Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Silver Lining


Before making her way to Animal Friends, a very pregnant Janis narrowly made it out of a small shelter in Kentucky.

Because they were at capacity, they made temporary outdoor kennels for their resident dogs, including Janis.
But just as quickly as the shelter had creatively made more space, a forthcoming winter storm was all it took to undo their hard work.


And then, it went from bad to worse. Janis had given birth … growing their problem 11-fold.

They needed help – and fast.
The shelter reached out to a rescue group in our region that transports animals in crisis to partner organizations. That organization then contacted us to see if we could take in Janis and her puppies. We, of course, agreed.


And so, Janis with her 11 puppies in tow came to Animal Friends.
They immediately went into a loving foster home.
Janis was the perfect pet. Her foster family quickly decided that she would become a permanent member of theirs, once her puppies were ready to find homes.

But sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned …

Lethargy set in. Janis wasn’t acting like herself. Then the vomiting started and a fever set in. It was mastitis, and she needed surgery.

Despite her weariness, she continued to provide for her puppies. She simply wouldn’t give up on them.


After her surgery, Janis stayed at Animal Friends to recover. She continued to decline. We would do anything to get Janis healthy … but we couldn’t even get her to stand, let alone eat.

Then finally, we caught a break when her foster mom stopped by. Had we known what was about to transpire, well, we would have arranged it much sooner.

As soon as Janis spotted her foster mom, it was like her every ailment fell away. She rose from her bed and exuberantly went to her. In that moment, she was back to acting like the Janis we all knew and loved – even ate for the first time in days for her foster mom.
Their bond was remarkable. Truly undeniable.

We were hopeful that sending Janis home would speed up her recovery but the very next day proved otherwise. Janis couldn’t keep any food or medication down.
Strictures were found in Janis’s throat that made even swallowing painful. So to give her esophagus time to heal, a feeding tube was placed.

There wasn’t anything we weren’t willing to do for sweet Janis.

As the weeks continued, there were good days and bad. Despite all Janis’s pain and misery, Janis remained devoted to her pups … just as her family remained devoted to her.


We wouldn’t give up. We simply couldn’t. However, there are times when loving and letting go is the best thing you can do.

“I’ll never forget that day. It was like everything aligned so that we could all be with her until the very end. A school cancellation kept the boys at home, and the weather was bad early in the day so my husband couldn’t make it into work. Somewhat serendipitous even …”

Janis had pulled out her feeding tube. Her pain was too great. It was clear that there was no real chance for recovery. We were forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to say goodbye.


Surrounded by those who loved her most, Janis was sent off with the utmost dignity, respect and compassion.

She had finally found peace … and her home in the hearts of her foster family.

There truly is a silver lining in every tragedy.
In this case, it was Janis’s sacrifice to ensure her legacy of 11 puppies would go on to become beloved pets who will teach their families about companionship and love.

But, you see, it was also the sacrifice of our staff and volunteers who made sure that Janis and her puppies received the best quality of care we could provide.
At Animal Friends we have an unwavering commitment to give each and every one of our residents the individualized care they need – and deserve.
We’ll continue to work tirelessly for every animal who comes through our doors. We promise an unlimited number of hours and days – even years – of specialized attention.
But we cannot continue without you. Help us continue to find the silver lining.

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