It was on a warm day at the end of April this year. AWL, together with wonderful people collected 1000kg dog food for the shelter Caserta that we like to help. They work hard to find homes for many dogs, including working together with a German Organization for adoptions. For that reason, we help them where and when we can. Caserta Shelter has 350 dogs and 20 something cats. The organization has it very tough, with no help they had to “get by” with everything—food, money, and volunteers. And new dogs were brought to their shelter daily.
We had many new volunteers from AWL with us that day. Ilena, one of our main persons walked together with Martina, our volunteer. Martina loves English Setters! It is a very common breed in Southern Italy and used for hunting or bragging about towards other people. When they cannot use them anymore, they drive with them out into the countryside, and throw them out on a field. Many are starving to death, others killed in traffic. Ilena whispered in Martina’s ear and pointed at a cage with 5-6 other dogs. There, curled up in a corner, easily missed because she was lying deathly still, lay a black and white Setter.
Franka, a 12-14 years old Senior, had been in this shelter for many years and before that she was in another shelter. No one knew much about her. She had leichmania, so no one wanted to adopt her. She was ugly they thought, blind in one eye, useless and old. Martina shouted my name. I turned around and I read in Martina’s eyes that something was very important. She pointed at Franka. I looked over at the black and white Senior Setter, and my heart ached. Martina’s eyes looked like a little girls eyes, sparkling with curiosity and love. I nodded towards her with a smile. That was that.
We brought Franka to our Hospice and the volunteers loved her right away, especially children loved her. An amazing journey for her, from 10 years in a cage were hope had left her soul, to the next day in the Hospice with green grass, people who loved her and medicine. Her tail went on like crazy. Her pride came back like a glowing aura.
Blood tests showed not just Leichmania, but they also showed kidney failure and high blood pressure. She had to be put on a special diet, and boy was it was expensive!
One of our volunteers – Sandra -- introduced her friend from Texas, Michelle who had fallen in love with Franka. Michelle and her husband Gunter became Franka’s Guardian Angels, sponsored her and sent money and love to her account frequently. Thanks to Michelle’s gracious heart Franka could get the best possible treatment and care. Michelle was very engaged with Franka’s life at the Hospice. It felt great.
The last few days Franka started to show significant changes in her energy. In the mornings she was herself, happy, eating and wagging her tail. By the evenings her energy fell lower. Yesterday morning I got an emergency note on my phone: Franka was absolutely not doing well; she had to go into our veterinarian Dr. Vittorio immediately.
Her kidneys collapsed. There was only one thing to do and quick. Martina held her paw and kissed her nose several times from all of us, then escorted Franka to the Rainbow Bridge. Franka’s companion from the shelter to the Hospice completed the journey with her across the Bridge.
My heart and thankfulness goes out to everyone who was involved in Franka’s life since we found her in Caserta Shelter. To those who are helping to keep the hospice in operation. To those that support us as we strive to change the lives of the dogs that sit in cages, sick, and tired. Together, we demonstrate that there is hope for we humans, because there are people who want to make a difference.