Circumstance conspires. Sometimes it just does. A foster home opens up for a small dog, a chi maybe. We get an urgent email, so many dogs in desperate need, massive shelter overcrowding, big euthanasia. Can anyone help? And there she is, a small chi girl, eyes wide with fear, staring into the camera. Circumstance conspires.
There are many faces, so many faces and so much need. All we have to offer is a spot for one small chi. I feel badly, almost badly enough not to send the email. But, she needs help too. She is small and she is scared and she is only one, but she is one. I make the offer and it is graciously and enthusiastically accepted. Celia will be coming to Safe Hands.
Fast forward a mere 72 hours and I am driving home. A very small, very scared chi trembles against me, her heart races, her eyes are wide with fear. I am still struggling with picking up “just one”, just one small chi. It does not seem enough. God knows it is not for lack of want to help. Our rescue is just so very full. But still.
And then I have a moment. Celia’s body shudders and I catch her sneaking a furtive glance at me. And at that moment, I let go of my mental anguish to focus on Celia’s instead. I think about all this tiny little being has gone through in the last week. How she ended up stray is anyone’s guess. She has clearly been in a house and cared for at one time. Still somehow she ended up alone, outside, nowhere to go, no one to care. This landed her in a very big, very scary animal control shelter. No doubt it was loud, everyone a stranger, nothing familiar. How overwhelming for any dog, let alone a tiny kid. She has to know that whatever anyone wants to do with her, they can. She weighs a mere 8 pounds. She is no match for anyone. She is powerless, her fate entirely out of her control. She can do nothing but sit and quake and wonder what comes next. What an awful feeling that must be.
She can’t have known when she was taken out of there that things would only get better. Finding respite in her temporary foster home was something no doubt she was grateful for. But it’s so very temporary. She’s not even settled in when she’s packed up again and moved on. She cannot know why or what awaits her at the end of this new road. Transferred from car to car, crate to crate, person to person, hero to hero, she makes her way to us. Her rescue road warriors are tireless, selfless, gentle and kind. But still, she can’t know. She can’t understand. She can no more settle in when there is another hand off, another transition. She does not know how many people came together for her, how many people are giving of themselves to get her somewhere safe, to help her start a brand new life.
And I know now she is looking at me, trying to see if I will be friend or foe. She is trying to brace herself for whatever might lie ahead. She is trying to get some bearing, gain traction, to find some understanding of this latest twist of her fate. I am overwhelmed with her need and vulnerability. I am overwhelmed with the need to build a fortress around her fragile frame. All I want is for her to know that she is safe now. That right here, right now, it all changes. I tell her so. I tell her I don’t know what happened in her past, who her family was or what happened, how or when it fell apart. I tell her what I do know though is who her new rescue family is and they are pretty great. By this I mean her awesome foster family and her greater Safe Hands family who I know as an absolute will embrace her with their whole hearts. She is “our” kid now. I tell her that she will be loved more than she will ever know. I speak the truth.
As I talk to Celia I realize that she has just given me a gift. I realize I would move heaven and earth were it possible to make the world OK for “just one chi”. She is just one, one living, breathing, heart beating, precious beyond words little soul. She has reminded me how precious each life is. I stopped feeling bad about “just one” and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this one. There is this amazing intertwined web of people across the country who fight for each this one. I am so grateful to be part of this caring community and to be able to help any “one”.
“… because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale
We arrive at my home. Celia’s foster will be by to pick her up soon. I set her down to get her some food and water. I turn around and there she is. She is sitting, looking up, reading my face. We gaze at each other for a moment. She slowly and carefully raises onto her back legs, lifts her front as a child, “pick me up”. I do.
Circumstance conspires. I don’t always know the how or the why. Circumstance put Celia in our path. An amazing, compassionate community of dedicated, caring, inspiring, hard-working, soul sharing, noble and generous folks came together to do the rest, to get Celia here, to save her. We play our part. When we can do something, for five or twenty five or just one, we play our part.
Welcome Celia. Our meeting may have been circumstantial but the love we have for you is unequivocal. So glad to have you here.