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Life Arts    H4'ed 4/25/11

Through the Third Door

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Message Suzana Megles

I often get sad accounts of animal abuse in my mail.  They all touch me deeply and some more
than others. The story of Kitchee is one such. 

Lisa LaVerdiere, Executive Director of Home for Life wrote about Kitchee:

"A world away in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a German Shepherd puppy just six months old, stood
alone in the narrow street.  Her name is Kitchee.  The owners of the house where she was born
and lived her whole short life, had just put her outside and left her to fend for herself.  They did
not want her anymore."

It was bad enough that she was only a puppy, but she was a puppy with deformed legs making it
difficult and painful for her to walk, let alone run.  She felt so alone and afraid, and she had
reason to be afraid.  As dusk fell, a group of boys spotted her and decided to pick up stones and
hurl them at her.  She could hear them laughing as she tried so hard to out run them.  It was no use
as she pleadingly looked into their faces as one rock hit her on the side of her ribs.  Another rock
found its mark on the side of her head.  The stones came from every direction and she was in great
pain, but she still tried to propell herself foward to avoid them. 

This gang of heartless boys would have succeeded in stoning Kitchee to death had not a good
samaritan come upon this ugly scene of despicable and inexcusable behavior.  He chased the
boys off, and picked up an almost dead Kitchee and rushed her to a veternarian. The vet saved
her life and gave her the name of Kitchee.  He let her stay in the backroom of his clinic. The room
with a cement floor was dark and windowless and bereft of any creature comforts, but at least
Kitchee was safe here.

Word of this forsaken little puppy reached an animal rescue group in Dubai, a neighboring
nation. They decided they would do all they could to help her get better care, but for the time
being they took her to a boarding kennel until they could reach out via the internet and social
networking sites to rescue groups and shelters around the world.

They knew it would not be easy to find anyone who would take the responsiblilty of a dog with
special medical needs, and it was months before they learned about a special place in Minnesota
called the Home for Life Animal Sanctuary.  Even though the sanctuary was tight on room and
accomodation, hearing about her dramatic story, the home said yes, they would take Kitchee. 
The Dubai group who had investigated the home to make sure it would be a safe place for her
paid for her air fare to Home for Life Animal Sanctuary. 

Home for Life is really ''The Third Door" for animals like Kitchee who would have difficulty being
placed for adoption in a typical home.  Even shelters and rescue groups focus more on finding homes
for adoptable animals because animals with deformities or medical conditions would not be a good
fit for their purposes. But Home for Life provides the "third door" in animal welfare because they
provide the loving and needed alternatives for animals for whom adoption is difficult.

In September Kitchee arrived at Home for Life in Minneapolis.  It was soon determined she was
in pain and needed reconstructive surgery to alleviate her suffering condition.  They also noted that
she had a lot of spunk and determination because despite the pain, she tried to keep up with her new
dog friends in the meadow where they ran and played.

In January, thanks to the contributions made to their Emergency Medical Care Fund by compassionate
 Home for Life supporters, Kitchee underwent successful recontructive surgery to relieve her pain and restore mobility to her damaged legs. 

Her caretakers believe by fall she will have fully recovered from her surgeries and will be able to begin
obedience lessons so that she can become a certified therapy dog - part of Home for Life's Pet Peace
Corps community outreach.  As caring people helped her in need, the Home believes she will become
an ambassador of good will for others who are hurting.  I think their final assessment of her life is very
apropo:  "She is a living example of goodness triumphing over selfishness, meaness, cruelty and fear....
With her intelligence, resilience and courage, we know she will be a great success as a therapy dog
and an inspiration to all she meets.  Her life will have meaning and purpose.  Kitchee's story proves
that it is possible to make the best of a terrible start in life"

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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