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Sara doesn't think what she's doing is a big deal but I know she's wrong. Beth - Sara's named the old Great Dane Beth - is lying on the floor of Sara's flower shop enjoying the slight draft from one of the refrigeration units. Beth's tumour swollen foot is wrapped up. She's ambulatory but not over long distances. When closing time comes, Beth will get put in a wagon and pulled along the sidewalk from the shop to home.

The vet's already looked her over. Aside from the bleeding tumour in her foot, Beth has kidney disease, her hind quarters have no sensation, she's running a fever and she's incontinent with both urine and bowel movements. I think there may be a couple of other things I've missed.

I've lived with a urine incontinent Great Dane before. It's a big deal. Sara takes Beth out every 60 - 90 minutes. She has the alarm set on her phone to remind her.

We're on the topic of Beth's previous owners. Sara guesses the situation was maybe something like a married couple: one person couldn't handle the upkeep but the other didn't want to euthanize the dog. They agonized over a decision and finally decided to leave the dog tied up in a park as a last chance for the dog. Sara wants to think the best of those people. I tell her she's a better person than me. I don't think the best about those people at all.

Never mind about those people, someone says. Whatever their intentions, Beth is with Sara now. They're going to take it day by day. Beth is not a well dog and the prognosis is not good but as long as she's not suffering, she'll have a place to call home.

Before I leave the shop, I give Beth one last ear rub. Stella used to love those and Beth now leans her head into the palm of my hand and I hear a soft moan. Beth is happy. May we all be so blessed to be happy in our final days.

(Beth passed away one week later.)


I've always intentionally kept advertisements off the blog but if anyone deserves a free shout out, it's Sara. She runs Sweetpea's flower shop on Roncesvalles (go to the website then click on "the zoo" link for something unexpected). If you're in the hood, do yourself a favour and check the place out. Gorgeous flowers, arrangements, landscaping services, gardening supplies and charming sales staff.

And of course there's also Toby, the store mascot (or maybe he's just one of the store mascots), another rescued Great Dane from Danes in Distress. No wonder the shop is going gangbusters with customers.

7 Comments to “Update on Beth, the old Great Dane”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I clicked on "The Zoo" link at Sweetpea's web site. Sara is a very special person indeed -- how very fortunate are the dogs that get to have her as a "Forever Mom"! She definitely deserves a shout out. Thanks for sharing Beth's story, Fred.

    "While there's life, there's hope." ~Cicero

    Purple Magpie

  2. selkiem says:

    I think those people are SCUM. And cowards. Leaving their poor old dog, alone, scared, in pain and confused about why she was left there - there is a special place in hell for people like that - or maybe they'll end up in some crummy nursing home and their kids never visit. Karma is a bitch. It's hard, it's agonizing deciding to euthanize your dog- but you make the decision when you think that life isn't worth living for them any more, when the spark is gone, and you suck up the pain and you internalize the agony becuase you LOVE them, and you want what is best for them and to HELL with your pain and anguish- in the scheme of thiings that just doesn't count. You are THERE for them, from the beginning, in the middle at the end. your voice. your touch to see them over. That Sara is incredible and I'm going to tell everyone about her shop.

  3. Nk says:

    We need the 'Sara's'of the world to keep us sane - thank you Sara for providing this dog with a happy ending and to Fred for sharing it with us.

  4. Kit Lang says:

    I've been following Beth's story on Facebook - I'm so delighted for her and love that there are people in the world willing to take on the Beth's out there. :)

  5. One of the great things about this story is Sara's surprise at the support that has poured in. It restores one's faith in humanity to 'meet' someone who does the right thing *because* it is the right thing, without thought of praise or reward. There should be more Saras, and more Sweetpeas.

  6. Laura HP says:

    I knew this store sounded familiar! Sara also adopted two cats from the shelter - I remember Ana Banana very well, she was a real sweetheart but had a hard time getting adopted. What a wonderful person! Beth is definitely in capable and loving hands :)

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.