mental health

The First Day of a Dream Come True

When I was a little girl I fell in love with animals. I have a love for animals like I have a love for my children. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. Then I got involved with theatre and singing and fell in love with that. I pursued that in college instead. That is when I believe my illness began. I had always had anxiety, but the depression and hypo-mania kicked in. I struggled in school. I met and fell in love with my ex husband. I dropped out of school and got married. I had my children. We had 2 dogs and a cat. I didn’t see it as having 2 kids, 2 dogs and a cat. I had 5 babies. We added and lost a few animals over the years. I would do for my animals as I would my kids. It was then that I began to feel that helping animals was what I was meant to do. I began to dream about having a dog rescue. Nobody was supportive. It makes sense because I was so in and out of depression and hypo-mania gave me some pretty amazing ideas. Plus it was expensive. People thought it was just my mania talking. Then life happened and I found myself living in an apartment as a single mom. I had 2 kids, a cat and a dog I could hardly take care of. I had forgotten about my dream. My mom took my dog in and I found myself very lonely when my kids were gone. Many months went by and I decided to find an old dog who fit my lifestyle. That’s when I adopted my beagle from the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. I felt so good to help him out. 7 or 8 years old, he was sad and alone. His physical appearance showed that his life had been hard. I saved him and he saved me. He is my therapy dog. Two years later, I met my husband. We got engaged and moved into a nice house with a big yard. My depression was in remission and he talked me into adopting a kitten. I was very reluctant but we did it. She was not the age we were told she was so I had to teach her to use a litter box and had to feed her baby food until she could eat regular kitten food. A few months later, my husband found a 10 year old beagle in need of a home. She is blind in one eye, has bad teeth, an inoperable hernia, and a skin condition. She was a mess. But her owners said she didn’t find a home they were going to euthanize her. How could I not take her? We thought she would be more of a hospice case. But she has really held on. We’ve had to spend about $400 not including regular checkups and maintenance on her over the years and she has an upcoming surgery on her teeth that will cost another $400, but you’d pay that to buy a purebred dog and there is no guarantee they won’t get sick or injured. I would rather pay it for her so she can live out her life happy and loved. Now she is 12 and our vet told us that isn’t very old for a beagle and other than her pre-existing conditions, she is in really great health. She is probably the sweetest dog I’ve ever owned. I don’t regret adopting her one bit. A year after we adopted her, my husband really wanted a puppy. A Lab or Golden puppy he could take camping and fishing with him because our beagles would rather soak up the sun from the couch. They like trips to the river but only quick trips and they didn’t much care for camping. I was torn. I really fell in love with rescuing. How could I buy a puppy when so many dogs need him homes. Plus I didn’t have the $800-$1000 it was going to cost. Rescue puppies are very hard to find. They never have them at the shelter. As soon as they come in the lobby someone adopts them. But I found one about an hour away from where we live. He’s perfect!!! He’s a Black Lab mix and he is everything we hoped he would be.

So now I have officially run out of space in my house and for sure out of money to take care of anymore of my own pets. But I still have this urging need and desire to help. My friend who volunteers at our local shelter said they are always looking for volunteers. I didn’t want to do it by myself so I asked my daughter if she wanted to do it with me. This will teach her how good it is to give back and we will get mother/daughter time we both love. I already knew the answer before I asked. We went to orientation and signed up for our weekly time slot. During our 1 x 1 interview with the volunteer coordinator, she ask about fostering. Fostering is where you provide a safe place for animals to stay and take care of them before they are ready to be adopted. The shelter provides everything. You just provide your home and love. She said she always accepts no, but there is always a need. I talked about with my husband before  hand and we agreed we could do cats because we have an extra bedroom where no one would bother them and they would have their own space that cats like. We didn’t want to do dogs at this time because our beagle girl needs some medical attention and I don’t want to upset her or stress everyone out by bringing in a new dog even if it’s temporary.

So, my dreams are becoming a reality. I brought a momma cat and her newborn kittens home to care for and love for 8 weeks. If it doesn’t work out for some reason we can bring them back for someone else to foster. In this year of mercy, I feel like I am doing what I can, finally.  I am so excited to embark on this amazing adventure and live out my dream!!

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