Thelma and Louise

One thing you learn quickly and poignantly when running a no-kill shelter is, despite your best efforts, you cannot save them all, but the ones you can save make it all worthwhile.

Last year a woman called our shelter and said she had two female dogs and some pups she couldn't keep. We sent out a volunteer to assess the situation: the neglect was nearly total. Louise, a pit bull, was chained to an old rusty truck underneath which were ten pathetic pups, dragged about in the dust every time Louise changed position. At least Thelma, a boxer, and her eight pups weren't chained to anything--they lived in a feral environment out in the woods. The truck provided minimal shelter, the woods none. But all were flea-ridden and the puppies were mal-nourished to the point of death. I had never realized that fleas, usually a nuisance, can literally suck the life out of a pup.

We got them back to the shelter, providing as much care as quickly as we could. However, within two weeks only six of the pups survived. It was just too late. But those six now have wonderful homes, as does Thelma. Louise is waiting for her forever home, but I'm confident she'll find one soon.

Most remarkably of all, one of Thelma's pups "starred" last January in the Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl. Those watching the show, seeing a cute, roly-poly happy and healthy dog had no idea of what he had gone through to get there, and the many people who made it possible. nor did they know of his brothers and sisters who came so close. You cannot save them all.

Bonnie Milliken
Norway, SC