Mickey remained on the urgent list for about a week. During this time I spent every minute I could networking him and reaching out to rescues and anyone who expressed the least bit of interest. I kept hoping someone would look past the ambiguous behavioral evaluation he was given at the shelter and see what I saw, but no one did. On the evening of February 9, 2011, while at dinner, I received a text that Mickey was on the list to be destroyed the next day, possibly as early as 6 AM. Although I had not planned to adopt him myself, now I was reconsidering. Certainly, I would at least be willing to foster him.
I got home and started contacting rescues again, prepared to stay up all night if necessary, but no one wanted to take a chance on him or on me. Just when it seemed hopeless, a woman from a rescue returned my email in the early morning hours and offered to help me. The only catch was that I would have to agree to adopt Mickey outright. Without hesitation I said yes.
I did not know it at the time, but Mickey is my heart dog – the one dog out of all the dogs I have loved who grabbed my heart and has never let go. We have a special bond. He “gets” me and vice versa. Mickey has taught me tolerance and patience. Because of him I have learned volumes about dog training and behavior. Knowing what would have happened to him has led me to devote myself to animal rescue and pit bull rescue in particular. Mickey inspired me to write a book with the goal of helping others learn what Mickey has taught me – that it is not the look of a dog that matters, but what is inside. He has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.
As for Mickey, he has turned out to be quite amazing in his own right. He has made lots of new friends.
When I decided to try fostering a rescue dog, Mickey was right there to welcome a very frightened dog into our home and take her under his wing. By the time her new mother found her, she had overcome her fears and was ready for new adventures.
Mickey has met people who have had a lifelong fear of, not only pit bulls but all dogs, and changed their perceptions in a way that no human ever could.
If I never do anything good again, I will know that at least I did one great thing in my life – I gave a home to a scared, unwanted death row dog who has, in turn, given me his heart. I would say we both won.
No, Mickey did not rescue me but he certainly changed the entire course of my life and helped me to be a better person. So, in this season of giving thanks, I just want to say “I love you, Mickey and thank you.”