A lot of people ask me what keeps me going in animal rescue. Every person with a passion has an inspiration. For me, that inspiration is Rudy, my own angel pup. I was involved with animal rescue long before I met Rudy, but his arrival totally changed my life.
Rudy’s rescue story lit a fire in my heart that has burned in me every day since his rescue. And even more so, since his death.
Rudy was abandoned on a chain for weeks before he was finally rescued. His owners moved away & left him behind to starve to death. He was a living skeleton when I found him, but his eyes had a glimmer of hope. “Are you the one who will save me? I need you.”
After a ton of legwork on my part, Animal Control seized the dog. Rudy was immediately placed on death row, & he was scheduled for euthanasia the day they allowed me to pull him out. This was a major success for me personally, because it was the first time our Animal Control had allowed anyone to pull a pit bull from the facility. (In the time since Rudy’s rescue, I have been able to pull many other pits from death row. Every one of them, is saved in Rudy’s memory.)
I adopted Rudy as my own, & he was my son. Rudy lived a life that most dogs only dream about, & I have never met a more loving, thankful dog. He went on walks every day; he had special snuggle time every night; he ate the most expensive food that money could buy. He was the most special being in my life. When my rescue life became so tough that I didn’t think I could go on, I had Rudy. To say that he was my angel is truly an understatement.
On July 8, 2010, I came home to find my Rudy—lifeless. It was the very worst day of my life. Rudy had a heart attack when he was playing with his friends that day. His little heart was weak following his heartworm treatment, & it finally gave out on him. I got there too late… my Rudy had already gone to Heaven. There was nothing that could be done to bring him back to me. Trust me—I tried.
That day, my life changed forever. I will never be the person I was before I lost Rudy. That kind of pain stays with you… that degree of agony never truly leaves your heart.
But I have been able to turn this pain into a positive. After Rudy died, I made him a promise: I will save every pit bull I possibly can… for you. I will save them, like you saved me, and I will love them, like you loved me. I will make you proud of me, because I am ever-so proud of you.
And so, every Rudy-dog that I see, becomes my mission. I put every bit of myself into saving each one that I can in his honor. And it may sound crazy, but I can feel Rudy, right there with me, saying, “I’m proud of you, Mom.” I see him in the eyes of the dogs on death row & the precious souls living on chains. I hear him in the howling at the pound. I touch him when I get there too late… as another dog joins him in Heaven.
I feel him when I save another life… when the new rescue dog licks my face, I know it is Rudy. It’s my Rudy saying, “You did it, Mom. You saved me again.”