Thursday, August 9, 2018

"Nous sommes responsables pour ceux qui nous avons apprivoise." - We become responsible forever for what we have tamed. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to show us what we (and the people around us) are made of.

A nightmare struck last week that tainted my view of humanity and changed my and my dog Hazel's life. It's not worth mentioning the perpetrator of this violence. If you'd like to read about it, you can here.

In a nutshell, my beloved Hazel, who was born on our property and has lived out her year and a half of life in blissful, pain-free happiness was shot by a .38 caliber handgun by a man who wanted to murder her on Wednesday, 1, 2018 about 6 p.m. The worst thing was, I was not home when this act of violence happened. I was 30 minutes away visiting with my mom.

There is no question his intent was Hazel's death and he took aim at the most vital of her organs. The bullet's trajectory shattered one rib, grazed her heart barely missing the superior vena cava, shot through her lower lobe of her right lung, pierced her diaphragm and landed, finally, in her stomach. Pretty much all vital organs in one shot.

Hazel has been a highly intelligent, sensitive dog from day one. Somehow in a litter of almost all white puppies, born December 8, 2016, Hazel stood out as the only agouti.

Hazel and her sister Stella forming a puppy yin yang
Hazel's parents are two of the best dogs in my kennel: my main leader, Tosh, and quiet but tough-as-nails Fiona.

Naturally pups born from two of my favorite, best dogs of all time would become extra special to me, and Hazel was right from the beginning. Hazel was extremely close to her mom from day one, and still is today.

Me and a six-week-old Hazel

Four-month-old Hazel on a hike at Towner's Woods in Kent

Hazel grew into a tall, leggy, swift and sensitive yearling.

When my very best lead dog and best friend B.B. became sick with a brain tumor, Hazel seemed to know she was hurting and was by her side constantly...

B.B. and Hazel as her 24/7 support buddy if for moral support.

Hazel lived a carefree, blissful, happy existence.

When my rescued cat, Walnut (aka Wally) was stuck in the black walnut tree in our front yard for five days, he met Hazel, and it was instant love. When B.B. died in June, Wally became Hazel's side kick.

Two boneheads, Hazel and Wally (Hazelnut and Walnut) watching me from my living room window the day after B.B. died

Sharing a dog crate
It's clear, Hazel has been something extra special since the beginning. So when this attempted murder happened, it shook me to the core - which is exactly what this man wanted. You see, his issue isn't with Hazel; his issue is, somehow, with me. I've never done a thing to him, my neighbor, and yet, he hates me.

But this is not a post about monsters or negative people who do bad things. This is a post about 149 people - some of them strangers - who do amazing things and turned what could have been a tragedy into an astonishing act of compassion.

When I rushed Hazel to the emergency vet 45 minutes on the other side of the nearest city, I didn't know if she would make it. She was shaking and clearly in shock and had lost a lot of blood.

Hazel the first night in the hospital
I had no idea how extensive the damage was. When Dr. Fox from Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital  walked in after several hours, I could tell by the look on her face it was not good news. 

She proceeded to tell me about all the vital organs that were hit by the bullet, and the extensive exploratory abdominal and thoracic surgery needed to save her life. And then the price tag: $6,000 at least, and it could be more. 

It felt like someone kicked me in the chest. The blow that man so clearly wanted to punch me with had succeeded. I sobbed. I panicked. How on earth could I afford this? How on earth could I afford not to? 

Dr. Fox left to allow me to mull it over. I didn't know how, but suddenly in my heart I knew with absolute certainty giving up was not an option. I knew with absolute certainty that I would find a way to save Hazel's life. be continued...