. Patti called the vet for me; I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud. Once I finally composed myself enough, I went out to the front of the emergency vet. Someone in the waiting room was wearing a Dallas Dog t-shirt. I’d never met her before. I was clearly upset and told her I was a Dallas Dog volunteer and that Embry had just died. Despite just meeting, she gave me the hug only a fellow rescuer could give and sat with me and talked. Dallas Dog volunteers are always there for you.
Despite it approaching midnight on a Tuesday, Patti came to the vet’s office as soon as she could and reassured me that I did my best for Embry. She told me that Embry was loved. And cared for. And that I couldn’t have been a better foster to her. She instructed the emergency vet staff to make two paw prints, one for her and one for me. Embry’s LIFE mattered and we would remember her.
For a dog like Embry, a few weeks as part of our family was probably her only happiness in life and whatever heartbreak we may feel from losing her, we take comfort in knowing the fight to help her changed her life in the end.
Since Embry never officially got her family, we claim her as our own. She has her own ornament for our tree, just like all the other family dogs. She’s been gone for 2 years now and it’s still painful but knowing Dallas Dog is still rescuing more dogs like Embry gives us hope.
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