Finally free

My friends and I have been volunteering at Best Friends since 2010, visiting twice, sometimes three times a year. Once again in May of this year, we made our way to the beauty that is Best Friends and found a precious jewel nestled in a dog run at Old Friends. Her name was Eve. We were instantly drawn to her sweet, high-spirited way, and we watched her as she scooted about her run using her front legs to propel herself along. Eve, you see, had very limited use of her hindquarters.

We found her to be very social and playful despite her handicap. Full of kisses and quick to roll over for her belly rub, this sweetie was a pure pleasure to be around. She was engaging in every possible way and did not want any of us to leave. She loved getting the attention. And what a face … a smile that goes on for miles.

I remember how we all initially felt sorry for her — but then, as we watched her move about her run, wrestling with her runmates, we realized we didn’t need to. Nothing, and I mean nothing, would break the spirit of this wonderful dog. Sitting in her run, watching this happy free spirit was precious.

As we began doing the morning dog walks at Old Friends, I was curious to see if Eve would have the chance to somehow get out of her run and see the trail like all the others. As Eve’s runmates were heading off on their walks, Haylee and Jess, Eve’s caregivers at the time, placed her into a well-padded red wagon and pulled her along the trails. Watching her, my friend Jill and I began discussing the possibility of Eve benefiting from the use of wheels to help her along. As we pulled her along the trail in her cart, it was so obvious that she just wanted to feel the trail beneath her feet, to smell all the different doggie smells she could not access from the wagon. She was happy to be out, but something in her eyes told us she needed more. So, a quick conversation with Jess and some research into Eddie’s Wheels and the campaign to get Eve a cart was launched.

When Eve’s cart arrived at Best Friends, she did not get to use it right away. A piece had to be ordered to help stabilize her. It came shortly before my recent trip. So, lucky me, I had the great pleasure to see Eve walk using her back wheels. It was only the third time since it had arrived that she had been in it. As Haylee and Cherie, her caregivers, loaded her into the contraption, it was clear that she was eager to get moving. Her back legs were already beginning to move before she was completely strapped in.

As I stood with seven other volunteers, we shouted words of encouragement as Eve took off, her tail proudly wagging so fast we could feel the breeze as she passed us. Although she only went the length between the Homer and Delores buildings, to me she had just run a marathon. There was not a dry eye in the crowd of volunteers. Haylee and Cherie stood as proud momma caregivers. This little girl was finally free to run with the big dogs.

As soon as I got into town, I sent a video of Eve in her cart to all who had contributed to purchasing the cart for her. Everyone cried with joy at how free and full of happiness Eve looked.

Days passed and I volunteered in other areas of Best Friends, and I kept running into people who had been with me the day we got to see Eve walk in her cart. How moving a sight it was for all of us.

I returned once again to Old Friends my last day of volunteering. After some fun in the dog park, it was time to get Eve out once again in her cart. I was expecting to see a small improvement in her ability to walk in the cart; after all it had only been a few days since I first saw her. Well, much to my surprise, she carted through the gate and onto the trail — yes, the sandy trail. Once she got a quick drink of water, she was off. How precious it was to see her stop and smell branches. And oh, sniffing the ground with all the wonderful dog smells and lizards dashing by. Admittedly, all of us there that day shed a few tears, and I for one was so proud of this little girl’s tenacity and desire to be like all the other dogs. Eve has a heart the size of Texas and loves to share it with anyone who stops in to say hello.

I am honored to have met this sweet, feisty, big-hearted girl. She has taught me to never give up and to believe that where there is a will, there is a way.
Each and every one of the ladies in my group is 100 percent vested in finding this girl a forever home. We love all of the animals we have worked with at Best Friends, but Miss Eve has captured our hearts big time.

My friends and I all hope that Eve has a better shot of finding her forever home because of her cart. I say this with all sincerity: If we all did not have a number of dogs and cats ourselves, or homes that did not have stairs, Miss Eve would have already found her home. This is one little girl who will always be close in our hearts, and we know her person is out there somewhere. Let’s make a campaign titled “It’s all about Eve”!

A fan of Eve’s for life,
Judie P