Wallace, My BraveHeart

Chow Chow
Picture of Wallace, My BraveHeart, a male Chow Chow

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Home:Elizabeth City, NC, NC  
Sex: Male   Weight: 26-50 lbs

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   Leave a bone for Wallace, My BraveHeart

"Brave heart"

Sun Sign:
Quick Bio:
-mutt-pound dog-dog rescue

May 10th 2008

A gentle, loving touch

Cruel, heartless humans

Arrival Story:
On May 10, 2010, my husband and I made yet another visit to the Robeson County Animal Control Shelter. This so-called shelter is nothing more than a money-making killing facility and demonstrates nothing resembling "sheltering" abandoned, lost, neglected animals. (THERE HAVE BEEN IMPROVEMENTS AT THIS SHELTER SINCE 2010 WHEN THIS WAS WRITTEN, THOUGH I DO NOT REALLY KNOW TO WHAT DEGREE.) Late in the day on May 10th, an animal control officer brought in a dog who was obviously in excruciating pain. The dog was a medium-sized chow mix who was unable to move his hindquarters and was crying in pain. His crying was not a mild whimper, nor merely an expression of fear at being at this horrible place, although he certainly was terrified! No, this was a raw, ragged, gutteral cry that stopped my heart. As "Wallace" lay on the cold concrete floor of his kennel (there was no bed in his kennel, as is the case with most kennels in this facility), I approached the door . His terrified eyes looked to me and his pain was obvious. Although he could not move his hindquarters, he flinched at the mere presence of a human as I entered his kennel. As anyone should know, dogs in a state of terror may bite if they feel threatened, yet all he could do was lay his head back onto the floor. I entered his kennel and sat down on the floor a short distance from him, but did not reach to touch him immediately. I sat quietly for several minutes and spoke softly to him, making no sudden movements nor making direct eye contact with him. After a couple minutes, he stretched his nose toward me to have a sniff...that was all the invitation I needed. I offered him my hand and he sniffed it, then dropped his head back to the floor and bellowed in pain and fear. Wallace allowed me to pet his head and neck, but as I gently moved my hand below his shoulders he cried out. It was heart wrenching. This dog clearly needed emergency medical attention. I was allowed to "pull" Wallace from the shelter and take him to a veterinarian. My husband has 20 years of experience as an EMT, Navy Corpsman, and X-ray tech; he KNOWS how to move broken, painful bodies in order to minimize pain. When we finally did move Wallace, he SCREAMED in pain in spite of my husband's expertise and our caution in moving him - it broke my heart. We pulled Wallace from the facility under a foster agreement and rushed him to a local veterinarian who had agreed to take him. You see, it was already 5 pm and numerous other vets in the area were closing and would not see Wallace for treatment. We reluctantly left Wallace in the care of the veterinarian in Lumberton, NC, and with heavy hearts drove the 4 hours back to our home in Elizabeth City. I telephoned the vet the next morning to check on Wallace's status. As we had been told the previous afternoon, Wallace's x-rays showed no fractures or broken bones, yet he still would not move his hindquarters and was in a great deal of pain. Additionally, he would not eat or drink anything. Needless to say, our concern was monumental. I continued to call the vet for status reports, hoping for better news but not receiving it. I decided that I wanted Wallace to be in the care of a veterinarian I knew and trusted, one I believed would give him appropriate care, and who was my personal vet and close to my home. So on Wednesday, May 12th I drove back to Lumberton to transport Wallace to my vet in Elizabeth City. When he was seen by my veterinarian, it was clear that his condition had declined...his hematological lab values and chemistry lab values were critical and getting worse as time passed by. I spent the next day with Wallace, in his run at the vet's office. After receiving injections of antibiotics and pain medications, Wallace had managed to eat a little breakfast, drink some water, and seemed to be in less pain. I sat of the floor of his run at my vet's office and spent time with Wallace - talking softly to him, gently stroking his head and neck, reading to him, and trying to reassure this dog that he was now safe and would receive the care he needed. Wallace and I bonded and he moved beyond the point of flinching when touched and he actually would look into my eyes...it warmed my heart and broke it all at the same time. This was a new experience for this stray, tossed aside, neglected dog who had not known love from a human being and I was happy to see him cautiously responding to the love I showed him. I had taken a can of extra-yummy food for Wallace and he even managed to eat it! He still would not stand for more than a couple seconds due to the pain it caused, and he would not put any weight on his right hind leg, but he clearly was feeling a little better. His right hind leg was grossly swollen. My vet told me that he would be checking Wallace's labs periodically and would call me to let me know how things looked. We both were encouraged by Wallace's improvement and hoped Wallace might be able to go home with me the following week. Alas, my vet called me at 8pm Friday night and he did not have good news. Wallace's white blood cell count had continued to rise at an alarming rate and his lab values reflecting kidney function were continuing to decline...it was a grim picture and my vet recommended that we take Wallace to the emergency clinic at the NC State Veterinary School Emergency Clinic on Saturday morning. When I spoke to my vet Saturday morning, the news was worse. Wallace had not eaten, nor would he drink water. His condition was deteriorating. I rushed to the vet office to be with Wallace and discuss his prognosis further. I phoned my husband to let him know the grim news and he dropped everything to meet me at the vet's office. When I arrived at the vet's office on Saturday, May 15th, I walked with a heavy heart toward Wallace's kennel and softly called his name a couple times. When I stepped in front of his kennel, Wallace raised his head AND WAGGED HIS TAIL A COUPLE TIMES! I suspect this was the first time Wallace had wagged his tail at a human being in a very long time. The moment lifted my heart immensely, but stilled it at the same time...it is a moment that I will never forget. I went into his kennel and sat down on the floor, moving aside his bowl of uneaten food and water bowl. Wallace looked at me with love in his eyes and I marveled at this creature's willingness to give a human being another chance, to trust the very species who had caused him such pain and suffering. I sat with Wallace, petting him, reassuring him of how much he was loved, and just spending time in the presence of this wonderful being. Finally my vet came back to the kennel to talk to us further about Wallace's condition and his prognosis. It was not good. He felt that Wallace had at most hours, days, to perhaps a week or so to live due to his declining kidney function and his skyrocketing white count. In addition, this time would be filled with ongoing testing to monitor his status; that meant that Wallace would have to endure needle sticks to have blood drawn. I did not want Wallace to have to endure that trauma. He was not going to get better, no matter how much I willed it to be, this sweet dog was not going to recover. After hearing all the possibilities, I had to make the very hard, painful decision to walk with Wallace to The Rainbow Bridge and end his suffering. It was with a heavy heart that I spoke to Wallace and told him my decision, and he simply looked at me with love in his eyes and a newly found trust in a human. A bit later, my vet came to give Wallace a sedative so that he would not panic when he was given the lethal injection to end his suffering. Wallace cried in pain when he was given the sedative injection, but I held his head in my hands and our eyes were locked on one another. I was trying to convey as much love and compassion to this sweet boy as I possibly could, so that he would know he was loved and he was soon to go to a better place. I cradled Wallace's head in my lap, surrounding him with my arms and reassuring him that he was loved. He drifted into a state free from pain and anxiety, knowing my presence and the expression of my love. He nuzzled his head snugly into my lap and returned all the love I was giving him. My tears fell onto his fur and I nuzzled him close to my heart and my face, giving him kisses and reassuring words. A while later, my vet returned to give Wallace the injection that would release him from his damaged body and all his pain. Wallace crossed over the Rainbow Bridge quickly and with peaceful repose, where he is now pain free, healthy, and happy. It was such a difficult act to let go of this precious soul who had completely won my heart with his bravery and his willingness to forgive and give humans another chance. He is now free but my heart remains captive, keeping the memory of Wallace alive.

When Wallace arrived at the shelter he wore no collar and had no known name. I gave him the name "Wallace" in honor of his bravery in facing pain, suffering, and neglect, as well as in kinship with his namesake, William Wallace, who bravely fought for freedom and gave his life for this noble ideal. Wallace is the symbol for "every" dog that is neglected, abandoned, abused, tossed aside without concern, and treated with disdain. His bravery in the face of extreme pain and his courage to open his heart and risk yet more heartache at the hands of a human inspires me to work ever harder on behalf of all those animals who have yet to find their peace, and who will die never knowing the love they deserve. I love you Wallace, and you will forever be in my heart. By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill, Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still. Where the friends of man and woman do run, When their time on earth is over and done. For here, between this world and the next, Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest. On this golden land, they wait and they play, Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day. No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness, For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness. Their limbs are restored, their health renewed, Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued. They romp through the grass, without even a care, Until one day they start, and sniff at the air. All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back, Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack. For just at that instant, their eyes have met; Together again, both person and pet. So they run to each other, these friends from long past, The time of their parting is over at last. The sadness they felt while they were apart, Has turned into joy once more in each heart. They embrace with a love that will last forever, And then, side-by-side, they cross over together. REST WELL MY ANGEL AND I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN AT THE BRIDGE

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