A young, beautiful American Staffordshire Terrier, BluAnna, saw her life come to an end way before its time. But, not because she was a bad dog. Not at all. BluAnna’s life ended because of breed bias, breed ignorance and the fear and distrust that has stigmatized pit bull breeds through irresponsible media characterization. She was loved deeply by the staff and volunteers of The Muskegon Humane Society (MHS), who spent over a year trying to find her the home she deserved.
Andrea Benes Bruce, of HSAR, poignantly and beautifully describes the effort and ultimate heartbreak…
“Tonight, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we share with you the passing of BluAnna -- one of our longest term canine friends at MHS.
For those not familiar with Blu, her story started like any other dog’s would have.. a tiny, wriggly little puppy whose whole center of being revolved around her original owner. In Blu’s eyes, that person could do no wrong, and she lived to bring a smile to his face with her growing antics and youthful puppy appeal. Together, they were an inseparable pair, until fate stepped in and forced that person’s hand in a move that Blu could not be a part of. When, at the eleventh hour, a suitable home could not be found for Blu, she was surrendered to another local shelter, with the hope that a second chance would find its way to her.
As a true testament to Blu’s spirit, she managed to win over the staff there – everyone rallied behind her and worked like mad to help her break through the sea of other dogs also clamoring for that same second chance. But as days dragged into weeks, and weeks stretched into months, poor Blu understandably gave in to the depression and anxiety that befalls many longer term animals in a shelter setting. The staff and volunteers reached out to MHS in hopes that with our quieter environment and more personalized attention, that this might be the setting that would see her flourish and thrive.
When we took Blu into our care, her initial weight was a dismal 23 pounds and the inner spark in her eyes had definitely begun to flicker. We immediately went in to action, enveloping her in our specialty – TLC, and working to rebuild her trust. Having been rocked to her core with the loss of her special person, Blu felt that her days did not offer much to look forward to. We knew that outlook had to change. Blu was put in this world for a reason and we were determined to help her see that again.
We made routine and consistency a huge component of her days and Blu reveled in the care of our staff and volunteers, all of whom never gave up on her. Bit by bit, that trust returned. Her body began to heal, putting on the weight that was sacrificed and the thump of her skinny pittie tail took on more of a happy and excited percussive beat. Blu revealed more of her impish spirit during this time, as she would frolic in the yard and mischievously make off with an errant garden hose – her prized possession during playtime. With the dedication that we gave Blu, she in turn learned to open her heart again -- and that huge milestone paved the way for a possible second chance towards life as a ‘real dog’ -- we saw her off to a family that we had high hopes would be just what she needed.
But, alas, that was not meant to be and Blu found her way back to us. It was this second entrance into the shelter life that really rocked her to her sensitive core.
We noticed more and more as the Summer changed over into Autumn that Blu was pulling away from us. Did Blu know the odds were stacked against her as one of many pits in Muskegon seeking that new “leash on life” -- did she know that being fearful was another strike against her? Or, was Blu still so devastated about the loss of her first home and the foundation of her trust that the idea of remaining open to others, and new experiences, was just too much for her shattered heart.
Whatever the reason, Blu started to announce her weariness over the kennel environment. We would see her surf back and forth along the ledges of her kennel, filling her idle time with endless pacing. Day by day, she would hang at the back of her crate, looking very despondent -- the happy-go-lucky girl saw her face become more and more etched with worry and stress. Our hearts broke, seeing her slip further and further into a funk and despair. We tried so hard to pull her back and leaned on our myriad of resources, including a network of rescues, in hopes that someone could help right things again for Blu.
Eventually, after many discussions with vets and other animal welfare-minded professionals, we realized Blu was asking us to help her say goodbye to a life of uncertainty and stress. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you want to do everything in your power to keep that beautiful soul afloat in hopes that that “just right home” might be just around the corner.. but, to end things short of that”happily ever after” is a hard concept to wrap your heart and head around., It’s always been our number one goal to keep the well-being of these animals front and center. When the realization that her ideal home was not going to come back, we began to make plans to help Blu’s journey pass into the next plane surrounded by nothing short of love.
For Blu’s last night, she drifted to sleep not in a noisy and sterile environment, but wrapped in the safe cocoon of our staff member Cindy and her loving family. Blu was treated to a warm and snuggly bed and her belly filled with a meal befitting the regal princess that we have all come to know her as.
Our staff today all found their own special way to say goodbye and honor the beautiful blue pittie, and when the time came to help release her from the boredom, agitation and crippling worry, she was surrounded and smothered in lots of love. Blu did not leave this world in anonymity – she left knowing that even at the end she was still cared about and adored.
Now in the coming days, as we attempt to move through this devastating blow, and lift each other in support, we will try to find purpose and a way to keep Blu alight in our memories. She may be absent now, but she will never ever be forgotten. As much as our hearts hurt tonight, we would not change a single moment -- our lives have been forever blessed by this amazing and faithful dog.
We love you baby girl. Be in peace now – your heavy struggle is now done.”
Rest in peace, BluAnna. 02/26/2013
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