Tyler: My Own Small Paws Story
As you may have read, I’ve devoted the month of March to bringing attention to Small Paws Rescue. (Also, fund raising for Small Paws–but more about that later.) Small Paws is devoted to rescuing orphaned Bichons, dogs who look like Bichons, and even dogs who have had a passing acquaintanceship with a Bichon. Most of their budget goes to paying vet bills. The dogs they take in stay in foster homes until the right family is found for them. So their “adoption center” is Petfinder!
Small Paws is a courageous group of 800 volunteers and 6,000 supporting global members. Over the past 12 years they’ve helped over 8,000 dogs find forever homes. Small Paws Rescue embraces the philosophy of “no-kill”–nearly all their donations go to pay vet bills.
I’ve asked the members of Small Paws to send me their own stories and photos of their dogs, so that I can share them here on my blog. Today, I’m telling my own Small Paws story. And it’s costing me $20. More on that later.
Robin Pressnall–who is the very heart and soul of Small Paws–sends out a newsletter on a regular basis to the Small Paws membership. That’s where I first saw Tyler. It was this photo, from his shelter intake record. I could tell that he was not well–can you see it? Robin told us that Tyler had been found on a street in Phoenix with another puppy. That both puppies were starving and that both puppies had parvo virus. Did we want to get them well? Did we want to save these two puppies?
They were on death row within hours of being turned in to the shelter, because that was the shelter’s policy with parvo dogs. But the shelter knew about Small Paws, and someone telephoned the Small Paws Team Leader for Arizona–who turned out to be Tyler’s Guardian Angel. He got both puppies to a veterinary clinic, and Small Paws paid for their hospitalization.
Tyler’s photo haunted me.
I wanted a puppy. I was just a few months past losing Bailey (my first Bichon), and still working through my grief, but I had bravely put myself on the Small Paws puppy list. At Small Paws, puppies are reserved first for people who are grieving. About a month after Tyler was rescued, I got an email asking me, did I want to adopt a puppy? I was a little hesitant. Was I ready? Then I found out it was the little parvo pup that had already been living rent-free in my head. It was karma! And the fact that I was getting ready to head out west on a business trip making it easy to stop for a night in Phoenix to pick Tyler up from his foster mom (God bless you, Mikele!) added to the surreal feeling that this was meant to be.
Tyler was a skinny scrap of a pup. He was very underweight and his hair was cut very short to make it easier for the dogtors to deal with his illness. But I didn’t mind how he looked. From the first moment, he was so sweet and loving and I marveled that a creature who had received such a terrible start in life–abandoned, starved, sick–could still have the capacity to love. I get teary-eyed when I think of how he cuddled up to me that very first day, and trusted me to take care of him. I won’t betray that trust.
Tyler has found his furever home with me.
So why did telling my Small Paws story cost me $20? I have pledged to donate $5 for every story and photo that I publish from the members of Small Paws this month. Adding in today’s post, I owe Small Paws a total $145. And the month is only half over.
So here’s my pitch: You’ll see the First Giving donation widget on the right side of the page, or you can click this little photo icon just to the right of this paragraph. I’m not asking you to donate hundreds of dollars, just a couple of bucks. Small Paws is an incredible organization, and every last cent donated is squeezed to the point of dusty dryness to get the best juicy value. Please, make a donation to help this group help dogs.