Nala never got the chance to be a puppy. Her last moments were spent alone in a concrete and metal walled cage. It’s anyone’s guess where Nala was before she arrived at the shelter. Maybe at one point in time she had a person who cared about her and a place to call home or, maybe, she was “just an animal” who was a apart someone’s home decor. All we know is that she was put out on the streets at 11 months old and left to fend for herself.
When I first met Nala, she hadn’t been out of her kennel in four days. She was in heat and wasn’t allowed to go on any walks. When I went to read her walk card, she stared up at me with longing eyes, her head cocked to the side. How could I say no to a face like that? Ispent 10 minutes or so getting to know her in her kennel before I took her out, because the comments from other volunteers said she was a bit hand shy (and, boy,were they right!). For the first minute or so, she ducked her head every time I attempted to pet her, but her avoidance lessened as time ticked by. Eventually, I got her leashed up and brought her to the play area under the overpass.
Over the course of a month, I really got to know her. I took her out every time I went to the shelter, always remembering to stop and rest on the bench by the estuary for a quick cuddle. I gave her fluffy blankets whenever I got the chance and extra food to fill her skinny frame. I wanted so badly for her to do well in an environment that I knew broke down so many animals.
A few weeks later, we found out Nala had ringworm, but I didn’t care. When I could, I walked her, and when I couldn’t, I spent time with her in her kennel. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. Nala’s physical and mental health quickly deteriorated and she was put to rest on January 11, 2010.
I always wonder if things would have been different if I had done more for her: taken her out more, sat with her longer. Having these regrets - knowing that maybe I could have done something to save her - is eating away at me.
I will always remember her and her lively spirit, her sweet kisses, and her silly little stare.Hopefully, she is looking down on us from Doggie Heaven, a place happier than this world could ever be.