The Herald Bulletin

December 14, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Volunteers can't save them all, but they have Hope


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Back in the summer I told you about a dog we named Hope. She had been under a shed for two days after she had been hit by a car and her eyeball was lying on her cheek. I and a couple of volunteers coaxed her out from under the shed with lots of baby talk and a pack of hot dogs. I'll never forget lying in the mud looking in that eye and willing that dog to trust me. I named her Hope when she crawled out and into our laps.

We took her to the veterinarian immediately and her eye was removed. We found out that she was a stray and had been living under that shed for at least eight months and was being cared for by the people who lived in the house. We were also told this was the second time she had been hit by a car — the last time her hip and back leg had been injured.

Hope had the opportunity to go home with one of our long-time foster parents and volunteer Molly Parker Breckinridge. At Molly's home Hope had two kids to play with and love her. She got to ride in boats and go swimming. Hope had a life of love and adventure, and every time I saw a picture of her latest escapade I swore she was smiling.

This last month Hope wasn't quite herself. We took her to the veterinarian and she received pain medication for her hip after finding nothing on the lab work. This seemed to help for a few weeks. Then she stopped eating and refused to get up. Two hours after being dropped off for more tests at the veterinarian she died in the arms of veterinarian technicians at Devonshire.

Molly and her family were devastated by the decline and the death of Hope. The last six months of Hope's life was probably the best she had ever experienced. How could it not be? She was showered with love and care. Molly and her family had a discussion and decided that Hope would want them to save another dog. So the day after Hope passed they came and got a young dog to take Hope's foster spot.

This is why we do what we do. No matter how many times our hearts are broken by abuse we see or the loss of creatures we love, we continue to do it all over again. We can't save them all, but we save who we can and it gives us Hope.

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Join us on Dec. 21 to light candles for loved ones — humans and pets — who have passed. Come to Edgewood Country Club for this moving ceremony. The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. and includes wine tasting, appetizers and desserts, and luminaries for a $25 donation. RSVP to maleahstringer@aol.com.

If you simply want to participate in the candle lighting ceremony, come at 6 p.m. to get your candle and luminaries for $5 a candle. The blessing and lighting will be at 6:30. If you cannot join us in person but want us to light a candle for a loved one who has passed, send a check to the Animal Protection League.

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.