In the world of animal rescue it is easy to become jaded and cynical when we see the abuse, neglect and the horrific conditions in which some animals must live. How easy it can be to completely lose faith in humanity and wonder what we as a society have become.
Then, in the blink of an eye, everything changes – like a new year, or the dawning of a new day, we find a new beginning and new hope.
Such was the case a few weeks back when the photo of a blind, elderly pit bull, tied to a pole in Brooklyn, New York, without food or water, waiting patiently for his people to come back for him went viral on the internet. This dog sat for two whole days in freezing temperatures, not knowing where he was or why, before finally being picked up by Animal Control and taken to the city shelter where he was given the name Bruno.
For dogs like Bruno – the seniors, the special needs dogs, the unwanted, the discarded – shelters are all too often synonymous with death camps. There are too few homes for even the most adoptable dogs that enter the shelter system and only a small percentage ever make it out. The odds were overwhelmingly stacked against Bruno and it appeared likely that he would die much like he lived; alone, unwanted and unloved.
This time though, something magical happened. Whether it was the power of social media, a holiday miracle or a combination of both, the stars aligned for this old boy and it seemed like the whole world came together for him, to show him love and finally give him a chance at the life he so richly deserved.
Bruno was saved by Pibbles and More Animal Rescue (PMAR) and a foster home was found for him. His foster mom set up a Facebook page for him and overnight, before he even arrived at his new home his page had over 1,200 likes. Now, already over 3,000 people are checking in to follow the daily antics and escapades of sweet, loveable Bruno.
What happened next was astonishing, beyond my wildest dreams. Within minutes after the online event was posted, the orders started coming in and by the time we were through the total donation was nearly triple my previously most successful fundraising event.
Each day pictures were posted on Bruno’s page of treats, toys and supplies that people were sending to him. For a dog, who had been thrown away like trash, suddenly the world was his oyster. It truly felt like one sweet old dog, who started with nothing, had touched a million hearts and brought out the best in all of them.
When I look at the world today as opposed to a few weeks ago, not much has really changed. Animals are still being abused, neglected and dumped in shelters when it is no longer convenient for their owners to keep them, and we as a society need to do better, but Bruno’s case proves that there is hope.
When so many people can come together and make such a monumental difference in the life of one dog – a dog most of them will never meet – I feel like there is hope for all of us. There are still so many people who care and who want to help, and as long as that is the case I feel like we will be alright.
While the real heroes are the people who rescued him and the family that has taken him in, given him stability and love, and has seen to it that his every need is met, I think we can all feel pretty good to be a small part of Bruno’s journey and just tag along for the ride.