Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sad news about Sally

Sally (right) sleeping with her sister Zoe, before she was lost.

This message was posted to Inwoof today:

Hi everyone,

It is with a very, very heavy heart that I write this message. Early
yesterday we met with a Department of Sanitation worker who picked up
a dog matching Sally's description last week, killed by a car. There
is always a small chance that the dog was not Sally, but he felt very
sure, based on several photos we shared with him.

We are devastated by this news, and are having a difficult time
processing it. It seems like such an injustice that after rescuing
Sally from the streets she should end her life in such a tragic and
painful way. We only hope that her time with us was happy and that
she went quickly. Of course our truest hope is that it wasn't her...
that she is still out there, maybe taken in by a kind stranger who
just didn't see our flyer. Maybe we will never know.

Steve and I would like to thank all of you who offered kind words,
sage advice, spent hours searching, and helped put up flyers. We
would have never been able to keep up such a concerted search effort
without the help of this community. It was a great source of strength
for us, and we don't quite know how to express our gratitude.

Given the news, it seems unfair of us to ask you all to keep looking
for Sally. As her parents, we will always scan the horizon for a dog
on the loose, and continue to check the shelter and every dog we pass
in case she was taken in by a new family. There is always some
possibility. If you do see a dog that you think might be Sally,
please do let us know. Even though it might hurt if it turns out to
not be her, we would rather risk it.

I added a few new photos into Sally's file, of her and Zoe and us,
just a reminder that Sally will always be a loved part of our family.
She brought us so much joy in the short time we had with her.

See you in the park -
Amy, Steve, Zoe (and Brandy, our foster)
(still hoping Sally is out there)

Could Sally, who might have lived out all her days as an unwanted stray, have ever found a more loving family? I doubt it. She got to experience the genuine sense of belonging that all dogs yearn for, with her people, as well as with her sister and other dogs. I tend to agree with Cesar Millan that the one thing we most need to learn from dogs is how to live in the present, and enjoy the life we have, rather than obsessing over what we might gain or lose in the future.

That being said, Amy posted again to Inwoof, saying that they were going to use harnesses with their other dogs from now on. Somebody else recommended that they make sure they also always wear a collar with tags outside, in case even the harness fails, as harnesses often do.

We shouldn't OBSESS over what might go wrong in the future, but that doesn't mean we can't plan for it. And the best plan of all is to train your dog, and not rely exclusively on fences and leashes to keep him or her from going AWOL. And I'd bet good money Sally was in the process of being trained, and just hadn't gotten all the way there yet. And let's face it, some dogs are much bigger flight risks than others, partly due to genes, partly because of their life experiences.

We learn as we go. All of us. We want our dogs to have interesting lives. We want them to have long lives. We do the best we can, and hope it all works out. And that doesn't just apply to dogs, does it? Plan for the future, but live in the present. It's all any of us have, regardless of species.

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