Lyla Wins the Lottery

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 | 0 comments

 

Earlier this year, I blogged about the loss of our female German Shepherd, Ava (see “Red Vines Will Rain From the Sky“). After our move to Bainbridge Island last month, my wife Michelle and I decided that our new house felt a little empty with just our two boys – Sam and Sarge (also German Shepherds). The time was right for another female.

Michelle follows rescue organizations around the country. One of them is the Westside German Shepherd Rescue in Los Angeles. Not long ago, Michelle noticed that WSGR had rescued a young female stray from “death row” at a Los Angeles animal shelter just hours before the poor dog’s scheduled execution. No one knew her background so they named her Katja. Michelle was struck by Katja’s looks – she’s a long-haired German Shepherd with bold rust and black markings. She looks very similar to Ava. We talked it over and decided to go for it. We don’t make this decision lightly – we’ve been fortunate to share our homes with five German Shepherds over the past seventeen years. In addition, we’ve fostered a half-dozen more until they were rescued. We know the commitment involved.

Once our decision was made, a flurry of phone calls and emails ensued and soon, we were on an airplane to Los Angeles. Before we left, Michelle had decided to rename Katja “Lyla” – I think partly because Michelle likes the Lyla Garrity character on Friday Night Lights. We’d only seen pictures of Lyla (the dog) before we arrived late Sunday night, but we were very happy when we met her at the rescue and found her to be a very alert, loving, young lady – not at all aware of how close she’d come to the end. Quite the opposite, really – she seemed full of life and quietly confident – as if she’d known all along that we’d show up. She was ready to go home.

We don’t like to fly dogs in the cargo hold of commercial airlines if it can be avoided so we rented a car and made the two day drive home. Now, 1200 miles later, we’re back. As I write this, Lyla’s laying on a pillow in my office sleeping. Michelle’s gone to pick up the boys – they’ve been at the baby sitter’s since Sunday morning. We’re anxious for them to get acquainted so that Lyla can get on with her “new” life. She will be well attended to – compared to where she was last month, she’s won the doggie lottery.

I look at her sleeping and I’m struck that anyone could abuse, abandon or mistreat such a beautiful being – yet it happens over and over. Somewhere between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in this country. What a shocking tragedy. Three or four million lives snuffed out because these poor animals had the audacity to become suddenly inconvenient. People treat these animals as completely disposable and apparently give no value at all to their life.

Obviously, those people are wrong. Thank God for groups like WSGR and for people like my wife Michelle who so anxiously open their hearts and their homes to these needy animals. If you’re thinking about a pet, first rethink it before deciding. Make sure you’re ready for the long haul. If you are ready for the commitment, please consider adopting. I can assure you that somewhere, there’s a perfect companion who desperately needs what only you have to offer.

Lyla has stirred as I finish up. I can clearly see an intelligence in her beautiful golden eyes. She’s her own “person” with her own unique “worth”. Like all of us, she’s one of God’s creatures. She’s been given the gift of life and no one has the right to abuse that gift.

Of course, Lyla doesn’t understand this – that’s our job. Lyla’s smart but not that smart. She’s looking out the window now, taking in her new surroundings. The Pacific Northwest looks nothing like the streets of Los Angeles, but she doesn’t seem too concerned. Why should she? A month ago, she was on the streets. A few weeks ago, she was on death row. Now, she’s resting in a warm home on a soft pillow, about to meet the rest of her family and be pampered for the rest of her days. For her, this seems just about right – no big deal. She probably wonders why everyone’s making such a fuss.

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