The Herald Bulletin

November 23, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Those who do rescue work trying to make a difference


The Herald Bulletin

---- — First responders to crime and tragedies as well as people who do rescue work whether it is for animals, children, victims of domestic violence, the elderly or any other living creature who doesn't have a voice have their hearts broken on a regular basis. We often find ourselves sad, mad or depressed because it never ever ends. We see the worst that humans do each other and other living creatures. This is one reason the turn over rate for staff and volunteers in shelters for animals and humans is so high.

So why do we do it? Well, this is just my take: To make a difference, to not let evil win and because of the incredible joy we experience when we help save a life or make that life better for someone else — animal or human. We do it out of compassion and to validate our humanity, which brings us to Animal Protection League volunteer Lindsay and Georgia the senior Great Dane who came to us last year.

Georgia was surrendered to the Animal Protection League by her owner at the age of 7. She was so obese she could not get up or down on her own, her nails were so long she could not put her paws flat and the inside of her ears were caked with filth. The owners said they could no longer care for her.

We put her in a kennel on the kennel floor but that terrified her; so she ended up in our office for two days before Lindsay, who loves Danes, took her home. Georgia was put on a diet and exercise program and improved rapidly under Lindsay's care. Georgia had joint problems and we knew at some point that would become an issue, but we wanted to give her a great life for as long as we could. Lindsay and Georgia fell in love. The big baby loved to carry her stuffed toys with her everywhere she went and lived for her special canned food. She was a pig at heart.

Unfortunately Georgia's body started to break down these last couple of months. Lindsay and the veterinarian kept her comfortable with medication, but her quality of life was starting to decline. Lindsay had promised herself and Georgia that she would not let her suffer and would let her go when the time was right. Lindsay made that compassionate decision last week and said goodbye to her beloved Georgia. Lindsay's heart was broken.

One week later we had a 4-month-old Mastiff puppy who had been hit by a car surrendered to the Animal Protection League. There was so much damage that his back leg had to be amputated. His owner decided he did not want the sweet little guy. Knowing that Lindsay is a sucker for the huge breeds I sent a subtle text message just letting her know we had him. She came and got him that same night. She accused me of playing dirty as she was carrying Lincoln to the car. She will save him and he will save her from her grief over Georgia. Sounds like a win-win. We can't save them all; but we will certainly do our best to save as many as we can.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.