One of my fondest memories growing up was the time I spent with my Mom-mom. She was a wonderful woman who loved her family and adored her grandchildren. But, what made Mom-mom so special is that she also had an uncanny love for animals. When we were kids she would always tell us, “Never trust a person who doesn’t love dogs.” I suppose that advice truly stuck with me, and her love of animals has become a right of passage in our family—both immediate and extended.
When I think about her now, I’m reminded of her passion for people and animals, and it pushes me to be a better person from one day to the next. I’m not quite there yet, but I try to help out as much as I can, and it almost feels like I’m honoring her life in the process. Since she passed, I feel the love and desire to help animals; its one that she so graciously passed along to all of us. I suppose that’s why we have so many animals of our own.
Since we’ve collected so many herding dogs, my wife and I have developed a true love for those breeds in particular. Although we love all dogs, all breeds, and have a deep respect for all animals, these dogs seem to light up our lives every single day. Even our Aussie, Lee-C, who is extremely reactive and difficult to train, has wormed her way into our hearts—cute little nub tail and all.
And, in fact, we recently acquired a rescue dog named Casper who is also an Australian Shepherd.
I suppose I should introduce our friendly Australian Shepherd, Casper, since I have yet to include him in this blog. When we acquired him, we had planned to foster for several months until he found a home. But, we fell in love with him. I don’t think we can bear to part with our brown-eyed baby, who is nine years old but still behaves like a sweet little puppy.
Truth be told, these types of dogs aren’t for everybody. My Border Collie, Eddie, holds a very special place in my heart, but even working with him took a lot of time, dedication, exercise, and patience! They’re intelligent, sentinel, and exceptional animals. Just like our Australian Shepherds, and they’ve brought us more love and happiness than I could ever explain.
We found Casper through an incredible non-profit organization called Australian Shepherds Furever. It’s a small organization, and the employees who work there are all volunteer based, which means they make no money—at all. Day-in and day-out these dogs are rescued, rehabed, vetted, transported, fostered, and eventually adopted to the right family. It’s not a perfect science, mostly because there are some dishonorable people out there who take in dogs and then fail to care for them adequately, abuse them, or simply refuse to pay their adoption fees. It’s really quite sad considering all the sacrifices these women make on a daily basis to care for hundreds—if not thousands-—of stranded animals.
We have been so impressed with the devotion and tenacity that these women put forth to rescue helpless animals in very dire situations. And, I can honestly tell you from experience that rescue dogs are by far the best animals to bring into a loving home—but only for the right owners. I won’t bog you down with details about what constitutes the “right” home for an Australian Shepherd or any other herding dog for that matter. But, I will outline some of the many hurdles that organizations like ASF face each time they rescue an animal and provide medical, behavioral, and homing services.
As many of you know, LB and I decided to donate money in honor of each guest who attended our wedding to two very special causes that are close to our hearts—Autism Speaks and the Australian Shepherds Furever foundation. When we made our initial donation, the CEO of the organization gave us the incredible honor of sharing our names with two of their newest rescues.
Ironically, the rescue dog they named after me was pregnant with a litter of puppies.
She had been mistreated, malnourished, and neglected. The entire litter of puppies was born healthy. When their foster family took them to the vet to get their shots, the parvo shot had an adverse effect. Now, all of the pups have the disease, which is extremely deadly for any dog, let alone newborn pups.
When ASF took them to the vet, they found that the cost associated with their treatment was $1,500 per puppy. There were ten of them. I’m no mathematician, but that’s a lot of dollars. People have donated small amounts and large amounts, whatever they can afford, and those donations have gone a long way. But, not nearly long enough. The first puppy to be born, Uno, died quickly after he was diagnosed with the deadly disease, and his sister Raine died shortly after. Now, there are eight puppies left.
If you aren’t familiar with the association, you don’t know how heartbreaking these losses are for the women who spend their hard-earned money and precious time trying to save as many dogs as possible. For the most part, every single dog that is rescued was put in harm’s way by their owners. Perhaps it’s because of irresponsible breeding, neglect, abuse, or just down right cruelty. I can’t really wrap my head around it, but it’s really gut-wrenching to imagine how someone could be so cruel to an innocent animal. For the dogs who don’t need behavioral therapy due to the trauma they’ve endured, they are so grateful when they’re finally rescued. But, rescuing thousands of dogs requires money—lots of it.
Here’s the thing, I’m aware that not everyone cares about helping animals—although I’m not sure why you are still reading this blog if that pertains to you. But, we do. And, these women do. This organization does. They’ve made it their entire life. In fact, it dominates every minute, every hour, and every day of their lives.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So, here I am…talking. And, I’m going to keep talking. Because there are so many incredibly giving, kind, and gracious people out there who just aren’t aware that these kinds of problems exist.
So, without further ado, and to avoid manipulating you with the lyrics from In The Arms Of The Angel, I just have one small request. Please, please, please share this blog post. Visit their site. Visit their Facebook page and like it. Share it. If you have the means, even if it’s five dollars, please donate to this organization so that we can save the remaining puppies. These little babies were born with a disease that will kill them if not treated immediately.
I’m not asking that you donate large sums of money—although I will love you FUREVER and ever if you do—but I am asking that you check out their work, consider making a donation, and keep these puppies in your thoughts an prayers. Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” What better way to counteract all of the hatred and cruelty that plagues our world today? Let’s move our moral progress to the next level.
You can visit the Australian Shepherds Furever website at http://www.australianshepherdsfurever.org, and make a donation directly through the site or through paypal. You can also visit their Facebook page and make a donation there. A little bit goes a long way. Thanks for reading, and I hope you can contribute in some way—be it through sharing, writing , fostering, adopting— or most importantly—donating to help save these incredible dogs from a life that no living creature should have to endure.
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” –Immanual Kant