Four years ago my beloved schnauzer had passed away. I really missed being with bigger dogs but my living situation didn't allow them so I decided to volunteer at the shelter. I signed up, went through the orientation and then the training began. In my naivete I assumed that I would be hanging around with poor perfectly behaved Labs and Golden Retrievers who through no fault of their own had ended up homeless. Hmm...well not so much. What I did find at that time were the not so perfectly well behaved labs and a fairly large population of pit bulls and mixes. Like so many others I had heard the horror stories on the news about maulings and admitted to the staff that I wasn't too sure about these dogs who looked so friendly on the surface. They advised me to read up about their true temperament and just take my time getting to know some of them before making any decisions. Well, as luck would have it I was asked to help with a doggie play group one quiet Sunday. My job as the only volunteer in the group was to go and get the dogs to bring them to the doggie gym. I may have been uneasy, but I was also stubborn and I wasn't about to admit to this much younger staff that I couldn't do that. As luck would have it they asked me to go and get Hailey. A young energetic but very sweet brindle pit bull. I went in her kennel and put the leash on her, she immediately felt that it was her job to let me know that her most vicious trait was her unabashed desire to lick my face which she proceeded to do. Back to the gym we went and she made a bee line to my lap, covering me with slobbery kisses.
Right then I made up my mind to just get over it and give these dogs a chance, and I can honestly say that they have not disappointed me. There is no other dog that can wiggle their entire body in such pure joy at the sight of a person who is going to share a few moments of love with them. It didn't matter that I wasn't going to be the one to take them home, I was there at that moment and that made them happy, which always made me happy too.
Fast forward a couple of years and lo and behold walking down the streets of Campbell was Hailey and her mom. After all of that time, Miss Hailey, much to the chagrin of her mom, jumped up on me and once again slobbery kisses were in order! Her mom is Marthina, and the two of us became fast friends. She brought me up to date on Hailey, who was now a Certified Therapy Dog, and living with a less than sweet but still very cute chihuahua/pug named Daisy. Soon we were partners at the shelter and saw that there were many other pit bulls who needed our help. After much discussion, and a ton of work especially on Marthina's part, OurPack, Inc was born.
I guess the point of this rambling is that if I hadn't decided to give this one dog a chance and get to know her as an individual animal who was and is so full of love, I would have missed out on all of the dogs to follow. I wouldn't have seen Dexter become Hailey's brother, or Carter and Rachel blossom in their new homes. I would have missed the smiles that follow Leo and Zoey and now Charlotte who began their lives living in the world of dog fighters and now bring joy to patients nursing homes and Cancer treatment centers. To me....that is a lot to miss.