Friday, June 1, 2012

Yankee, RIP

I am constantly reminded of how special BARC shelter in Brooklyn really is.  The people who run it have huge hearts and open their hearts and doors to so many animals who would not have a chance otherwise.
Yankee was a sweet dog who arrived at BARC Shelter around last July. He stayed up in the Cat Loft (the place where I volunteer at BARC) at BARC along with the cats, a few other smaller dogs, two pigeons and Marsha the chicken.  So I had the honor and pleasure of getting to know him.
He was unable to use his front legs, apparently because he had been left for a long time with the legs tied together.  He also had a problem with his heart. 
Yet, though he had been through so much, he had such an amazing and sweet spirit that he touched all who knew him.  The staff and volunteers at the shelter spent a lot of time with him and gave him so much love.  Donations made it possible to get him a special wheelchair so it was easier for him to get around.  He could really speed around on the wheelchair, and it took pressure off the rest of his body which was trying to compensate for the front legs not working.  He generally seemed very chipper when he was in the wheelchair.
Below: Yankee in his wheelchair

Several months after he arrived, a little white poodle named Rain arrived at the shelter.  Rain is unable to use her back legs, as she was bred too many times.  Yet Rain has a sweet and spunky spirit and manages to get around very well despite her condition. 
It didn't take too long before these two animals became inextricably connected with each other, and they were near each other all the time. 

Below: Rain with Yankee

Recently, Yankee's health began to decline.  He seemed to start having more stomach upsets, and not long after that, he got kennel cough, which was very hard for him on top of his other issues.
Rain was right at his side the whole time. And Marsha the chicken, who often hung out near Yankee and Rain, often also would sat next to them at this point too, as if she knew that Yankee was not well.

Below, Yankee in the middle, Rain upper right and Marsha lower left.

And of course, the BARC staff and volunteers, who always gave much love and care to Yankee, spent time with him. During most of Yankee's time there, Colin was the Cat Loft person and did so much to help Yankee feel comfortable and happy, as well as loved.  And when Jayne took over his position recently, she did all she could as well.  And of course BARC gave him the medical care he needed, but finally there was not much more that they could do. 
During Yankee's time at the shelter, I had done quite a few TTouch or Reiki sessions with Yankee, during which time I would usually have Rain on my lap.  And when his health began to take a nose dive, I did a couple of extra-long Reiki sessions with him at that time.  I could feel he was having a very rough time of it.  His breathing was getting labored and I could feel his life force was diminishing.  But I did feel that in the moment the Reiki energy relaxed his body so that I could feel him breathing more deeply than he had before, and I could feel him really absorbing the energy.  Last Friday, when I left, though I knew he was in rough condition, he did seem more peaceful to me.  Of course, my wishful thinking was hoping somehow he could get through this.....
Saturday when I arrived at the shelter, I heard that Tony and Vinny, the shelter owners, had taken Yankee and Rain to their apartment.  And at about 2:30, sadly we were informed that Yankee had passed on. 
Everyone was so so sad, this was a huge loss.This small dog was such a huge presence in the shelter and in everyone's hearts.  And of course for Rain and some of the other animals who were close to him, it will be a huge adjustment and certainly a grieving period. 
However, of course, there was relief as well, knowing that he was no longer in pain and discomfort.  I picture him running effortlessly, with all four legs going and his ears flying in the wind. 
Thank you Yankee, for teaching us all so much about love, forgiveness and strength of spirit.  You gave us all so much.  And thank you to all who did so much for this sweet creature.

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