Monday, February 15, 2010

The Very Voluminous Val

R.I.P. Val

What do you get when you cross a bear, an abnormally large farm animal, and a ginormous pit bull? You get Val: a very large, very handsome, very goofy kind of dog. A dog that I really enjoyed spending time with during his short stay at the shelter. A dog that, despite his size, was a love muffin who loved people and affection. A dog that, because of his size, was difficult to handle for some and needed special attention.

Volunteering at the shelter has brought me much joy. But on some occasions it has been exhausting, emotionally draining, and very hard. Still new to the shelter environment, I am still getting used to the fact that some dogs will not find a forever home. Several dogs that I cared for have been put to death....The dogs that I'd come to know and love were desperately unhappy, scared, frustrated and had absolutely no outlet for all of those feelings.

Rudy, Will, Lady, Blue, Rock, Nala, Val and Papa - very different dogs with different temperaments and histories. But they all have one thing in common: their last days were at the shelter. Coming to care for a dog at the shelter, seeing it suffer and develop behavioral problems, then losing them has been so hard. It's no one's fault - it's just the way that it is. And sadly this was the fate of Val, too.

Val, you were stubborn, but loving. Strong, but tender. Goofy, but a quick learner. I enjoyed the walks that I took with you around Aquatic Park...I enjoyed relaxing on the dock together. I had a lot of fun practicing different training techniques with you and watching you actually learning and being eager to please me with the right motivation (natural balance is yummy, right boy?). I'm sorry that I didn't take you out for more walks, I wish I had.


Pam said...

Val's big, broad pittie smile that suggests utter joy in your presence is captured so beautifully by your photo, Sam. Thank you for letting us know more about Val. Indeed, he was a big, goofy guy with a big, lovable personality. He was fortunate to have the time and attention you gave to him in his last days.

Pam said...

Life and death in the shelter is very, very hard. Those who drop the dogs in the night box, let them roam the street to be picked up by an officer, or surrender them over-the-counter are asking us to care for dogs who, for whatever reason, they themselves cannot. Emotionally, it is a very tough mandate.

Joel said...

It's tough when a dog has to be put down for any reason. We should strive to help every dog get into a home but must realize that we will never reach that goal. Even a "high" placement rate means that there are dogs that won't make it for whatever reason. There's a fine line between a dog who ends up like Val and dogs who are not fit for the shelter but make it out (Queenie, Doc, Little, Misty). Success stories are always great but should not let us forget the dogs who were not able to get out of the shelter.

Rob said...

So sorry to hear, Sam. RIP Val.