What Can One Little Phone Call Hurt?


You know how when you wake up one morning after you have brainstormed this great idea, plotted all of the details out, eliminated all of the kinks, sold it like a set of Encyclopedia Britannica and feel wholly dedicated to it body and soul – you wake up in the sanity and clarity of the brand new day and you say wonderingly WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!?

Well, that did not happen.

I still felt positively led in the direction of Roosevelt. ( I was even secretly harboring a new name for him that I would disclose when the right time presented itself). And if anything, that feeling was stronger. I also remember Edwin waking up beside me and immediately smiling and saying he wondered how ‘ol Roosevelt was doing – and only partly in jest. It was Tuesday the 26th of June so I figured the shelter would be open this morning. And there was a phone number given to call. Just to check. On him. I did want to call to see if anyone had stepped forward to adopt him. This thought made me genuinely happy – to think of him safe and on his way to a good home. But I would be lying if I did not admit a slight flair of jealousy as well. I guess in my mind he was already mine. But I am not a full blown lunatic. (Edwin and I will probably give you differing answers to that). Someone else could take what I thought of at the time as a mind blowing responsibility off my very shaky shoulders. But my husband agreed that phoning could not hurt. Strangely it seems almost as if he was encouraging it.

I walked downstairs. I have read about things seeming ‘surreal’ and am not really sure if that is possible. It is. I saw my hand pick up the phone and dial. I could hear my heart beating too. I phoned. A young lady named Nicole answered. I put on my best cheery and confident fake – it – ’til – you – make – it voice and attitude. The cheer was real – the confidence? Not so much. But this was right. When I told her I was calling to see if a dog was still adoptable and that his name was Roosevelt, it was like a switch had been flipped. Not that she was not friendly before, but now she was downright enthusiastic to go with it. Oh! Roosevelt! No, no one had stepped forward and yes, he was still ‘urgent’. She knew him well. Lots of folks at the shelter knew him and it seemed that everyone was pulling for him. There were people who wanted to adopt him, but were stopped by one or more of the specifications surrounding him. He had to go to a pet – free, child – free and most certainly a cat – free home. I told Nicole I met all of those requirements. She was getting excited. She told me Roosevelt was a sweetheart and a staff favorite. I told Nicole that I live in Delaware. She saw no issues in transporting him across state lines. She would just call Felicia to get in touch with me and work out travel details. Whoa! I had not heard myself commit! Things were moving so quickly. But I gave Nicole my phone number and waited on Felicia’s call. I had a lot of questions as well.

Somewhere in between waiting for Felicia to call and really speaking with her, I guess any last ounce of reserve I had in me  disappeared. And I never felt it again. I remember letting Edwin know this. And told him of the impending phone call. He said all he knew was that whenever I obsessed over a situation or project like this, it always turned out to be a success. Modesty should make me demure, but I am a good planner. Or at least I had been before crippling anxiety and depression had stolen the person I had been and wanted to get back to. I could not even follow a simple recipe or remember basic driving directions anymore. But this was for Roosevelt. So I started planning.

Oh there were numbers to track, shopping lists to be made as well as travelling arrangements. Travelling arrangements? I broke a sweat just thinking about getting in my car and driving to the gas station. Inertia was so much safer and less frightening than facing the world outside. But this was for Roosevelt.

That evening my cell phone rang. It was a West Virginia area code. The young woman on the other end introduced herself as Felicia. She was a volunteer at the Raleigh County Humane Society in Beckley, West Virginia. I recognized the Southern accent that I had grown up with and had worked diligently to lose. But on Felicia, it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. After our introductions I affirmed that I was calling about Roosevelt. She was excited and told me what a honey he was. She recited his injuries and illnesses as I listened in shock. But he had been seen by a veterinarian and was doing better. I asked Felicia if he was truly in danger of being put to sleep. Oh yes, she said. Actually this was the third time his number had come up. Miraculously she had intervened on two other occasions advising that the shelter had invested a lot of money in making the poor fellow better. Plus his attitude had remained sweet even after being kenneled since May 16th. Those reasons had worked, but they would not work any more she was afraid. The shelter was totally full. Other dogs needed to be admitted. Dogs people wanted and could move through the shelter quickly to allow more needy dogs in. And a scarred Pit Bull with a shady past was not a fast mover these days. Even if he did have big brown sad eyes. I was beyond impressed. This was a volunteer. Not an employee on the payroll. And yet she knew the facts and treated Roosevelt as if he was the only dog in the entire shelter. As if he was her dog.

As we talked, Felicia told me that he was possibly around 5 years old and had not yet been neutered. It would be best to have this done before he traveled to Delaware and the shelter’s vet would give me a nice discount. I figured I might be needing one soon. Was he housebroken? Well, probably. He waited until he was in his run to do his business rather than soil his kennel. He did not like cats. He needed to be an only dog. Roosevelt had suffered such extreme abuse that when the shelter took him in, one volunteer later told me she broke down in tears at the sight of him. He more than deserved to have a peaceful no – pet, no –  children haven to help him heal mentally as well as physically.

Then Felicia said she would need my vet’s referral. Oops. When one does not own an animal for 18 years one does not employ a veterinarian. Well was there anyone that I could use as a reference? Sheila immediately came to mind. Sheila is my Therapist.

For years now I have endured sometimes gracefully, sometimes not – so – gracefully clinical depression and anxiety. Sheila had helped me through one particularly bad episode a few years before. I can still remember the surprise I felt when I stepped into her warm and inviting office for the first time and was immediately greeted by her Therapy Dog. Her Pit Bull. I said Hello to Coco Bella and the beginning of a relationship that was to change my life as I knew it began. Over the years I grew to really love both of them. Amazingly Coco Bella would remember me even when I went a year or two without seeing Sheila or her. But once again I had suffered in 2011 what I guess was some sort of breakdown again and left work on leave. And there was Sheila to help me find my way back. And Coco still remembered me! I surprised myself by being genuinely glad to see her too.

So I gave Sheila as my reference. I told Felicia that Sheila had a Therapy Pit Bull and they were both directly responsible for my interest in the breed. At that moment I did not tell her that Sheila was my therapist. I was not sure how that might be received. Felicia said that would do just fine. She took the number and told me she would call Sheila right away. She hesitated and said that the shelter usually requires two references for adoption, but she had a good feeling about his one. I asked her if she had ever been sure beyond all doubt that something was just meant to happen? She said yes, and this was one of those times. We wanted to make sure that all of Roosevelt’s immediate needs were met as quickly as possible. I surrendered up my MasterCard number even more quickly than I had for my favorite pair of gold – studded Tory Burch stilettos. This would pull him from Death Row. I felt the immediate warm impact of knowing that he was finally safe for certain, and that I was about to become Mother to a hard – luck battle – scarred pit bull. Before we said goodbye, I had one more question for Felicia. Would she please give Roosevelt a big hug for me and tell him that he has a home?

And I am coming to get him.

This entry was posted in Anxiety, Depression, dog adoption, Dogs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to What Can One Little Phone Call Hurt?

  1. Sherry says:

    I love your writing, I cannot wait for the next installment and to see what happens next for Roosevelt!!!!

    • Hi Sherry! So glad you are enjoying the story. I was hoping that folks would like it – and was also hoping maybe at some point it might help someone along the way. I’ve had a load of fun writing it – stay tuned and I will not disappoint you…Thanks!

  2. kjohnson9235 says:

    I like your writing style, Jill. Talking about a life event and weaving in so much more about life. “Who rescued who?” A good question to ask.

  3. shootthemoon says:

    I am loving this story. My dogs save my life daily.

  4. Felicia Summers says:

    Don’t forget the part where he faced the back of the kennel instead of the kennel door BC he hated being there

    • That’s right! I remember that being written on a Face Book page. And that he still tried to shake a visitor’s hand and she left crying. Poor guy! He does love being outside…

  5. cooper says:

    Roosevelt rules. It was also the name of my junior high school. He’s gorgeous. I have two rescue AmStaff/Boxer mixes… thanx for stooping by!

  6. I love that your therapist had a pit bull!

  7. What a beautiful dog!!! Omg, I’m going to be keeping up with your story, I feel so proud (of you? for you?) reading this! Heart wrenching and exhilarating at the same time, I can’t stop reading! And let me say… a therapist with a pit as a therapy could have my money any day.

  8. Love your baby! I’ve got three of these and would have a hundred more if I could. I also spend quite a bit of time getting them out of CA kill shelters and to rescues. So happy to see you’re a pit mama!

    • Thanks! I follow a few sites on FB that advertise Pits in trouble and lately have seen so many beautiful ones in Ca. It is hard not to schedule an impromptu road trip out there! Thank you for stepping up and helping these babies out – I’d have more if i could too, and I know i’ll probably never own any other breed now!

  9. lawchick says:

    Wow. A. Your writing is fantastic and B. I can so relate to this story – but from the perspective of the volunteer! I’m volunteering these days down at the shelter, and I am so attached to these dogs, one in particular. I feel like he’s “my” dog, because I just feel such a connection to him, and a responsibility to work with him and help him. Thank you so much for this blog.

    • I am very flattered that you like my writing! I am not formally trained in that area, but I think when it comes from the heart it has to be good. It is excellent that you volunteer! Are there many Pits in your shelter? I am filling out paperwork to volunteer in a local shelter here. My husband and I visited it and it is about 95% Pit Bulls. I am looking forward to giving some quality time to those poor babies. It rocks that you are able to give those dogs love and attention they may have never had.

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