Photo Friday, No. 539

Current Photo Friday theme: Macro

This may not look like much to anyone else, but to me, it’s the affirmation of hope. This is one of my scheffleras that was so damaged by the winter weather. Lynne cut them back for me, and one showed new growth immediately, but everyone was sure the other was dead.

The second one has proved them wrong, and reminded me never to give up hope. And because Debby saw it, she gave her own presumed-dead schefflera another look and found tiny leaves on it, too. Happiness is the best kind of contagious.

Photo Friday, No. 532

Current Photo Friday theme: Silence

This one is a hard one, and though it’s dated February 13, I’m writing it after more than a week of silence.

In the early morning hours of Friday, January 13, on a desolate stretch of Colorado highway, one of RPM’s vans was involved in an accident. This particular van had a father and son driving team. The driver, Charles, lost his life. His son Jared survived the crash with injuries, but those will heal with time. Miraculously, no dogs lost their lives, and only four ran from the scene of the accident. Over the ensuing week, thanks to a groundswell of Colorado volunteers involving some of our rescue partners, a nearby shelter, and dog behaviorists, three of those dogs were recovered and are now safe and sound in homes. We’re sure with a little time, we’ll get our fourth girl safely back, as well. (ETA: The fourth dog was also recovered and is safe and sound.)

I say it all the time–we love our drivers. It’s a terrible loss to our RPM family and to Charles’s family. The only comfort I can find is that Charles loved what he was doing. He was a helper. He was a good man. He was a hero in Houston’s rescue community. We will miss him.

I created this little shrine of many little dog totems that have come to me over the years to honor him and all the dogs he safely transported to their new homes each week. If there is a Rainbow Bridge–and I believe there is, or something like it–then Charles was greeted with love by all the animals who recognized him as a new friend.

There can be a lot of pain in rescue. Most of our dogs and cats come to us from the streets, many are ill, some are fragile, and whenever we lose one, I make a final note on that dog or cat’s record to “run free.” Now I will imagine every sweet animal running, strong and healthy again, into Charles’s arms, and he will help them across the Rainbow Bridge with the same compassion and care with which he loaded so many onto his van.

Run free, sweet Charles.