In the early summer of 2014 I was scrolling through facebook and saw a picture of a dog named Mia that broke my heart. In a knee jerk reaction I reached out to the rescue organization in Lebanon to see if BCFS could help.
Mia is a two year old yellow lab mixed breed found on the side of the road by workers. She is blind in one eye and missing a leg. Not just missing, but chopped off.
She was brought into the compound that houses over 400 dogs – all of these dogs have no place to go. Mia was just another three legged dog in a sea of horrifc stories.
It was the name “Mia” and the picture of her hopeful face that gave me a visceral reaction, a gut check that made me want to move an unmovable mountain.
How could I get a dog out of Lebanon? Beirut, Lebanon?
In the past few months BCFS attempted to pull dogs from Lancaster, California without sucess. I’d call and talk to their staff about pulling a dog and they would tell me to call back tomorrow. On call back the next day they would tell me the dog had been euthanized. After my third try I had to stop. I was drowning in tears.
So, it was with little confidence and a few tears that I sent my contact information to BETA – Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The personal twist to this story is that a lifetime ago I was the mother in an adoption process for a human child (gasp!) and that child’s name, in my heart, was Mia. The name hits me in the gut and I am awash in grief.
The human adoption process fell apart and I was left at the bottom of a dark hole. I spent the next ten years climbing out, healing and thinking about what I would like to do with my life.
I found peace with animals. The kind of peace I had when I was a child seeking solace from a world full of operating rooms and playground cruelty.
I was born with a birth defect requiring extensive surgeries and the facial deformity was the root cause of being rejected by my peers. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase kids are cruel as an excuse for the relentless viciousness.
I chose my own company most of the time until a horse, who was also beaten down, came into my life and opened my eyes to love and happiness.
I spent so much time with animals that I learned how to communicate. We spoke our own language. It was a privileged secret that only we understood. Spending time with my horse was the antibiotic to the social infection I’d been born with.
This is why it’s natural to get close to the animals that are hurting and help them heal. I’ve had decades of practise loving them and learning. In some ways its easier for me to love an animal than to love a person.
With animals I can feel all the colours of the world, and it is beautiful. They bring joy to my world and show me what love really means. The kind of love you can trust and count on as life hits like a hurricane.
That love is a lifesaver, a piece of drift wood to hold on to until the storm passes, and a piece of heart like no human will ever know. It’s a shame more people don’t open their eyes and see what is often sleeping at their feet.
When I joined social media and saw the horrible pictures of the atrocities done to animals I would get this kick in the gut. I would call it a visceral response to their agony and pain.
The only way to ease my own horror was to do something. Doing something soothed my soul and smoothed my feathers. I can hear the stories of horror as long as I can help.
I can bear the weight of the worry only by knowing I can do something to make their lives better. I will listen to these stories and share their pictures, but only when I can help.
When I got the response from BETA and spoke on the phone with their Canadian contact Sylvie my stomach finally uncurled because I could bring her home.
It wasn’t too late. I could still bring Mia home.
They sent me a list of dogs and told me to pick the ones that would be saved. How do I do that?
Mia is coming home and bringing some friends.
We can only bring six dogs back. There are two young women flying back from Lebanon and they are limited to three dogs per person.
Meet Fletcher: this lovely black lab cross is a ten month old male who was shot in the leg and BETA attempted to put his leg back together. He’ll be arriving at BCFS in Mid-October.
The picture above is a graphic picture of Mandi a ten month old yellow lab cross who was a house pet until she was abandoned after being struck by a car that crushed her jaw. She has received surgery to fix her jaw and staff spent three weeks tub feeding this little lab to keep her alive.
And, of course, Mia is coming home. From BETA:
Blind (in one eye) with a chopped off leg, she was heartlessly beaten on the street over and over because she was a “nuisance”… Mia is barely 2 years old, around 25 kg, completely blind in one eye.
According to the vet, her front leg was chopped off a while ago, and she’s adapted well to living with it, therefore amputation is not necessary (at least at this point).
Her story on Facebook:
I’m still waiting for pictures of the other three dogs and I’m still waiting for their stories knowing I can help.
Stay posted for more on the Dogs from Lebanon.