All I knew about being a Rescue Mom was what I gathered from the comments I’d heard. And certainly, I couldn’t drive around town without noticing how many families chose to display this emblem to proclaim their membership in the rescue community.
So I figured there had to be something special about it.
Being a Rescue Mom may be old news for so many of you.
I’m just now celebrating my first year anniversary with my very first Berner rescue, Heidi. I’ve told the story of how we found each other, nearly 5 years after I lost Zelda.
Absolutely, I deeply admire and applaud the people who bravely step into a desperate situation and risk physical harm or challenge societal boundaries to come to the rescue of a dog in danger of abuse or death – through no fault of the dog’s. I know for a fact there are people like that in our own Zelda’s Song pack.
But Heidi’s situation was a little different.
She was not abused. Maybe she didn’t get all the attention she deserved. Maybe her chronic dry eye issue, which requires the constant application of lubricating eye drops to replace her missing tears, became too much. I don’t really know for sure. All I do know is that after 6 years, she needed a new home.
At the time, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I’ve always had very finely bred Bernese Mountain Dogs, raised from puppies. And I loved all of them to pieces. I didn’t think it would be any different this time around.
I was about to learn, quite unexpectedly, that bringing a rescue into your home opens up new territory in your heart.
A New Way to Love More
I knew that originally, Heidi was purchased at a Petland pet store. Subsequently, I discovered something far more sinister about her background. She was born at the most notorious puppy mill in America at the time, and had barely escaped it when it was shut down by state authorities who had to euthanize over 1,500 dogs still there. (More about that here.)
And I’ve come to experience how crippling her chronic dry eye can be. I don’t mind wiping goopy eye boogers and applying eye medicine all day. But regardless of treatment, the condition clouds her eyes continually, severely limiting her line of sight and causing her to trip over curbs, walk into tree branches, or not see her food bowl. It breaks my heart.
An Oasis of Joy
All of this doesn’t diminish Heidi’s beautiful Berner smile or heart. Or her Berner stubbornness. It doesn’t stop her from grabbing her leash in her mouth and shaking “no” when I want her to do something. Or snorting like a little piggy when she detects a cookie in my pocket.
And so I make sure that at the end of the day, nearly every day, we take time to share the good in our lives. On the floor, in front of the TV, Heidi has come to learn about the delight of belly rubs. And I delight in knowing that together, we’ve created an oasis of joy that is the true fabric of our lives.
Are you a Rescue Mom? What do you think makes the experience of having a rescue dog different?