It was early 2000 and the newly formed CPR (me) was helping my peers in the animal rescue community. I had a big Ford Expedition. Lots of room. I had agreed to drive 11 dogs that had been seized from a hoarder in Spartanburg to their rescue in Columbia. I was excited to be part of this.
The humane society worker walked me through the kennel to where my group was. As we walked through holding, we passed a run with a beautiful spaniel mix, the color of warm coffee with cream markings on her eyebrow and muzzle. I stopped and looked at her eyes that were so sad and so lonely. But the word “rescue” was not on her run.
“I can take that one,” I said to the worker. She stopped, looked at the kennel card and shook her head. “You can’t,” she replied. “That one has heartworms. She’ll be put down today.”
And she walked on, expecting me to follow. Having no choice, I did.
But those eyes haunted me.
It was 2000 in Spartanburg SC. An unadoptable animal was any animal with any medical condition. Heartworms was an automatic death sentence. So was kennel cough, upper respiratory tract infections, and anemia from worms. If it was sick, it died. No matter how easy it may have been to fix.
As I walked the halls to my dogs, the same thought went through my head over and over. “This is insane. We can do better than this. We can do better than this! WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.”
I have never forgotten that spaniel’s eyes. I never will.
– Donna Ezzell, Director