“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” Sophocles
The dog’s name is Bobby. His picture was seen across the globe. It looked like he had the weight of the world on his forlorn shoulders. He clearly knew the pain of being abandoned by people he loved and trusted. At just one year old, Bobby had been dumped in a high kill shelter in Florida about a week before Christmas. The image that was seen far and wide was of a despondent and heartbroken dog, two months later, head down in a shelter cage, still wearing the green Christmas sweater that a shelter worker had dressed him in.
For two whole months Bobby sat in the shelter, daily losing hope. For two whole months no one showed any interest in adopting him even though he was by all accounts a great dog, loved by shelter staff and volunteers alike. His situation had become critical. Then, suddenly an article appeared, accompanied by his heartrending picture. It went viral on social media and just like that people were lining up to adopt him.
There are so many lessons we can learn from Bobby’s story. Here are a few to ponder:
Lesson one: Sometimes the most overlooked are the ones that need us the most. Do not judge a book by its cover. Look inside and try to understand what that shelter dog has been through. Keep an open mind and an open heart and you may be surprised at what you find.
Lesson two: There is strength in numbers and we can all help. It is easy to look the other way when we see sorrow and sadness but if no one had taken the time to share Bobby’s story, his life might have ended in that same shelter.
This is the power of social media. So, each day, take a little time to share these shelter pets on your social media pages. It costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time. It is the fastest and easiest way to reach a large audience and you will be amazed at the impact a few clicks of a computer mouse can make.
In the world of rescue we see far too much heartbreak but a story like Bobby’s reminds us of why we persist. We do it because there are still a whole lot of good people out there and sometimes all it takes is making them aware.
Lastly, lesson three: And this is one that is easily overlooked as we celebrate Bobby’s new life. Many people went to the shelter that day hoping to adopt Bobby, but only one was chosen. For those who were not, there were many other wonderful, adoptable pets in the shelter who were still there at the end of the day. Those who left empty handed may have missed out on the gift one of those shelter pets could have given them – the greatest gift of all, the gift of love.
For every happy ending like Bobby’s there are thousands of dogs in shelters waiting for happy endings of their own. Adopt one until there are none.