One year ago today a horrible tragedy was suffered at the house of my friend, and animal rescuer Shannon Debra co-founder of Recycled Doggies. When Shannon’s house caught on fire the damage and loss was devastating as she lost 3 of her personal dogs, one of her cats and 10 foster dogs. The house was a complete loss.
It is hard to ever think of something tragic, filled with so much pain to have a silver lining, but I want to write a bit about what happened in the months to follow, what I learned from Shannon, the dogs, my fellow volunteer friends and a community who clearly cared. Out of devastation comes hope, change and most of all love.
I remember the night very clearly it was every bit the nightmare the local news channels showed on tv only escalated by the fact that it was a friend, and a woman who dedicated so much of herself to saving the dogs no one else wanted. In minuets life as she knew it was forever changed and going forward everything would be marked by “before the fire”, or “after the fire” because the impact was unimaginable.
The outpouring of support was something to behold. There were donations that came in every form, cash, checks, gift cards, words of comfort, hugs, prayers, love sent from far away and love where it had always been. Words were said out loud and things that were to hard to say were understood with just a look or smile, and many tears would fall. The dogs that were lost were given a beautiful memorial and a final resting place together. Fundraisers were held, one of which by the very firemen that fought the blaze that night. The thing that amazed me the most, the thing that still amazes me is that Shannon didn’t give up or give in to the enormous hardship she was faced with last year. Her world was much like a big bag that is stuffed full and what you are looking for is a small hoop earring at the bottom of the bag. You just pick it up and dump everything out so you’re really just left with a mess and an empty bag in your hand.
Of course things changed, how could they not but what did not change was the act of saving dogs. It never stopped, it never slowed down and it inspired me, Shannon inspired me to do more, give more and ultimately start this project. I can always find inspiration in Shannon, my fellow volunteers, and a community who rallied together and of course, there are the dogs…
Leo, Boss, Dempsey, Kiddo, Preston, Trigger, Jumping Jack, Lulu, Charlie, and Dooney, Jeeves, Dolly, Callie you live on in every single dog that is pulled from shelters awaiting death because they are too old, injured, diseased or blind, they are dogs that have been abused, neglected, dogs that are scared, dogs that are scheduled to die for simply existing. Dogs that everyone else has given up on, but they find a second chance , they find hope and a voice with Shannon, Shera and all of the Recycled Doggies community. We celebrate and remember them today because what they left behind is a love that leads the way for so many of us. I am so grateful for my Recycled Doggies family who remind me every single day that family lives in your heart.
If you would like to donate to Recycled Doggies in memory of the dogs lost please click the link below and mark in the memo field it’s to honor the dogs lost in the fire.