Since I've been away for over 2 years *gulp*, it's hard to figure out where to begin, but I've decided to begin with the most important thing that has happened in my life recently. (It's not the miserable poison ivy that I told you about in my first new post, but don't worry, I will get to that.) ;)
This is the story of how Daisy Dooley came into our lives. I originally wrote this for a lady that is putting together a book on personal stories of animal rescue, but since my story was longer than she could use, I decided to just publish it on Facebook instead. She offered to edit it, but I feel like if I took anything out, it took away too much meaning. So, now I'm going to share it here with you. Please read it & share it with your friends. We hope that our story will inspire others to make a difference in the lives of shelter pets all across this country. Thanks so much. ~Amy
It's funny how God works in our lives. While we see seemingly insignificant little "pieces" of our lives as they happen, He sees the "full picture."
The story of how Daisy Dooley came into our lives is very much like that.
Pieces of our lives that fit together to form a beautiful picture designed by God.
This is our story.
Just to give you a little background (at the risk of putting you to sleep), I love daisies. Always have. They are my favorite flower. I guess because they just seem so happy.
My name is Amy, and I'm married to Shannon. For many years, as a term of endearment, I have called Shannon "Mr. Dooley." The name Mr. Dooley comes from a funny scene in one of my all time favorite movies "Barefoot in the Park." But I digress.
I love to read, and I'm a sucker for alliteration. One day last year, I was browsing through the bookstore and came across a title that made me laugh out loud. The book was called "Daisy Dooley Does Divorce" by Anna Pasternak. Well, after what I've just shared with you, you can understand that I had to purchase the book immediately.
I, of course, didn't read it immediately. I actually didn't open it until many months later. At about the same time that I started to read the book, I told my friend Melissa about it, and the title made her laugh out loud as well. She got so tickled. She said, "Amy, if you ever get another dog, you HAVE to name her Daisy Dooley." I laughed at that thought as well. It would be the perfect name. I told Shannon what she had said, and he thought it was funny...and a perfect name too.
But see, at this time in our lives, getting another dog was not something we had ever even discussed. We were still grieving the loss of our sweet American Staffordshire Terrier named Allie Girl. We lost Allie about a year and a half before. She was our baby. Allie was 7 1/2 years old when she died from heart & kidney failure. The pain of losing her was still so great, that we didn't know if we'd ever be able to love like that again.
But God knew something we didn't. Little did we know that He was already busy putting the "pieces" of a beautiful puzzle into place for us.
I started to read the book that I mentioned to you on a Monday....the following Friday afternoon, I signed into Facebook just like I do 456 times every single day. This day, however, would prove to be quite different. As I logged on that particular day, the first thing I saw in my Facebook feed was a picture of this gorgeous dog.......named Daisy. My friend Judy Jacobs had posted the picture of Daisy from a new Facebook App called Pet Pardons. Pet Pardons is an app designed to promote animals on death row at shelters, or in no-kill shelters all over the country, and to help find them a forever home.
Above Daisy's picture were the words "Please help save Daisy the Dog." See, Daisy was scheduled to be killed Monday, January 24, 2011, but as I'm looking at her picture it is Friday around 4:00pm (closing time for the shelter) January 21, 2011.
I don't know how to explain to you the feeling that I had in the pit of my stomach when I saw Daisy's face. She reminded me SO much of our sweet Allie. And something inside of me said, "Call right now about that dog!" Shannon was not even home from work yet, and calling about getting a dog was not something I would normally ever do without speaking to him first. But again.....something said, "Call right now about that dog!"
So, I did.
A lady by the name of Ashley Owen Hill had posted Daisy on the Pet Pardons site, so she was the person that I had to call. I called and left a message with her just saying that I wanted to ask about Daisy.
I had so many butterflies running around in my stomach. I didn't know what to make of any of it, because I didn't even want another dog. My heart was still so broken over losing our precious Allie. But something inside of me kept saying...."She is yours."
And in my heart, I already knew that.
I already wanted her.
I already loved her.
As I sat waiting for Ashley to return my call and for Shannon to get home from work, I told our youngest son Daniel about the phone call I had just made, then, I showed him Daisy's picture. He took one look at her and said, "Momma, you have to call Ashley back again. Make sure she gets your message."
At about that same time, Shannon arrived home. He brought the mail in with him...there was a package. He set in on the counter, as I approached him. I looked at him and said, "I have to show you something and tell you what I've done." I proceeded to show him Daisy's picture and told him that I had called and left a message with Ashley.
He was just as shocked as me. And a bit overwhelmed.
But something inside him was telling him as well...."She is yours."
And in his heart, he already knew that.
He already wanted her.
He already loved her.
Then Ashley called. Basically, I shared with Ashley everything that I just shared with you. She told me that Daisy was a very sweet and friendly girl that desperately needed help. She was scheduled to be killed on Monday if Ashley could not find a home for her. I didn't find out until later, but Ashley told me that the area of Mississippi that she's in cannot allow any Pit bull or Pit bull Mixes to be adopted. They are always put to sleep, unless they are pulled by a Rescuer. The shelter does that in order to keep the dog from being adopted by Dog Fighters that would use the helpless babies as bait dogs. They figure, and rightly so, it is more humane to put the dogs to sleep, than to risk them being tortured by cruel, violent people.
Ashley and I continued to talk for a while. She ended the conversation by telling us to pray about the decision and to call her back the next day.
Shannon and I were just so overwhelmed with mixed emotions. Both of us "knowing" what we were "supposed" to do, but still so unsure about all of it.
As we were talking about adopting Daisy, I walked over to the counter to open up the package that Shannon had brought in from the mail box. Shannon said, "It's just so weird to agree to adopt a dog that we've never even seen in person." At that moment, I had opened the package. Inside the envelope was a plaque that my sweet friend Valerie had sent me. And on the plaque were these words from Hebrews 11:1...."Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Shannon and I looked at each other and just laughed out loud. What more was there to say. That was our answer.
God has an amazing sense of humor that way. His timing is impeccable.
So, needless to say, the next day we called Ashley and told her that we were definitely adopting Daisy.
Ashley pulled Daisy from the rescue that Monday and took her to the vet to have her checked out and spayed. She found out that Daisy tested "low" positive for heartworms. Although that was devastating to hear, we still knew she was "ours."
We spoke with Ashley several times that week. All of this was so new to us and we had so many questions for her.
One of the times we spoke, I just had to ask this one question that I kept thinking of over and over. I said to Ashley, "If you don't mind me asking, who named Daisy?" She replied, "I did. I can't explain why. I just looked at her and knew her name was Daisy." It was so amazing to me to realize God's hand in all of this. I always thought if we did ever get another dog, we would pick her out and name her Daisy ourselves, but God knew different. He picked our Daisy and named her for us. Maybe just to reassure us that, "Yes, SHE is your girl."
I also told Ashley that I looked forward to our spring daisies blooming in the front yard, so that I could take a picture of our Daisy in them.
We arranged to pick Daisy up the following Saturday. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive to get her, so the entire way there, we were just so excited.
When we finally saw her with our own eyes, we were overjoyed! She was so precious and so very happy to meet us. It was as if she had always been ours. There was not one moment of "adjustment" with her. I don't know how to explain it, but she was "at home" the minute she was with us. It was overwhelming and wonderful.
I sat in the back seat with her all the way home, and I could not take my eyes off of her. I was overcome with emotions. It's so hard to imagine that this precious girl just opened her heart to us with no hesitation. She had no reason to trust us....two complete strangers to her....but she did. With abandon.
We don't know really anything about her past....but based on what we could see and would soon find out...she had obviously been used as a breeder dog. And once she was no longer "useful," to her previous owners, she was dumped. Left alone to fend for herself...with a heart FULL of heartworms.
One week after bringing Daisy home, we almost lost her. She was coughing up blood, so I took her to the vet. He did an Xray of her heart and lungs. He called me in the exam room to look at the films, and even I could see it was very bad news. She had a case of heartworms much worse than the original rescue vet had diagnosed. Her heart was completely deformed from the amount of worms inside her. She had lost 25% of her lung capacity as well. She was very, very sick.
I asked the doctor what could we do. What should we do. He was perplexed, because this happy, sweet, healthy looking baby, that he could see with his own eyes in his office, did not match the Xrays that he was looking at. He said to let him keep her for a week. She would be on complete cage rest, and he would keep a close watch on her.
Having to leave Daisy for that week at the vet was one of the hardest, longest weeks of my life. I prayed for her constantly and could not stop crying. I ached for this precious girl that had never known the love of a family before and now that she had a family to love.....she was so close to losing her life. I clung to the verse on that plaque that my friend Valerie sent me. Hebrews 11:1... . "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I had to trust that God had brought this baby into our lives for a reason, and He was going to let her live and know what it was like to be loved.
And He did.
One week later, she came home. She was still very sick, but so full of love and life. You could tell she was just so happy to finally have a home. I sat by her side constantly for the next two weeks, because she had to have complete rest in order to survive the heartworm treatment. As I would hold her and just cry, she would lick my tears. She, the little girl that had been through such a horrific ordeal, was comforting me. This little girl had never been shown love before in her life.....but she so desperately longed to share love with us.
Loving Daisy has changed us....in ways that we didn't even know we needed to change.
After Daisy was through the worst part of her illness, I was able to take some time to think about what we could do as a family to help other boys and girls just like Daisy.
So, we started a Facebook page for Daisy. Without Ashley Owen Hill and the Pet Pardons Facebook App, we would have never known about Daisy, so now we work every day to spread the word about Pet Pardons. We want to spread awareness about the needs of shelter pets all over the country, and we also wanted to show people that Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes make such loving pets. Society and the media have made them all out to be vicious dogs, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Pet Pardons creators Chris Hoar and Ashley Owen Hill and all of the people who use the Pet Pardons App work tirelessly every single day to save the lives of as many pets as they can. They also promote educating the public about the importance of having pets spayed and neutered, always adopting animals, and information on all kinds of preventive vet care. They have an amazing goal: To End ALL Euthanasia in American Shelters by January 1, 2015. My family and I want to work every day to help them meet that goal. (You can click here to go to Ashley's Lucky Dog Rescue Blog and read all about the work that she is doing.)
That's our rescue story. So many seemingly insignificant little" pieces" of our lives, that once all put together, formed one of the most significant "pictures" that God has ever created for our family.
God made my wish come true for a picture of our special Daisy sitting among the spring daisies too. That was a very special day for me....to see her sweet happy face surrounded by the happiest flowers on earth. I will never forget it.
People say we did a good thing by rescuing Daisy Dooley, because we saved her life.
Truth is, she saved ours.