Several years ago, a dog arrived at a local shelter. His ears had been cut off, he was 20 pounds underweight, and had been living on his own for months. He was likely used as a bait dog and either escaped or dumped when they didn't need him anymore. He had no hope of making out of the shelter. He was only visible to shelter staff and volunteers. One of those volunteers was my daughter, who made a frantic call to me begging me to come get this sweet dog that no one wanted. That day, Rudy was rescued.
I have taken in several strays over the years and either kept them for my own, or tried to find them a forever home. I was not an official rescue, but have always had a soft heart for strays and did what I could.
Rudy, two days after rescue from a shelter.
Although Rudy's life was saved that day it has not always been easy. In the beginning, he had to learn how to be a dog. He was food aggressive, fearful of most everything, hated to ride in the car and would try to escape every chance he got. He only wanted to be around me or other people, and didn't want to bond with the other dogs at all. With time, Rudy tackled each issue one by one and I was able to start looking for a forever home. We found that home, or so I thought.
Rudy was placed in a home in a neighborhood that I moved from after getting married. A friend who lived close to Rudy's new adopter, called and told me that he had seen Rudy running loose in the neighborhood on several occasions. I called the new adopter and visited the house several times randomly. Rudy was always safe and secure in the yard or in the house whenever I drove by. Satisfied that Rudy had probably just escaped the yard a few times, (remember, he is an escape artist) my random home checks became fewer and fewer. This was a mistake I will always regret.
Several months passed. I received a surprise phone call one evening from an Animal Control Officer, who worked with the City of Fort Worth. He told me that he had just picked up a dog who's chip was registered to me, and asked if he could bring the dog to me instead of taking him to the shelter. The dog's name was Rudy and apparently he had been running the streets for months. I had a pit in my stomach that I remember to this day. I immediately started crying and waited for the officer to bring Rudy to my home.
When they arrived with Rudy, he was almost in the same physical shape as he was the day I picked him up from the shelter. The ACO told me that a concerned neighbor had been calling about him for weeks saying that his owner said she didn't want him anymore and put him out to fend for himself. The ACO had cruised the neighborhood several times looking for him but was never able to locate him, until today. He miraculously was able to catch Rudy and he was rescued again.
I took Rudy in the house and promised him he would never have to leave me again. I still feel the guilt of releasing him to such a horrible person. To a place that I thought would be his loving, forever home.
The guilt, disgust and anger over his circumstances gave me the desire to do something bigger and better for dogs like Rudy. What I was doing was not enough. I still took in strays, fostered for other rescues and learned everything I could. Although it took a few years, my dream of starting a rescue has come true. Rudy is the inspiration and spirit that drives our "official rescue". Rudy's Rescue.
It’s been a few years since Rudy’s return. During that time, Rudy had a happy life and ushered in many temporary fosters. He bonded with a female pit bull named Puddin, and they were inseparable. Sadly, Puddin passed away. In less than 3 months, Rudy went to join her. Our hearts are only comforted by the thought that they are together again.
Rest in peace, beloved Rudy.
Deirdra (Sam) Maraist