Adopting a stray dog is many things, including a self-healing for survivors of abuse. To be able to offer safety and affirmation to a timid and anxious creature has an astounding effect on the little beast — and one the hurt within us, too.
Adopting a dog during the pandemic has been grueling. Dogs, especially, are being adopted like, well, hotcakes as people add furry companions to their lives. Any one dog featured online may have 100s of applications submitted. Any shipment of 100 dogs from other places in the United States, for example, from rescue kennels in the West due to fires, can arrive on a Monday and all be spoken for by … Monday. Or so it is in Northern Virginia.
Luis Torres, my Spirit Fire co-founder, sent me an article about dogs who are driven to your home. Yet another feat for survivors knowing what survivors need. He urged me not to give up. He encouraged me to believe my need in the solitude.
From that article I found MAMA’s Animal Shelter, And, I found the dog who would be Grace. Abandoned, it seems, to start, she had survived Hurricane Laura. She arrived needing medical care including a four-inch wood piece needed to be removed from her mouth where (we guess) the hurricane force wind blew it.
There is a special service that, twice a month, involves a relay of pet lovers. A convoy of cars and vans leaves the far south and west and meets up along the way. Volunteers drive dogs and cats two hours and then pass them to the next volunteers in the next convoy. It’s been working for a long time, carrying animals from natural disasters all the way to Bridgeport, CT, stopping in parking lots along the way to provide pets to owners who have been screened by a multitude of interviews and home visits.
There’s an image of people caring for the wounded and abused here that touches my reflections on humans, too.