You know those I’m not crying, you’re crying stories that come up in your newsfeed where a rescue dog gets matched up with a human and, against all odds, they overcome big obstacles and fall deeply into doggy-human love? Grab your tissues because we’ve got a good one… The story of our founder, Kyla, and her rescue dog Odie has all the tears, joy, and who-saved-who stuff that fill us up with love and gratitude.
Remember Odie, our one-eyed friend featured in A Dog's Guide To Mindfulness? This poor fellah was in really bad shape.
As Kyla tells it, “I was doing a lot of fostering, and there was this little white poodle mix - a stray in Brooklyn with a head wound - who was scheduled to be put down that day because he was just too injured. My aunt sent me his info and I don't know what came over me, I already had a dog - Odie just spoke to me. He was probably 14 years old, he wasn’t eating, his mouth was infected so badly he needed almost all of his teeth removed, he had a head wound, and his eye had to be removed. He needed several surgeries and I agreed to pay his vet bills. He was at the vet in Brooklyn for over a month! It was touch and go, but I finally got a call from Dr. Dan with great news. He’d made it through. His surgery went well, and he would be coming home tomorrow.”
Kyla was ready, but at 3 AM on the day he was scheduled to arrive, her dog and best friend, Ruffy, fell sick and died suddenly in her arms.
“Ruffy was like my child. The only kid I ever had. She’s the reason I started Under the Weather. She was bounding through snow banks one day, and gone that night. And I was supposed to get up in the morning and drive to New Hampshire to pick up this old dog, who now I didn’t even want to see... I was so beyond myself with grief!”
Anyone who’s lost a beloved pet can empathize with Kyla’s pain and grief. It’s hard when life goes on whether we’re ready or not, and all we can do is try to put one foot in front of the other. In Kyla’s case, this unlikely furry angel showed up just in time...
“My best friend picked up Odie from the NYC transporter and showed up at my house. All I wanted was to stay in bed, but Odie was high maintenance. He had to pee every half hour. He needed attention and affection. I couldn’t stay in bed - as he healed he wanted to play and see the world. This beautiful little dog was my angel. He got me up and out. We took slow walks in the woods and we sat by Lake Champlain. He only wanted to be close and in our arms. Odie was so happy. He was only with us for 23 months before he passed away. He lived such a full happy life during that time, and helped me do the same.”
Here, have a tissue. In her most vulnerable moment, this little old dog, nearly written off as dead, showed up with a bigger purpose than he realized. When she signed up to be Odie’s angel, he became hers, to help her through unspeakable grief and into immense gratitude.
Rescue dogs are good like that, aren’t they?
Fostering and rescuing dogs has always been near and dear to Kyla, so part of our mission is to promote adoption by supporting new pet owners during those first weeks of acclimation (bad bellies are a big concern with rescues due to the stress and extreme fluctuations in their diet). When a rescue is in need of nutrients or struggling with digestive issues, we set them up with Ready Cal and Bland Diets to support their journey back to health (ultimately easing the lives of foster parents and new rescue owners). One way we amplify our impact here is to partner with organizations like Muddy Paws, who saved 1,033 dogs in 2019!
Dogs bring us into the moment. They give us unconditional love and acceptance, they remind us to be grateful, and they show us true abundance has nothing to do with material things. Keep an eye out for incoming rescues at Muddy Paws! An irresistible face might spur your own path toward an all-consuming gratitude like the one Kyla shared with Odie.
Kona was a transport dog from PAWS NELA, in Louisiana. I adopted him last August. He is about 2 years old, and a love of a dog! He lived in 2 different shelters down south for over a year, and the minute he came up to the Humane Society of Chittenden County, I fell in [...]