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Noteworthy things happen every time I set foot on the Rez. Inevitably, those things change how I see the world or live life. Last month, RezDawg let me out for a field trip (check out our photo album on Facebook) to the spay/neuter clinic in Pinehill, NM. On this trip to the Rez, The Drawer Puppies are who/what delivered. My moment of change came early on Day Three.
Please understand that spay and neuter clinics are M*A*S*H units in (poor) disguise. Rez Dawg Rescue moved a vet, a vet tech, dozens of dog cages, medical supplies/equipment, volunteers and a metric ton of blankets hundreds of miles to the firehouse in Pinehill to set up shop. It’s a logistically stylish operation but the level of energy and organizational skills required to pull it off is staggering. The real fun – the hands-on – starts when you open the door on Day One. If you’re lucky, you’ll see an endless stream of cats, dogs and responsible pet owners waiting to do the right thing. That would confirm that local people recognize you as a trusted resource, know when you’re available and want the best for their pets. That’s exactly what happened for RezDawg Rescue in Pinehill and seeing that line at the door is a fun and exciting way to start the day. But fun can be exhausting.
By Day Three, everybody working the clinic was running on empty. The volunteers were spread throughout the cavernous room concentrating silently on their tasks: cleaning cages, shaving cats for surgery, petting dogs out of anesthesia or bottle feeding a surrendered pup taken from its mama too soon. Even the chocolate chip cookies from the buffet were having little effect. (Side note, the lasagna on that buffet was life changing – 10/10 would try again.)
Someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Come here, you’ve got to see this.” The Drawer Puppies had arrived. As I made my way to the “front desk,” I noticed that all the volunteers had stopped what they were doing – frozen in place – and were looking towards the door. They sensed something unusual but didn’t know what it was. After pausing for a second or two, they stopped working and gathered around an old wooden desk drawer full of puppies.
“What’s their story?” “Why are they in a drawer?” “Oh my, how cute, can I pick one up?” A frenzy of cuteness followed but that’s to be expected. Turns out The Drawer Puppies are special. Their superpower is to lift spirits just by being in the room. Their magic worked on every member of the RezDawg team; the volunteers, rescue partners and even a few folks who came by to drop their dog off for spay/neuter. After a minute or two, everyone drifted off back to their assigned job – but they did it with huge smiles and happier steps. The energy of the entire event had changed – not just because The Drawer Puppies were in the house. The energy also changed because of how they arrived.
As April kicked off, a Navajo family near Pinehill noticed a new mama and her three pups “living rough” nearby. Not long after, the mama left never to return. At four weeks old, the pups were defenseless against everything from coyotes to cold. They would have lasted a few days at best but the Navajo family had an old desk drawer and big hearts. They put the puppies in the drawer and brought them to the firehouse and the RezDawg clinic for an “owner surrender.” In the world of rez dog rescue, this is a huge win.
This entire story took place in less than five minutes but I learned two things during that short time:
-While all puppies are special and cute, some puppies are more special. The Drawer Puppies proved the point by changing the day for a whole group of people – just by showing up.
-People who work clinics have a larger capacity for joy than the rest of us. The look in their eyes as they petted or held the pups was so ridiculously heartwarming I nearly staggered. I didn’t ask anyone why they volunteered at clinics because the answer was right in front of me.
That capacity for joy is why the rescuers mentioned in the previous blog do what they do. The dog mentioned in that email was rescued but some of the information was confused… the actual dog was the wrong age, color and sex but who cares, the rescue happened. I was copied on another email a few days ago involving this same group of rez dog rescuers. Seems there is another puppy abandoned in the exact same spot. “Can anyone get out to (Rez Community) today?” they asked.
I hope so.
Actually, I’m sure of it.
All for now…