Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.
"Wishing On a Star"
Written by Tiami Coleburg & Tanna McGill
In the world of dog ownership and rescue there is always much discussion about dogs being a reflection of the caregiver's efforts. Just like they are on our own lives; environment, care and education are indeed huge influences on our canine friends. Though I agree with this in most cases I am often amazed that the dogs that arrive in our care are good dogs regardless of their past owner. So often the dogs we save have had nothing positive in their lives from their human caregivers. They are what I call the "stellar good dogs." They have been resilient through a total lack of all that could be called good environment, care or education. They are just good to their very soul and are unshakable in the belief we as humans deserve their love and respect.
We had the chance and blessing to know just such a dog. She was a tiny Rottweiler with a heart as big as they come. Her life had been filled with humanity that simply did not care. Her origin was probably a back yard breeder to start. Her confirmation is not anything that should have been reproduced. Yet she was not spayed and each year of her life she had puppies. Some of these were for profit and the last litter one was just a mistake. She found herself abandoned with her eight mixed breed puppies in a shed. She was and is a good momma to her babies. Her tiny under developed 60 pound frame was sapped easily by the stress of caring for endless needy little ones and a poor diet and finally no food at all. Her body ached with hunger and finally had to leave her babies briefly to look for food so they would all survive. She went to the nearby houses to seek food from kind people that took pity on her. In the process of hurrying to return to her pups she was struck by a car. One of the neighbors and nice lady named Gerdie saw her lying in the road and called animal control. The officer arrived and scooped up the small broken body from the road. She was in horrible pain but simply whimpered and looked up gratefully into the officer's eyes. She was taken to the vets and x-rayed. As the film revealed to how serious her injuries were, the staff and shelter workers were amazed at her gentle kind natured. Her pelvis was fractured in three places. Yet she never showed the slightest sign she would strike out in pain. She bravely bore once again what life had sadly had brought her. She is bright, strong and beautiful so we named her Star. We hoped the name would bring her good luck.
Star's stray hold time ticked by and R.E.D. waited in the sidelines to step in to help her and her babies as soon as possible. We made sure she was given medical support and pain relief until we could legally do more for her. Animal Control returned to the shack and brought her eight tiny three week old babies to safety. Tanna brought the babies to see their mom and let her see they were ok. She greeted each one with cuddles and kisses and saved one for Tanna in thanks for letting her know her babies were not starving and alone. Due to the severity of Star's injuries the pups would not be able to stay with their mother. They were placed in foster care with Rescue Every Dog until they were ready for their new homes.
Star's former owner was located three days later and he gave her up the legal way this time. Sadly if he had done the right thing by Star, we and she would not have been fighting to save her life. He did provide us with some information on her like; she is good with other dogs, is housebroken, and has lived with children well. He said, "Got her to be a guard dog but she was not any good at it. She won't bark at anyone and likes everyone." I say, "Good dog, Little Rotty Girl. Your confirmation was not perfect but you are an ambassador for your breed." You can not help but love this dog she was full of a special sweet quality that had won the hearts of all that had met her.
Tanna transported her to our vets on Monday morning as soon as she was legally clear. She stopped here briefly so I could meet this gentle little Rotty. I brought out a collar and ID tag for her. I always feel better when our R.E.D. dogs have a collar and ID tags on it shows they are loved once more. As I went to write her name, Tanna said,"You know the old owner told me her name was Ona. Tanna and I both looked at each other and said "On a Star." Tanna leaned over and looked into this beautiful girl's deep brown eyes and said, "Sweet girl we are wishing for you on a star." I wrote her new name Ona Star on her ID tag and we placed it around her neck with love, hope and a hug.
Once at our vets it was determined to save Ona Star and give her a pain free life she needed the help of an Orthopedic Surgeon to correct her injuries. We had the Orthopedic Surgeon check the x-rays and he confirmed that the injuries visible there were correctable. We needed to raise the funds to get her this life saving surgery with in the next couple days or we would be forced euthanize her. This dogs desire to live and kind and gentle nature did not make that an option we wanted to accept.
We made a plea to the public to help us save her life. The result was amazing. We had individuals, companies and groups that support Rottweiler rescue and dog rescue across America unit in this effort to save Ona Star. People from Washington, Michigan, Chicago, Las Vegas, Florida, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, California reached out offering help by; forwarding her plight to others, cross posted her story and offered financial help to Ona Star and the other animals in the R.E.D. Program. We booked Ona Star's surgery. Truly this was an insight that mankind is still as a whole filled with good.
Early in the morning Ona Star lay patiently on her bed listening and watching all the commotion around her. She heard her name and looked up with gentle eyes and a wagging tail. She was told that she was going for another ride - a ride so she could have a better life. Gentle hands picked her up and placed her in RED Transport Team Volunteer Jennifer's car. Ona Star was on her way to the surgeon that planned to put all of her broken pieces back together again.
Jennifer chatted to Ona Star during the drive and told her all about how well her eight tiny babies were doing and how she would take very good care of them for her. She told her she was happy to be their foster mom in her absence and how R.E.D. and she would make sure they had wonderful lives. Jennifer also fell in love like the rest of us already had with this doe eyed Rotty girl.
Ona Star arrived in Seattle and the surgeon was hopeful as he started the 3-4 hour surgery. As he began his surgery his heart dropped and the horror of Ona Star's injuries were made apparent. Ona Star had a sacral spine fractured. The location of the injury would not show up on any of the sets of x-rays and there was no way to predict this terrible discovery. The surgeon sadly reached for the telephone and made the call to Rescue Every Dog... there was no hope to give Ona Star the pain free life we had all hoped and prayed for. Even with surgery Ona Star would be in pain and suffering. The heart breaking decision was made to let our Star go to heaven.
This brave girl will never be forgotten and her sweet spirit and loving gentle eyes will be in our memories forever. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give these trusting souls is to take the pain away and let them fly and be free. The short time our Star was with us we were just amazed at her courageous and loving way. Our Star is now free - running and playing in the sweet grass of heaven.
This was indeed one of the hardest messages I had ever sent to our group and supporters. It was sent through my own tears and grief. I have no doubts that our effort to save this wonderful dog was right, just and good, as was also my painful choice to let her go. In rescue we must try because we do not know which battles for life we will win and which we will lose. We accept this as the reality of our rescue work, and know that sometimes our hearts get broken by the injuries and injustices that we do not have enough skill or magic to solve. To not have tried to save a life so promising would have been wrong. We can rejoice in the fact that we tried and gave her love and comfort. She left this earth loved by many, many people who were for a short time were united on wishing upon a star for another earthly soul in need.
All donations raise for Ona Star will be used for other major medical needs cases that are in and continue to arrive in our program. This shall honor Ona Star's memory and life. We shall make sure that her tragic passing shall give the gift of life to others. The ripple affect of lives saved can already be seen and felt and it helps us heal. The day after Ona Star left this earth. Tanna called Gerdie, the nice woman that found Ona Star in the road, to let her know what had happened. During the conversation Tanna mentioned a young Rotty named Jax at the Shelton shelter that needed a home or he would lose his life. In Ona Star's memory Gerdie has adopted Jax and given him a loving forever home. Cody a 1 and ½ year old Yellow Lab in the RED foster program who needs ACL (knee) surgery will get that surgery. He is a wonderful boy with a painful correctable leg injury A good quality life and forever home is now possible for Cody. Her eight pups grow bigger each day and their future is bright. The names and faces of thoses saved and lives bettered by Ona Star shall continue to grow. Indeed she has not lived or died in vain.
R.E.D. lives touched by Ona Star
Jax was saved by Ona Star through adoption
Cody shall have surgery and a good life because of Ona Star.
Meet Ona Star's Puppies
Her pups grow with each passing day and their futures are bright.
How You Can Help
If you would like to help save lives in Ona Star's Memory mail your tax deductible donation to Rescue Every Dog:
Ona Star Memorial
PO Box 1741
Kingston, WA. 98346
To our Ona Star,
Your spirit will live on in the lives of others in need. Your light shall live on in your children you entrusted in our care. We shall keep them safe. When we look upon their faces we shall see your earthly reflection there. I will look tonight towards the heavens for a new shining star and know you are at peace. We will miss you sweet girl and you are forever in our hearts.
Tiami Coleburg and Rescue Every Dog