Asha and Bender – Ambassadors of compassion and hope
Just when you think that you have seen it all…there is always one that leaves a forever paw print on your heart. Animals teach us so many things as human beings and they become ambassadors for forgiveness and hope.
Asha, as she came to be called, is that dog (the name Asha means hope or wish).
It was a Sunday afternoon in early October, when a man out for a hike in the Red Head woods contacted the shelter telling us that he had found a poor, starving dog in the bush, wedged between two boulders. The dog was too weak to stand. The good Samaritan picked up the helpless dog, carried her to his car and rushed her to the shelter where our Shelter Manager was waiting there to meet him. She was appalled at what she saw. It was hard to tell Asha’s age and she appeared to be part border collie/lab mix. There was no time for the routine checks. This was critical and an emergency visit to the vet was essential.
Asha weighed a mere 15 lbs – 39 lbs below her normal weight – with no body fat, no muscle mass, severely dehydrated, covered in sores and filthy. The veterinarian had a hard time trying to find a vein to start an IV line. Asha laid there calmly, knowing that her life was in their hands.
What struck you most was the hope and thankfulness that shone through in those big beautiful brown eyes. During the next few days, she would lie down in her kennel at the hospital and reach with her paw as if to feel the healing touch of the veterinary technicians who became her best friends.
Through all this, Asha began to gain weight and even learned to play. She went into foster care and received spa treatments along with training. She has had many helping hands. Her recovery was nothing short of miraculous. It was an honour to witness such a miracle and to now see Asha at rest and play, finally feeling safe and secure again.
Today Asha is a healthy 48 lbs and has found a loving, forever home where she will never be abandoned again. You cry tears of joy when you see her silly antics and her ability to run and play. Asha has a reputation for loving life, people, other animals, and absolutely everything that she sees. Each time she takes a leap, she expresses to the world her thankfulness for that second chance. She seems to say, “look at me now, I am excelling at life!
We first met Bender in September. Bender had been involved in a collision with a motor vehicle and was aptly named from the term “fender bender.” A kind lady contacted us when she found him alone and afraid, laying injured under a car, in uptown Saint John. When he arrived into our care, he was sweet and gentle with big, scared green eyes. This handsome, bright tuxedo with white bib and socks could instantly melt hearts.
Joan Richardson, Shelter Manager said “when I touched the back of his paw one day, I saw his head turn towards me, those soft, green eyes blinking with trust, and I knew that Bender was going to be a special friend.”
Bender’s leg was badly broken and he needed immediate attention so there would be no long term damage. We told Bender’s story with the help of Facebook and the community responded in under twenty four hours with enough donations for his operation. It was incredible.
His operation included wires and a pin in his leg to try to fuse the broken bone. Recovery would include kennel rest and limited activity. Well, Bender had other ideas – try keeping a young, curious cat that still! He leaped out of his kennel one day and needed to have his pin repaired which meant another operation. After that it seemed best for him to remain at the vet’s office until he recovered and they are very happy to have him! He is their special boy. At this time, the wires have been removed but the pin remains. The bones are not completely fused but time should heal this little cat’s leg.
Through his light-hearted and friendly demeanour, Bender tells people and other cats “All will be okay, trust me.” Likewise, when having a bad day, Bender always reminds us to look on the bright side of things.
Here is the lesson we learn from these incredible animals; it is one of inspiration to continue our work and to live our lives in the best possible way. A life that is healthy and connected, with the hope of being able to recover from untold and unimaginable hardship.
How do they recover and return to being trusting, loyal and loving with all of their hearts? They forgive and live in the moment. Asha and Bender symbolize forgiveness, love, trust and hope.
Asha and Bender shared their journeys with us and we are forever changed. Although there was much trauma, the pain and suffering did not linger. Nothing is stopping these beautiful animals from enjoying life to the fullest and spreading joy to all those around them.
Their little hearts are open to everyone they meet. We have witnessed their stories and, as humans, we need to listen to them very carefully. In learning from them, we learn about ourselves.
We can all be better because of them and many more await our rescue. Will you help us to continue helping them?