Rocco the Taco

The Necessary Miracles of Rescue

Rocco and Cassie, his rescuer

Rocco and Cassie, his rescuer

We do this rescue gig because it needs to be done. Somebody has to help the animals neglected by less than humane human beings. We clean up after filthy heartlessness with full strength and abundant love. We give huge chunks of our hearts away with every dog we help and the next one helps us to regrow another, keeping the equilibrium almost in balance. Some say we offer these dogs a miracle. But sometimes balance truly gets lost. Sometimes dry spells happen. It’s in moments like that, we need a little love, too. We need to witness a miracle in return.

I’m not one to think that miracles happen on grand scales, although sometimes that’s true. It’s the little things. To that end, there are people who swear that things happen for a reason, as if that’s the miracle. I think opportunities present themselves and we make meaning by taking a risk on a personal choice. No matter the choice or outcome, we receive the gift of knowledge. That is the true miracle.

To that end, we choose rescue, and with that choice comes choosing dogs, names, foods, treats, treatment plans, fundraising efforts, and ultimately choosing a good match of loving people and safe homes where the dogs will be happy.  But this also invites hardship in. Dogs get sick. Some don’t make it. Others lose bits of themselves. Sometimes placements don’t work out. Rescue is not the easy choice. And sometimes that hardship can wear a person down. We must find ways to fill ourselves back up before we burn out. But nothing stops us. For us, there is no alternative.

Rescued by a Rescue Dog

We’ve just received a whole lot of love aimed our way, reminding us why we make the choice we do. And I wrote a heartfelt response to a rescue dog, today. Yes, I wrote directly to Rocco, the Taco. One might have expected me to write to his people, Amy Bateman and Chad Avery, but, hey, Rocco wrote to me first. And you know what? Reading his letter and writing him back was one of the most therapeutic things I’ve probably ever done in this line of work. I absolutely needed this today.

From Rocco this morning…

Dear Kim and Everyone at Dog House Adoptions,

Rocco the TacoIt’s me, Rocco. Momma tells me you are asking about me. Thank you so much for all you have done for me and the love you have given. I’m sorry I have been neglectful in not letting you know how I am doing. Momma says she sent you pictures and some words but I also wanted to take some time to write you.

Life is great for me here. My Momma and Papi really love me and I love them. I have three brother cats, Marmalade, Philo and Clive. Marm and I are good snuggle buddies while Philo and I are in competition over who is Pop’s best boy. Clive is a free spirit and has a bugger eye that needs to be cleaned every night. My cat sister, Miss Hazel is the ruler of the nest and she and I have a love/fearful relationship. I do the loving and she makes me earn hers.

I go for walks every morning and most evenings around Hampton Lake. I get to play “Keep the Squeaky Toy away from Pop” in the yard. It’s easy as Pop carries 30 pounds that he shouldn’t and get’s winded faster than he should. LOL. I get to go to Washington Park alot. We have an Easy Walk harness that helps me be fantastic on the leash. I have many other dogs in the family to play with and I have gotten really good at socializing. I love to smell butts but am not a fan of having mine smelt unless I’m off leash.

I initially had some separation anxiety issues when I first got here but have gotten over that pretty good as I realize Momma and Papi come home for me every evening. They work staggered shifts so I spend roughly 4 hours in the crate. Days off for them are staggered and Momma works 3-12’s, so really I only have to do this maybe 4 times a week.

I have free reign of the house for the most part. I get the couch as I want and the bed with the folks most nights. I have my own bed and pillow and sometimes I have to sleep there when Momma says, Papi and I are “gassing her out.” We are good together like that some nights. I also like to hide under the covers.

I see the Veterinarian and go to Pet Smart for grooming. I don’t care for baths but sometimes get a cold one at home when I roll in geese poop at the lake. I have many girlfriends at Pet Smart. I get more treats and kisses than I ever thought I could get. On days off, I get to ride in the car with Papi wherever he goes and I have my own pillow in the car.

As you all know, I’m a great kisser! Everyone get’s kisses from me. Momma and Pop say that the kisses I give would be illegal in most Southern states in this country. As I hope you can tell, this family is a match made in Heaven for both them and I. There is lots of love all around and you did well in placing me. The folks are sorry for the family that backed out on me at the last minute and at the same time, not sorry as they know it was for the best and I went where I am most loved and cared for. I promise to send pictures at Christmas with the tree and that big rawhide Papi got me but thinks I don’t know about.
Thank you again for all you do and I send my love!!!

Rocco….The Taco!

Rocco the Taco

My response…

Dear Rocco the Taco,

There are days in rescue when really bad things happen, when animals get hurt, when people get emotional, and when the best laid plans don’t work out. There are dry spells when dogs don’t move – the start of a new school year, Spring break, holidays – and you feel helpless to help them. There are days when you are criticized for doing what you feel is best, and days when you are never enough for the dogs, the volunteers, the adopters, and you cannot keep or catch up no matter how hard you work or try.

And then there are mornings like this, when you wake up to a letter that reminds why you keep going. You always know that, often, love bursts through the seams of homes like yours, but it’s often in the abstract. Witnessing the long-term side of this love is the “after”, and much is left to hope. Most times a placement works. Sometimes it doesn’t. The trouble is, you can’t always see the “after” so concretely from this side.

Today, we can see, Rocco.
Today, the “after” is crystal clear.
It begins with “Happily ever…” and you.

We’re sending big ol’ butt scratches of gratitude for you, today, Buddy. And Christmas will never look so bright as we wait with anticipation for the gift of your holiday pictures, much like you do for your rawhide.

And please tell your Momma and Pop THANK YOU for sharing your summer fun photos. These have made us ridiculously happy. I’m going to hang them on our website immediately!

Just one thing before I sign off… Go easy on the goose poop. I know the aromatic rolling and romping is probably one of your favorite things to do, but it’s also kind of gross in the eyes of your beloved humans. Maybe just half a roll would be best. I bet you’ll get pet a whole lot more (and avoid a lot of baths) if you take this one tidbit of advice.

We love you, Rocco the Taco.

Kim, Cassie, Audra, Marianne, Tim and the whole volunteer crew at Dog House Adoptions.

Blog the Change for Animals

Today is the Blog the Change for Animals Event hosted by My hope in sharing this experience, dear reader, is to give you a reason to smile, too. And if you’ve ever adopted a pet, consider dropping the rescuers a heartfelt note like this. I can tell you from personal experience, it matters. It matters a lot.

Now off with ya. Go visit the other amazing experiences and opportunities to help animals on this list!