So Then Why?

My last blog, and the feelings that provoked me to write it, beg the question: "So, why are you still doing it Jessica?"
A while back I supported the line of work I'm in by saying (or writing): "Saving lives every day does have a way of giving life meaning."
And it's true. Every single day I go to work there's a chance I get to save a life... an innocent, sweet life.
Take today for example: A buff, tattoo-caressed man in his mid 30's was in the adoption area. I happened to be at the computer on the floor (shelter jargon for adoption floor) when he approached, inquiring about a dog named Hilary.
Hilary... that name rang a bell, I remembered very clearly seeing the name Hilary badly butchered on a kennel card, it shamefully spelled Hiliary rather than Hilary. And, I was sure I knew this dog, though I couldn't call up her face in memory right off.
As soon as I typed in her 7 digit ID number I eagerly pressed F4 to bring up her picture- Hilary! It's you!
"Do you know this dog?" I asked the man.
"No, she just seemed really great, really obedient," he replied.
"Oh yes, she's great! She's so sweet. I know her! Let's get her out," I said.
I took Hilary out of her kennel and walked her to approximately the middle of the hallway then handed the leash over to my potential adopter (this is something I almost always do, to allow the adopter an instant sense of ownership. It also allows the dog to bond with the adopter rather than the shelter worker).
-The adopter needs to know what he or she is getting into, for better and for worse.
If the dog is a puller it's best to know that going into the adoption.
If the dog walks great on lead this is one of my very best selling points.
Fortunately our girl Hilary walked like a champ, right at the handler's side, not pulling at all.
"See how well she walks on lead? She doesn't pull at all," I commented as we walked.
We arrived at our destination, the small concrete and mulched play yard.
And this guy (I already forgot his name) was just an ideal adopter.
He ooh-ed and ahh-ed over Ms. Hilary. He called her over and sternly commanded her to sit, snapping his finger, and Hilary sat, right on command.
Then she was a bit uncertain about the man... they'd just met and he was already asking the shy girl to sit! He quickly won back her affection  though by moving from the bench to concrete ground... to be on Hilary's level, to re-assure her.
I was in "Adoption Counselor bliss!"
We even found a tick or two on her. One was really big and I smashed it on the concrete, blood spewing.
Our potential adopter didn't even flinch... adoption counselor bliss I said!
And, you don't even know the best part yet- Hilary is not what you'd call a 'highly adoptable dog.'
She's big, dark caramel-colored with a little white line down her face. Her tail looks kind of funny and is crooked and she has a thick, hard body... not smooshie and soft like most adopters like.
Hilary's the type of dog that I typically have to fight to get out.
I knew her because I'm the person who had moved her from the west wing to the adoption floor.
Her kennel mate in the West Wing, a heart worm positive American Bulldog mix that had been labeled aggressive (NOT!) had her own lucky break a week prior... I had also assisted her adopters.
When that dog (already forgot her name) was miraculously adopted I took Hilary from the WW, and moved her to the adoption floor... that was the least I could do for the sweet girl.
And now this... she had found her own lovely, perfect adopter!
Elation. Disbelief. Humility.
This is one story. I could tell many- many beautiful, tear-jerking (at least they jerk my tears!) stories about rescue, adoption, fostering... saving lives.
So, as painful as it is to be at Miami Dade Animal Services every day in some ways, it is just as beautiful in others. -Believe me.
Figuring out if the good outweighs the bad is the question now, and one I haven't yet been able to answer. Today though, the good outweighed the bad.

Now... that damn adopter better show up on Wednesday! ...Think I'm joking? ...Wish I were! ...You never know in this business.


This is Hilary!