When the kind-hearted stranger saw the puppy all alone, alarm bells immediately rang. Where had it come from, and more importantly, where was its owner? A quick search of the collar didn’t reveal an address; instead, the rescuer found a note that told a tragic story.
Despite the efforts of rescue organizations and adoption agencies, people continue to abandon pets. And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reveals just how common this is. Its website states that roughly 6.5 million animals go through shelters annually.
Those numbers include 3.2 million cats and 3.3 million dogs, and tragically, not all of those animals find homes. Shelters put to sleep an estimated 860,000 cats and 670,000 dogs. Thankfully, the ASPCA reports that these numbers appear to be changing for the better.
Thanks to the efforts of animal welfare organizations and families willing to adopt rescue animals, euthanasia numbers are declining. Indeed, ASPCA’s president and CEO, Matt Bershadker, spoke about the issue in March, 2017. “This is tremendous progress for America’s dogs and cats,” he said.
Bershadker described the improvements as “the direct result of innovative, life-saving programs and hard work from local shelters, rescues and national organizations.” In addition, he credits the families that are willing to offer rescue animals a second chance at life.
“It also reflects the public’s dedication to rescuing homeless animals,” Bershadker added. Ghost the female coon hound is an excellent example of humanity’s drive to help our furry friends. But prepare the tissues, because her tale is sure to bring a tear to your eye.
In October 2017, the rescue group LuvnPupz uploaded Ghost’s story to its Facebook page. It recounted how an animal lover spotted the canine wandering around West Michigan all by herself. No one knows how long she’d been exposed to the elements.
When the Good Samaritan found Ghost, LuvnPupz described the animal as “hungry, cold, sad and confused.” To begin with, the dog’s discoverer had no idea how she came to be alone in a private yard. Was she a runaway, or had she been abandoned?
In order to find out, Ghost’s rescuer approached her and checked her collar. Perhaps they hoped to find a name and address, but they were only half successful. Instead, the animal lover discovered a note – possibly from the pup’s previous owner – revealing a harrowing story.
The note’s author had written some information for whoever found the pup on recipe cards. It read: “I am lost and looking for a home – my owner had a stroke and cannot care for me. Please don’t take me to a shelter.”
It continued, “I am a purebred coon hound, six months old, please find home.” It would appear that Ghost’s owner suffered from health issues and wanted the best for their pooch. However, in their desperation, they wrongly concluded letting Ghost loose was the best right approach.
Fortunately, Ghost’s discoverer had heard of LuvnPupz, and subsequently contacted it about their find. The organization is a non-profit group whose members, according to its Facebook page, “practise the three Rs – Rescue, Rehabilitate, Re-home.” Lovenpupz’s goal is to find the best home for its charges.
Roughly three weeks after Ghost’s discovery, LuvnPupz’s president and founder, Carri Shipaila, told animal news website The Dodo what she made of the abandoned animal’s situation. “At first, when I saw her with the note, I was taken aback,” she said. However, the presentation of the missive spoke volumes.
“Once I read it and saw how lovingly it was sealed to avoid moisture, I knew there has to be more to this,” Shipaila explained. It was clear that whoever abandoned Ghost didn’t do so maliciously, but out of love. That made the misplaced act all the more heart-rending.
LuvnPupz has since placed Ghost with a foster family until she can find a forever home. She’s reportedly thriving; in fact, animal rescuers are more concerned for her owner. Shipaila believes this is more of a tragedy than a case of deliberate neglect or abuse.
LuvnPupz has appealed for anyone with information on Ghost’s previous human to come forward. But it’s not for the purpose of naming and shaming them. “We need to look at this as a lesson in compassion, not with anger and disrespect,” Shipaila declared.
Instead, the organization wants to offer help and support. Shipaila added, “If the owner felt they couldn’t provide for the dog financially due to circumstances, then I believe we can help to keep the dog in the home.”
She elaborated, “I also want to make sure that this owner knows what happened. And if the owner personally needs help after the stroke, I would like to invite the community to come together to help.” Shipaila wants to make keeping animals and their humans together a group effort.
“We need to begin creating new ways to help people retain their pets and sometimes that means looking outside the box,” LuvnPupz’s founder said. “People say they don’t want to intrude or offend someone by offering help to someone who didn’t ask. It’s time to change that.”
“It’s time we all communicate and reach out positively,” Shipaila concluded. We all need help from time to time, and there’s no shame in accepting it from willing sources. Contact your local no-kill shelter or animal rescue organization if you are struggling to support your pet. You may be surprised by what it can do to keep you together.