She was certainly not the first puppy to ever be tossed over the fence of an animal shelter after hours. Under the cover of darkness, with no surety that she would land safely .... to spend her first hours in a strange place frightened and alone.
She likely wasn't the first little uninvited guest that the staff at the Western Quebec SPCA shelter have .... or sadly will ... ever found at their front door. Nor was she the first or the hundredth or even thousandth pet adopted in this years Home for the Holidays program.
So what makes her so special? Last Saturday, my daughter and her family adopted this sweet young dog and THAT really makes the whole Home for the Holidays program personal.
Four of my all time favourite minstrels once sang that "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" Nowhere is that more evident than in the home schooling in humane education that children receive.
( the topic of how tough it can be to overcome that in a country where we are often one generation away from having our dogs live outside 24 / 7 is a sticky subject for a separate post of its own on another day )
When I was a little girl, we kept our pets for life even though that was frequently a challenge on the significantly smaller "Queen's Shilling" that my father drew. When my daughter was a little girl, she was subjected to more of the same as we dragged our pets along with us wherever the military sent me.
So she and her husband had a baby ... they kept their cat. When they moved to Ontario ... they brought their cat. When the time was right ... they adopted another cat to give Eddy the company of his own kind. Now they are sharing this new journey into pet ownership as a family ... at a time of the year when they will have some vacation time to settle Jessie in.
And THAT is the success of the Home for the Holidays program ... instead of dictating to people, the participating shelters are accommodating people's desire to open their homes and hearts to a new pet.
Even better, each and every pet that is adopted represents one less 'customer' for the unsavoury sorts who will continue to waltz out of court in this country until our criminal code acknowledges that living breathing sentient beings cannot be properly protected while they are classed as property.
Best of all, each and every family that found a warm welcome instead of a cold shoulder from a shelter or a rescue will in turn be an ambassador for pet adoption as their family, friends, neighbours and coworkers find out first hand how wonderful 'second hand pets' can be.
What time is it? Its always time to understand that programs like this can keep the holiday spirit going all year long.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. Dr Seuss