You are generous. We know this because you are a supporter of San Antonio Pets Alive! Not every person offers their hard-earned money to animals in need – but YOU DO. In fact, these animals you give to are so in need that their very lives are not guaranteed. They are among the most “unwanted,” the most victimized, the most terrified animals in this city. Many people think saving them is not even important—but YOU DO think their lives are worth saving. So do we.
In this holiday season as many focus on getting, SAPA! is especially grateful for your focus on giving. And yet, as animal-lovers like you know, bigheartedness it is not a wholly human quality. Sometimes it takes a dog like Courage to teach us all what gratitude, selflessness, and forgiveness really look like.
Courage came to SAPA! in July. He was starving, hurting, and scared. Several injuries were immediately apparent, including road rash and deep cuts and bruises. Closer inspection revealed that he also had burn marks dotting his body – singeing away his white-and-brown fur to reveal painful pocks of damaged skin. They were cigarette burns. Courage had been a victim of cruelty. This type of cruelty doesn’t touch everyone’s lives. Some of us are lucky to avoid it entirely. Some only see it through someone else’s eyes. On this day in the sweltering summer, those eyes belonged to Courage.
Courage, for all his heartache, was repaid by humankind with a spot on death row. All in a line of people who had seen him agreed that he was unsalvageable. He was scheduled to be killed. There was only one person left to see Courage before that happened — only two eyes that could save Courage from a certain death. Gratefully, they belonged to a SAPA! employee. She intervened on Courage’s behalf, and a new life for him began to emerge.
Courage had to be carried out of the facility in his rescuer’s arms – the sizeable dog too emaciated and weak to even walk a short distance. While Courage’s face revealed that he was sad and in pain, there was something else in his face too. His eyes shone as his wounds were cleaned and his pain was eased. He stopped flinching at the gentle touch of SAPA!’s devoted veterinary technicians. He came to look fondly at the caretakers who brought his food three times a day. Regular feedings had never been part of Courage’s world. Now he could rest, assured that his next meal was secure. What Courage’s eyes showed was something like hope.
In a matter of days, Courage was wagging his tail, playing with his new friends both dog and human alike, and responding with kindness as he was treated with kindness. Were it not for his fresh scars and hip bones pointing sharply beneath his skin, it would be easy to believe that Courage had always enjoyed the quality of life that SAPA! supporters like you insist upon.
Courage was eventually adopted and his new family loves him so much. Courage’s story is not an extraordinary one at SAPA!, but only because SAPA! saves almost 7,000 lives a year. Each animal has a story and is treated as an individual. All of them show us how generous animals are as they reciprocate love even when it is a brand-new experience.
We can save thousands of “Courages” by following his example and opening our hearts, plus opening our homes and opening our wallets. Will everyone who reads Courage’s story care enough to get involved? Sadly, we know from experience the answer is no. But we also know: YOU DO.
San Antonio Pets Alive!