For every dog that is rescued, and given a home, there are nine who won't be. They will be the ones you see wandering the streets, foraging for food from garbage cans, making a home in the city dump, being abused by casual savages, slain by traffic on the side of the road, or are euthanized because the rescue facility simply cannot support the large number of dogs who are abandoned.
Happily, this is a story of redemption; the story of one little dog who, after living in the cruel streets for years, would get one last chance at love.
A fella named Cody Leightenheimer was working late at a flooring factory about a year ago. He paused in his work to gaze down the length of the warehouse and spied a small dog standing in the large bay door of the warehouse. After staring at the man for several minutes, the little dog began making his way toward him. When Cody approached the dog, it showed no fear so Cody bent down to pet him and saw that his bones were protruding and he was covered in fleas. So Cody went out and bought some chicken-based fast food and fed the dog. Having fallen instantly in love with this waif of a dog, Cody began taking pictures with his cell phone and sending them to his wife. He was hoping he could touch his wife's heart and be given permission to bring the dog home....which she did..and he did.
They took the dog to the vet and the examination showed the little guy had been so malnourished for so long that growth was stunted. Worse, he was losing his teeth, had cataracts that dimmed vision, showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head, has open sores in his mouth, had stomach ulcers and was completely deaf. The vet estimated the little guy's age to be somewhere between 8 and ten years old and weighed only 7 pounds.
So the vet did the best he could but advised Cody and wife Kasie that this little dog would have only a few months to live. So of course they took the little one home and bathed him and fed him and pampered him. The children would call the little dog "Toothless" and the named was embellished to "Toothless Rooster Cogburn"
So the family showered Toothless with love, and everyone from the vet to family friends to complete strangers fell in love with Toothless at first meeting. And Toothless would bask in the glow of all this love and would learn to love eating well and taking warm naps and returned the love in kind.
And so the little dog, who had been given a few short months to live, stuck around a bit longer, not wanting to leave this harbor of love that he had sailed so sweetly to so late in his life. But no matter how much he longed to stay the Rainbow Bridge was calling....
Cody said the little dog just got too sick to grace us with his awesomeness for one more day. So, last week, with his adoptive mom and dad holding his paw he crossed over that Rainbow Bridge where all God's creatures go when their work here is done.
I have two of these "creatures of unconditional love"...or they have me. I hand picked them. But I swear, if I outlive my two current "children" I will never again "buy" a dog. I will go and rescue one...and he or she will no doubt rescue me right back.