As animal lovers, it is our responsibility to not turn a blind eye to an animal that is suffering. I have rescued animals all over the world, some with very happy endings, and some I could only help by ending their suffering, but all were worth taking the time out of my schedule to help.

One such animal is Blue. I met Blue while out on a walk in Norfolk, Virginia. While out on walks, I kept noticing a dog outside on a chain. The first few times I thought maybe she was just out there some during the day or was not always on the chain as she was inside a large fenced area.

Her caregiver would sometimes wave at me when I walked by, so one day I stopped to chat and inquire about the dog. I learned that, unfortunately, she did live on the chain because she could jump the fence. I encouraged him to bring her in the house more and spend time with her (such as bringing her on to the porch to sit with him).

My suggestions didn’t seem to make much of an impact, so I brainstormed with a friend I walked with, Ann Marie, and we decided to ask if Blue could join us on our walks. This worked great.

We walked Blue as often as we could, and when out of sight from her “owner,” we would give her treatments like flea and heartworm medication. We brought her toys and played with her. You could easily see how happy the attention made her.

This, of course, was not enough, and soon we started plotting Blue’s escape. The plan we decided on was to tell Blue’s guardian we had a friend who recently lost her pet and really wanted a new dog, and that we knew Blue would make her so happy.

Part of our plotting included trying to line up a home. We had been contemplating this and one day, out of nowhere, her owner says to us, “You can have Blue if you want her.” We had no idea where we were going to house her, but we weren’t giving him even a second to change his mind. That night, Blue was restless, and unable to climb the steps in my house, so I slept in the gym on an air mattress with her. I woke up the next morning covered in flea bites, but it was worth it to help her feel safe and get her off that horrible chain.

We found Blue a great home, and she lived her final years completely spoiled. You can’t save them all, but when you save one, it gives you a feeling of fulfillment I can’t put into words. My hope is you will watch for those animals in need, whether an animal hit on the side of a road that may be alive and suffering, or a dog you see living on a chain. Stop, take the time, and help them. Don’t be silent to suffering, and don’t assume someone else will handle it. The power is in your hands to make a difference.