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The Sadness and Beauty

A few days ago, when I arrived at the rescue, I saw a man walking a very thin German Shepherd Dog. The owner said he just adopted this dog five days ago and that he is trying to put some weight on her. I was relieved he mentioned her weight; giving me assurance that he was taking good care of her. We chatted for a short time and went on about our day.

Later that day, I noticed the same man sitting on the steps of a closed business just a block away. It was then that I guessed that he may be homeless. I wondered where the shepherd was staying. The next time I saw him, he was carrying several bags. I asked him if he needed any extra dog food for his dog. That particular day, I brought a big comforter from home with the intention of giving it to one of my seniors. I gathered dog food, toys, treats, and grabbed the comforter for him.

While I was driving home, I glanced over to where I saw him earlier and there she was. The shepherd was sitting on a cushion and the comforter was sprawled out on the ground. I was glad to see that they were together as much as I felt a little sorry for her. I checked on them the next morning (because I cannot help myself), and I saw that she was tied to railing on a five-foot lead. He said he felt bad because he didn’t have another way to keep her contained. I grab an extended length training leash and gave it to him. He then asked, “Do you have a muzzle?” “Why do you need a muzzle”, I asked. “She’s trying to bite people and I’m afraid she’ll hurt someone.” I almost giggled, “Is it when you’re walking her or when she’s with you that she acts like she’ll bite?”, I asked. He answered, “Yes.” I gave him a few tips. I noticed this time that she was scratching. We discussed possibly giving her some flea preventative.

I couldn’t stop thinking of her. She wasn’t my dog and I accepted it, but I couldn’t help to wonder what they would do when the weather turned cold and rainy. I scolded myself for even thinking about her. I have plenty of dogs to focus on. Well, the next day, I saw him walking with her through downtown Fountain Square. It made my heart sink because they had nowhere to go. They were just wandering around. It broke my heart for both of them. It was then, that I wondered if I offered the man money for the shepherd, if he would entertain the idea. She was likely all he had, and I wasn’t sure if this was a wise decision.

I decided to take a chance. I drove over to the place where they were staying. There were several people around this time. The shepherd was calm and did not bark. I then offered him my idea. He surprisingly said, “You know, I’ve been thinking about you possibly taking her, but I just don’t know.” I offered him to take a few days to think about it, but he quickly agreed that caring for her was too difficult. He admitted that she shouldn’t live a life on a leash and that he couldn’t make her happy. We agreed to meet this morning at 10:00am for him to drop her off.

They arrived on time. I could see the sadness on his face. I guided him to the outdoor dog runs. He was happy to unleash her so that she could run off leash. I went over the plans for her and we discussed her temperament in detail. He handed me her paperwork. I noticed that he adopted her from a local shelter. He followed me into the kennel and placed her in her new home. He said goodbye to her. I followed him outside and when he turned to speak to me, he had tears in his eyes. I did my best to say anything I could think of to provide him any sense of solace. The last thing he said before walking away was, “God Bless you.” I checked the folder and what broke my heart more so than anything was that she was originally surrendered by her first owner to the shelter. Then she was adopted by this man and ultimately lost this owner too.

I returned inside to check on her. She was standing looking for her owner. I had to start running the dogs and cleaning kennels, so I decided to allow her some time to settle in. It was only about 30 minutes as I made my way back to her area to check on her. She had already fallen asleep on her bed. I was surprised because I thought she would be very nervous and that the barking from the other dogs would cause her stress. But she was sound asleep. She didn’t hear me come in the room or take her photo.

I grabbed the adoption folder to review any other paperwork and tucked inside was a receipt from a local pet store. He paid almost $37 for a leash, collar, 4.5-pound bag of dog food, and some treats. I had tears streaming down my eyes. Here was this man who had no home, but he spent almost $40 on her.

There is so much sadness with her story. I can’t imagine what her life was from the start. I can’t imagine her constant loss. She WILL have a wonderful life. Tonight, she will spend her first night with the rescue. I can’t wait to return tomorrow morning to check on her.

Her name is Bella and I am proud to announce that she is the newest member of GSD Rescue Indy.

-Amber Marks

©2020 Amber Marks

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