Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Sweet Nala

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? I

spent 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.

Once there, she didn’t want to do much. We played fetch for a bit, but when the novelty of that wore off, she settled next to me. We sat side by side on the creaky, wooden bench, enjoying the fresh air (not THAT fresh, because we were right by the freeway) and each other’s company. Within that time, she became affectionate. She would wiggle her way under my arm and onto my lap. She would roll onto her back for a belly rub, wiggling so much that she slid off the bench. She was silly and sweet and all she ever wanted was someone to love her.

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.


Sam said...

I, too, had grown very attached to Nala, Asia. She was an awfully sweet and loving girl who missed out on so much in her short life.

I remember how much she enjoyed giving kisses and wiggling herself underneath your knees while you sat and cuddled on a bench in the park. She loved to play, but she loved loving someone more.

I wish that I had been there to say goodbye to her. Thank you for caring for her as much as you did, Asia.

Pam said...

Asia, you did as much as you possibly could. There is so much need in the shelter-- when you are there, you spread your love around and the dogs who are touched by it are so vey lucky. Please be gentle with yourself-- really, I know in MY heart that you did as much as you could to help Nala because that is the kind of person you are. I hope one day you can believe this.