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Averyt: Canine Rescue

I’m one of those people who find the national news increasingly disheartening, so I appreciate when online sites and some mainstream media include “good news” in their coverage – like humanitarian stories that inspire and lift the bar instead of lowering it.

One such story appeared recently in the Washington Post and I felt a personal connection.

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, there were many victims left behind and not all of them were human. Among the casualties were countless pets, some abandoned during the deluge, and others lost in the ensuing chaos. Pet shelters were swept away leaving few resources.

Enter Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a non-profit organization in Arlington, VA, run by a network of dedicated volunteers and a dynamic director, Mirah Horowitz. Thanks to her commitment, a plane load of dogs and cats recently was flown from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Baltimore, Maryland.

The plane, donated by Southwest Air and operated by a volunteer crew, flew to San Juan with thousands of pounds of donated supplies and flew back with sixty two abandoned pets in desperate need of new homes.

This rescue service has a strict protocol for screening the rescue dogs’ health as well as the background of volunteers who foster the dogs and people seeking to adopt them. All the rescues are medically examined and treated prior to being offered for adoption. And this is very important, as another non-profit group in central Vermont recently learned when some of the dogs they brought back from Puerto Rico were discovered to be seriously ill.

My son and daughter-in-law are “foster parents” with Lucky Dog Rescue, and through them, I’ve learned a lot about the rescue process and about the transforming power of kindness in the lives of both people and pets.

Dogs arrive exhausted from the long journey; dogs that are frightened or hurt because of human abuse and neglect; dogs that, little by little, begin to trust. They learn human kindness from my son and his wife, and from their two dogs they learn playfulness and acceptance.

The story of a planeload of rescued pets and my own experience watching my son’s foster dogs has reminded me of the importance of compassion and caring. It’s one of the stories that lifts the bar, a story that truly belongs under the heading of “good news.”