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One of the most incredible journeys of my life began this past December 15th. That was the day I met two little dogs who have since changed my life. I have been loving and rescuing dogs for most of my life, since reading another story, “The Incredible Journey,” as a child. The Incredible Journey is the story of a journey to find home, a long and arduous one by two dogs and a cat, facing miles and miles between them and safety.
But now, back to December 15th. I had read a story about Debi Kruse, of Precious Petz Rescue, in Warwick, New York. She rescued poodles from China. I had lost my little poodle rescue, Poppy, a couple of years ago. She was old and almost totally blind when I adopted her and brought her home on Mother’s Day. She lived two years before becoming very ill.
I shared my home with gentle giants, a collie and a wolfhound, and a mixture of unknown parentage, what most call a mutt. But my heart longed to hold a tiny dog in my arms and heart again.
Debi posted a photo of a gentle, chocolate colored poodle and what I can only call Divine Providence set in to work its magic.
My daughter lives near Warwick; I was going to be there for my grandson’s birthday party. I wrote to Debi and asked if I could come see the girl.
That was December 15th and we arrived to find the shy, gentle girl the rescue had named Ruby. Her name in China had been Arya; she was a meat trade breeding dog. Her age was about five, since that is the age most meat breeding dogs are sold to the slaughterhouse. Arya was heading to the slaughterhouse, when a kind Chinese rescuer saved her life.
Then Debi brought in a bundle of red furred energy named Meng Meng, who had arrived from China only the night before. He immediately planted himself at my feet, belly up, tail wagging, longing for all my attention and heart. The rescue had renamed him Rusty.
“I think he’s chosen you,” said Debi. Meng Meng is about the same age as Ruby. He had a home in China, but had become ill and in need of surgery. Unfortunately, some view medical needs as imperfections and abandon pets because of them. That same Chinese rescuer gave Meng Meng his chance at lifesaving surgery. Without this savior, Meng Meng would have met a horrendous fate of possible beating or slaughterhouse as well. Many dogs are kidnapped from the streets for the meat trade; my tiny Meng Meng didn’t stand a chance.
I think Debi was pretty astounded when I announced that we’d be taking both home that night. My heart felt Rusty wanted me; my heart felt Ruby needed me. And hence, I made one of the best decisions of my life.
There were worries. How would Ruby and Rusty adjust? Would my own dogs get along with them?
My worries instantly faded as these two little travelers walked inside my house like they had lived there for all their lives. There was no adjustment period; the sofa became theirs, the house became theirs, my yard became theirs in which to run and play.
Then, through the wonders of social media, I saw a Chinese woman holding a dog who looked remarkably like Rusty. I wrote to her and asked if she was indeed, the one who had saved him. I learned that, in fact, she had saved both of them. She is a teacher in China and a devoted animal rescuer. She loved Meng Meng, but her circumstances in life did not permit her to keep him, so she enabled Debi to oversee his journey to America.
Yue Tang and I have become fast friends. I told her she will always be Rusty’s Chinese mom, and I, his American one.
She has given my heart two very precious gifts, now three, the gift of her friendship.
We talked about my writing, my books, and I asked if she would like me to send her some.
And the journey of those books has become even more incredible.
Tang is using them in her classroom, helping her students improve their English and teaching them compassion for all animals.
Tang teaches at an all girls’ school; its motto is Independence, Ability, Care, and Elegance. Tang hopes these girls will one day spread light into the dark corners of Chinese traditions that many are trying to change.
Yes, the cruelty of the meat trade is abhorrent. But there is cruelty in all corners of the globe. Not all Chinese believe in this tradition; there are many rescuing and enlightening others to seek a compassionate way of life.
In Tang’s words, “ Many volunteers are going there to teach children of the village people! Breeding dogs and slaughter houses are all typical of those places! China is a huge forest”~
I am so proud to have my books play a small role in nurturing that forest of kindness. Perhaps my words will reach into the hearts of those girls and kindle love and compassion inside their hearts.
Sometimes, you find friendship next door.
Sometimes, you find friendship across the globe.
Sometimes, you find love next door.
Sometimes, you find love across the globe.
I am so fortunate to have found both; two little furry ambassadors now are spreading kindness in a way I never would have imagined, and a dear human friend on the other side of the world.
I am sending my second shipment of books today; there are bookmarks included in the box. The faces of two little poodles who have changed my world and perhaps will change the world across the globe for others waiting to begin their own incredible journeys.
You can see Ruby and Rusty's bookmarks here.
Students learning English and compassion for animals from my book.
She is circled in red