Habersham County Animal Care and Control is located in Clarkesville, Georgia. It is a small county-run shelter, who receive and care for an average of 250 animals per month. Judging from the comments left by visitors to their Facebook page, the staff and volunteers there work very hard to maintain their five-star rating, and keep those “kids” who don’t find homes or rescues, around as long as possible. According to many of the locals, since she arrived, the Director of the shelter, Madi Hawkins, has made great changes to the shelter, reaching out to rescues all over the country, sponsoring low cost spay and neuter services to cut down on the amount of unwanted animals who find themselves without a home.
Sadly, Shadow, one of the dogs Ms. Hawkins befriended, finally reached the end of his stay at the shelter. After a year in the pound, he never found that rescue or forever home. She posted this memorial to Shadow on November 4. It could be about any animal in any shelter who wins the hearts of the workers and volunteers who see them every day, but never get that second chance at a new life. Please honor their memories by reading her heartfelt words about Shadow. Please think about how they shared his last day on earth together. And when you look up in the sky, please pick a star for Shadow.
Ms. Hawkins writes, “Shadow was surrendered to us in February. His owner no longer had time for his eight-year-old, unaltered, unvaccinated, heartworm positive “yard dog.” Shadow had cataracts, wasn’t well-socialized, didn’t get along with other dogs, wanted to eat cats, and barked ALL the time; but, he was OK in my book. He had deep, soulful eyes, LOVED to be brushed, and his favorite toy was a squeaky yellow football, although I’m sure his former family never took the time to learn that in his eight years.
Today, after almost a year in our county-run pound, I had to say good-bye to Shadow. Euthanasia never gets any easier, but some hit you harder than others. When I was walking him out of the kennels, Shadow put the breaks on. I stopped and knelt down to talk to him. I always tell them what’s about to happen, and that I’m sorry and I love them. He knew spending his life in a kennel was slowly sucking the life out of him. He knew that even though I had him on Heartguard for the worms in his heart, that they were slowly killing him. He knew nobody was coming for him. Some dogs know. Shadow knew. And he accepted it better than I did.
When I knelt down on the kennel floor, Shadow put his arms around my neck while I cried into his fur. He gave me kisses, and wagged his tail for the first time in weeks, letting me know it was OK. I sat with him until he passed to the rainbow bridge, collapsing in my arms. A little part of me dies inside every time I am the one to gently insert that needle into their veins. I feel like I failed them. Their families failed them. We failed them.”
Before anyone asks, or accuses the shelter of not doing enough, be assured that his photo was shared, he was taken to adoption events. But the only break Shadow ever got was being loved by Ms. Hawkins, and then he broke her heart.
Please share the Habersham Shelter Kids photos, which can be found here or here on their Facebook timeline, orhere on their Petfinder link. Their phone number is 706-839-0195. If you can, please come to the shelter and adopt a dog or cat in Shadow’s memory. If you’re not in the area, please visit your local shelter and find a Shadow of your own, and bring them home. You’ll discover the biggest problem with truly loving a pet is that they never live long enough.