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Personal Stories

Van Gogh May You Dance

I met Van Gogh in 2001 while I worked to save lives in Bremerton Animal Control and I also worked for R.E.D. to make those BAC rescues possible. BAC had no adoption program to really speak of prior to our arrival to help them and 90% of the dogs that came in did not come out. R.E.D. turned those sad numbers around and quickly made sure each dog got a chance at life. Van Gogh was one of the dogs that was truely special and danced his way into my heart. Here is the email that was sent out in 2001 along with a prayer it would bring a home to save his life.

One of the hazards of being a Shelter Adoption Coordinator is getting attached. You walk a line trying to learn about each Companion Animal, to give them the best chance at the correct home. Hopefully, without breaking your own heart if that home is not found. More often than not we loose the battle to stay indifferent. I have often compared it to gambling. I let myself love them, I send out their stories which are surrounded by my heart. Then I just hope we save the life, I let myself love and perhaps get back all the pieces of my heart. There are some animals that you try hard not to bond with because the odds are against them.
The day I met this Black Lab mix my first word were, "Oh my, you poor boy." He was skin and bones. The horrible spike collar he had around his neck dangled because he had nearly been starved to death. His happy wagging tail and the spike collar stood out in huge contrast. He looked up at me and I then noticed his ear was missing. I felt my heart attempting to shield itself," Don't go here" it said, " This one will hurt, you know it."
Each day this happy, skinny, black dog would greet me. He showed skills he should not have, with the place he supposedly came from. BAC officers found him and another dog chained to a dog houses, starving to death. A home has been found for the other dog and she is doing very well. So why does he know how to sit and lie down? Why does he know all about cookies and loves to be petted. Why does he know about going for car rides and walks well on lead. I now believe he had a owner that loved him at one time. Who knows the trail of life that brought him to such a sad, sad place.
Each time at the kennel I would find something new about this silly dog. I finally named him "VanGogh." I discovered he would stand up tall and straight on his hide legs and walk for a cookie. One of the Kennel staff that had seen Van Gogh do just that, said "I see you are starting to dance with those dogs now."
So for the last month, VanGogh the earless Dog and I have danced. But today I cried when I left the kennel. I was told, "For Van Gogh, time has run out, he must find a home immediately."
Yes, today I knew Van Gogh and I had had, "Our last dance......"
Please if you can give this 2 year old black lab mix a loving home contact us. By passing this Email to another, the story of a innocent life may just reach the family that could save that life. Please join the RED Alert Rescue Chain. To Van Gogh, "Thank you for the dance and I'm praying for you." Tiami
The above email and prayers were answered and Van Gogh danced his way into the home and hearts of his new adoptive family. Here is an update we posted on him as he live and loved.

Hi Everyone,Van Gogh Napping

Hi Tiami,
I thought I would send along a couple of photos of Van Gogh from our summer backpacking trip. He's hard to catch on camera because he's so dark but hopefully you can see that he's having a good time. In the napping photo, he's crashed next to me however our other dog Aspen is up to her usual tricks rummaging through someone's stuff.

Van Gogh hikingVan Gogh has been such a joy to have and we feel very fortunate to have found him. He and Aspen have a lot of fun together and balance each other very well (she the mischievous one and he the angel). Thanks so much for all your efforts to help animals in need find their "forever home". We can't imagine our home without Van Gogh now and look forward to many more years of fun and companionship with him.

Happy holidays to you!
Warmest wishes,
Clint, Laura, Aspen and Van Gogh!


The Last Dance

August 2008

When rescue has been your life you see that you can change fate for another being. A life that without your commitment to the rescue mission would have ended before it should have. Life just stolen and wasted. But instead the efforts made give back the life so close to the darkness. They live long lives surrounded by loving people and danced the dance of life in the natural life span they were given. I received an email from Van Gogh's family that he has danced his last dance on earth. Farewell Dancing Dog I shall hold you in my heart. Tiami

Here is a note from his family
Just a brief note to everyone letting you know that we had to put Van Gogh down last Thursday, July 3.  The email below was the beginning of a 7.5 yr relationship with a dog that by all accounts should have distrusted humans but whom we found to be full of loyalty and trust.  We miss his eternal enthusiasm for life and his thumping tail.  We are in the process of recovering tennis balls from around the yard, a poignant reminder that often times the most joyous things in life are really the simple things. 
Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and thoughts through the past 7 months.  We consider our lives richer for having had Van Gogh a part of it and a bit lonelier now that he is gone.
Here is a  picture that captures two things that were unique to Van Gogh - the tennis ball in his mouth, his absolute favorite toy (he could play for hours with a tennis ball, and only a tennis ball as other balls did not interest him) and the blur of his wagging tail which never stopped.  In fact, the 'thump' of his tail is what everyone who knew him, remembers most fondly.  This one shows him in his more 'mature' state, but still a handsome boy. 

"Farewell to our Dancing Dog and I shall hold you in my mind where I can still see you dancing tall and strong. It is dogs like you and the families who share their lives with you that make the work we do so worth it all. Once again Van Gogh, Thank you, for the dance." Tiami

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