I’ll never forget the moment I met my best friend at the New Hampshire SPCA.
Over the past year, I had seen my fair share of scared, unwanted dogs sitting in their kennel, nervously watching as people walked by – people who would stop at the kennel, kneel down to get a better look, and unknowingly add a bit of stress to the dog’s already-hectic day. I saw that just about every time I went into the Dog Pavilion.
More heartbreaking, though, are the dogs who just sit there waiting for someone — anyone — to notice them. The dogs that are just so uncertain about their situation that they just beg for a second chance. I see dogs get passed up on by people because they look too ordinary, their head is just a bit too blocky, or, they’re just too old.
That was Jazzie.
My dog was available for adoption at the NHSPCA for exactly a month before I was able to adopt her. She sat in her kennel during the day, waiting for someone to fill out that paperwork and call her theirs. She was 12 and had been surrendered because her family decided they didn’t have time for her anymore.
Those who visited saw an anxious dog who was brave enough to stay toward the front of the kennel but didn’t stop shaking. They saw a dog with the saddest eyes and a broken spirit. But, working at the NHSPCA allowed me to see a little more of the behind-the-scenes stuff that visitors didn’t.
I got to see a staff member, Denise, take Jazzie home at night so she wouldn’t have to sleep in her kennel alone. I got to see Jazzie’s face light up and her body relax as her favorite volunteer, Barbara, approached her kennel and grabbed the leash in preparation for their afternoon walk.
I saw photos of Jazzie being read to by volunteers. I saw staff members pop by her kennel throughout the day just to make sure she was doing okay. I heard that she was an absolute champ during her checkups with our staff veterinarian, and that she was a much-loved dog by the med staff.
Being surrendered as a 12-year-old dog used to be a death sentence, and in some places in the country, it still is. But not at the NHSPCA. If Jazzie had to be surrendered anywhere, I’m so thankful that it was to this shelter, because she has so much life left to live. Having spent the past year with her, I simply couldn’t dream up a more perfect dog to be part of my family.
I’m grateful that she ended up at the NHSPCA, where we not only adopt out senior animals, but we do it so frequently that it’s hardly considered a challenge. I’m thankful that she ended up at the NHSPCA, where staff and volunteers work together to make sure all dogs, regardless of age and breed, are cared for. We make sure all dogs, even the ones that feel so defeated and unlovable, are loved unconditionally.
During Paws Walk Reimagined, Jazzie and I are going to walk for all the senior dogs who will turn to the NHSPCA this year in search of a warm bed, a nutritious meal, and a second chance. We’re going to walk for all the senior dogs who come in looking for love and leave having found just that.
The world can seem overwhelming and scary right now, but I know that participating in Paws Walk Reimagined is one way I can give back and make a difference right from my own home. While we will miss the event itself, I’m looking forward to taking Jazzie to her favorite trail and knowing that with every step we take, we’re helping homeless senior animals.
There’s really not much better than that.
Will you join us?
– Melissa Mower is the Marketing and Graphic Design Associate at the New Hampshire SPCA.