"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being," -Unknown
When we first saw her, she was in a concrete cage far too large for her tiny body. There were dark circles around her eyes from being malnourished. Her white hair was brown with dirt and a matted mess.
She walked slowly from the back of the cage when my husband approached. As he put his hand to the cool metal, she pushed the side of her face against it, trying to feel his touch. Her entire body followed. Like she was just willing herself out of that cage and in to his arms.
And that was that. We had to have her. The people at the shelter told us they thought she must have been on the street for a while, based on her level of malnutrition and being so dirty. They found her in the night drop box at the shelter. At the time, this shelter still euthanized animals due to overcrowding.
A wonderful rescue organization in Austin, Texas, Wee Rescue, scooped her up from that kill shelter and after a “home visit,” she was ours.
We didn’t know they were going to leave her with us that day and we hadn’t wanted to get our hopes up, so we didn’t have anything she needed. But as soon as the lady from Wee Rescue pulled away, we were off to the store, buying food and treats, bowls, a bed, toys, a collar and leash and maybe a couple of cute little outfits. She rode in the basket and seemed happy, but unsure.
She came to us as Lila, but we didn’t think the name fit her. A veterinary check-up confirmed she was about 1.5 years old. But 3 days later, she still didn’t have a name.
One night, we were watching a movie and there was a document on the screen and my husband and I both saw the same word at the same time and we looked at each other and said it together and smiled.
And that was 10.5 years ago and every day since, she has been the joy of our lives.
She loves bike rides in her basket. Walks, not so much. But she is happy playing in the park and running through the soft grass. That bed we bought was never slept in. The very first night we had her, she put her little front paws on the side of our bed and whimpered. And that was that. She’s slept with us ever since. And when our parents have kept her for us, she sleeps in their beds, too.
She came to us totally potty trained, but we haven’t escaped some of the horrors of being dog parents. Shortly after we got her, she tested positive for heartworms. If you’ve never had to treat your dog for that, count yourself lucky.
When she was younger, she would sleep on my pillow, curled around my head. One night, I heard a noise and then felt some warm liquid running down my face. She literally threw up on my face. Yes, we dog parents have our stories, too, friends.
But there’s something about Noodle. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her. Truly. I’m not saying that because she’s ours (it’s not like I have anything to do with it). It’s just the truth. She’s a charmer. She LOVES people. She acts like people were put on this Earth to love her. Not in an obnoxious way. In that completely innocent way a dog has. She wags her tail anytime a human is near her and in the rare instance a person passes by without acknowledging her, that fluffy little tail goes right between her legs.
I love to watch her sleep and listen to the little noises she makes when she dreams. I love to watch the joy she brings to my husband. My favorite sound is the two of them playing in another room.
In our darkest days, she never leaves our side. If we’re sick or sad, she knows. Just like she pushed her body against that cage the first time we met, she pushes herself against us when we’re hurting. She knows. She is a 10 pound ball of comfort and unconditional love and I can’t imagine our lives without her.
No, we weren’t there for her cute puppy days and I’ll admit, I really wanted a puppy when we started looking for a dog to love and bring in to our home. But 10.5 years with Noodle have taught me some things.
The ones you rescue just seem a little more grateful. It’s like they know. Everyone wants a puppy. But you wanted them.
As I type, Noodle is pressed up against me. She always has to be touching us. Sometimes I wonder if she is conditioned to be afraid of abandonment because of her early life. I’ve read dogs don’t have long memories like we do, but I don’t know. The look in her eyes when we leave the house without her totally breaks my heart.
Noodle is obviously the inspiration behind our new Rescue shirts. Because we believe rescuing animals is part of being a good human.
These shirts also kick off our “Good Humans Give Back” initiative. A portion of our profits from Rescue shirt sales will go to help fund Animal Rescue organizations.
Our first beneficiary will be Divine Canines in Austin, Texas. We will fund scholarships for two rescue dog to become certified therapy dogs. There’s something about the thought of a rescued dog, trained to help a human. It’s just a circle of goodness.
We were inspired to give to Divine Canines by Noodle’s friend, Kaxan. You can read more about him here.
Major strides have been made in animal rescue, but according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 1.5 million companion animals are still euthanized in the United States every year.
More than 6 million enter shelters every year and about 3 million are adopted, the ASPCA reports.
Think about that while you consider this: one informal study found 9 in 10 pet owners consider their pet a member of the family.
I know we do. I hope you will find your own Noodle. He or she is alone and scared in a cage, maybe right now, willing their way out and into your loving arms.
And I promise, they will save you as much as you save them.
(Purchase your Rescue shirt here.)