by Pam Owen
Over the past couple of years, it has been my pleasure to do write-ups on activities and animals on behalf of Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary. I have met some of the most charming animals ever and some of the hardest working, compassionate people around. I have also realized that I have never done an article on any of the dogs!
Vicki is an older girl with an abundance of energy. Her personal philosophy is “never to walk, when you can bounce, and never to bounce, when you can dance!” When she comes out to meet people, she smiles, as only Boxers can smile, then goes into her tail wagging the dog dance! If anyone is in need of a smile…Vicki can provide that as she greets folks. I have been told by volunteers that Vicki has quite the repertoire of dance moves. Seems she has mid-air twists, and is certainly a dog that is wagged by her stubby little tail.
“How can anyone surrender their beloved pet?” is a question that is frequently asked by many people. Vicki has been patient in explaining that over 1,850 animals have found new forever homes through the Sanctuary’s adoption programs, and over half of these animals are dogs. While some dogs are neglected, or abused, or just no longer wanted, most dogs come from owners who are having troubles in their lives.
Vicki goes on to explain that there are three main reasons for these dogs to be surrendered by loving owners. 1): financial difficulties, such as loss of job or debt; 2): separation or divorce, which will often cause households to downsize or move in with friends and family with no room for their pets. 3): the most common cause is a person’s changing health circumstances. Serious personal illness may lead to moving to long term health care facilities, or even death of an owner. Serious allergies in family members may also occur unexpectedly.
It was as a result of reason three, Vicki explains, that she was surrendered to Big Sky Ranch. Her people loved her, but could not keep her, as their circumstances had changed. Vicki became a permanent resident because of her own complex medical conditions and cheerful Sanctuary Ambassador. She loves her job and is quite happy living with all her friends.
Looking after so many animals with various needs, foods and requirements is a daunting task. Vicki says it is only because of loving people to care for them, and the compassionate people who donate funds to help keep everything running smoothly, which is so appreciated! Some folks get very upset when they find that they are charged a small fee to leave their animals at the Sanctuary. Perhaps they don’t understand that everything costs? So, donations are stretched a long way. Many businesses and services offer cut rates, but they can’t afford to give away freebies all the time. Vicki has explained why charging fees is important, and why donations are even more important.
So, next time you drop by Big Sky Ranch, look for me, Vickie the Boxer. If I am not around, I may be dancing somewhere, or chasing the cats (who don’t even bother to run away, unless they want to play, as I am just playing with them). Look for my huge, beautiful smile, and I dare you to try and not smile back!