Alice doesn’t live here anymore

Hot Off the Collar | Volume 5

I’ve been struggling to find something to write about for this month’s blog. It’s not because I lack subjects. Winter animal care, investigations, the generosity of our donors; I tried each topic but nothing felt perfect for Christmas.

Then came Alice.

Alice arrived on our doorstep 10 months ago, along with 8 other dogs that were rescued from a Korean dog meat farm.

Those last four words likely stopped you in your tracks; they did for me when I first learned of the situation. Naively, I had assumed the concept of dogs as food was some type of horrible myth.

It is not and we are one of many organizations working diligently to assist those rescuing these dogs. We’re committed to giving them a chance at life with a loving family in a forever home.

Which brings me back to Alice. She’s never experienced home. She started life in a tiny cage surrounded by rusted metal and dirty, damp hay. As soon as she was able, she became a breeder for an inconceivable and appalling industry. Then, she was saved from a horrendous fate and brought to North America but before she could find her family, she had to endure a long quarantine. Once her quarantine was complete, we thought she’d be home free. This small and beautiful German Shepherd had the sweetest disposition and we were certain it wouldn’t be long before we matched her up with someone. Unfortunately, she also tested positive for heartworm. That meant more isolation, limited exercise and several more months living within the cinder block walls and the steel bars of kennels. At least here, she was treated with compassion and love by our amazing staff. Surely, once the four months of heartworm treatment ended, Alice would find a home.

So, we waited and watched. We walked her and worked with her. Despite her unimaginable past, she showed incredible resiliency and a tremendous capacity for love.

So, we waited and wondered if the right person would come along. Shepherds historically, don’t do well in a shelter environment. So far Alice had shown progress but how much longer could she continue life with only an overworked shelter family to care for her?

So we waited, and cared for her and hoped with each passing day that she would be the next one to go home. Maybe by Thanksgiving or Remembrance Day or even by Christmas. Surely by Christmas she’ll find her way to a loving home. Wouldn’t that be a great story to tell?

I’m a sucker for a great Christmas story. If you plunk me down in front of “It’s Wonderful Life” I can quote you the lines, I can do a mediocre Jimmy Stewart and I can guarantee you that when George and Mary Bailey and little ZuZu are standing beside the Christmas tree being serenaded by their friends and neighbours, I’ll have tears running down both cheeks.

Earlier today, just three and a half weeks before Christmas I heard the words through our intercom that we’d been waiting nearly a year to hear.

“A Ward, please bring Alice to the front. She’s going home.”

I swear I could hear shouts or sighs or even sobs of joy from every corner of the shelter. Alice had found a family. She was finally going to experience life inside an actual home.

I wish I had pictures to share with you of meeting her new family or of all of them walking out the door together. Unfortunately, we were all too busy getting in one last pat and looking for Kleenex.

Alice, you brought lots of smiles and joy to our lives for nearly a year but we couldn’t be happier that you’re leaving us today.

Merry Christmas little girl. You’re finally going home.

– Gord Hunter, Executive Director

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Alice the Rescue Dog
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