Pupils dilate in the dark to search for light. At Palm Valley Animal Center (PVAC), our hearts and souls expand in a search for good. Like a sudden burst of light to the eyes, when a miracle happens at PVAC, our open hearts and souls receive it with heightened sensitivity. Yesterday, the fate of a dog named Jeter was that sudden burst of light.
A nameless 35 pound dog entered our facility on February 27, 2019. He was picked up in Hidalgo County as he was wandering near Texas State Highway 107. Who knows what this poor thing endured out there or for how long. He had a chipped top left canine, and his bottom incisors were ground down. Our staff named him Jeter.
We vaccinated him, fed him, cleaned him, and eventually he made it to the adoption floor. Day after day, week after week, Jeter’s precious little soul sat there waiting for his chance at a happy life. Day after day, week after week, family after family passed his kennel by and left poor Jeter behind. No one wanted him.
Dogs arrive at PVAC every single day of the year and kennel space is limited. After nearly a month Jeter’s time was running out. Space is perhaps our scarcest resource. No adopter wanted him. No rescue organization wanted him. Jeter’s time was up, and he was scheduled for euthanasia if no one came forward to save him. It was unlikely anyone would come forward. As his file stated, “Came in as a stray, no owner to call.”
Jeter was then moved to our urgent kennels. Once our shelter is out of space and an animal is out of time we hold those animals for at least 24 hours to make a final desperate push through our adoption and rescue departments. In his last 24 hours, Jeter was still left unsaved. As Jeter was being walked into our euthanasia room, Alma Gutierrez, one of our reliable fosters and transporters saw him. His face struck a chord with Alma and although she was already at PVAC to pick up 9 vulnerable puppies for RuffHouse Rescue, she could not walk away from Jeter.
Alma spent the next few moments rushing to make contact with RuffHouse to see if they could take Jeter. A few agonizing minutes later, Alma got the green light and told our medical manager she could take Jeter. Knowing from years on the job that seconds mean everything, our medical manager ran into the euthanasia room and screamed “stop!”
The needle was already in Jeter’s arm. The flashback of blood already in the syringe. A second longer and the plunger would have begun its lethal delivery and all the love Jeter could have ever given to the world would have been extinguished. Miraculously, in the very last second on the very last day of Jeter’s time, RuffHouse and Alma stepped up to save him. He was taken to a loving home that very night.
It takes strength to work at Palm Valley Animal Center. The range of emotions that the employees have to feel is unfathomable. We cannot save them all now but one day we will, and we are saving more by the day.
Jeter is safe, but there are hundreds of stray and abandoned animals still waiting here at PVAC for a chance to love and be loved. Thousands more will arrive this year and the urgency will not stop. Our work will not stop, and no matter how many beautiful little furry creatures we see come and go, it never stops meaning the world to us every time we save one.
-Luis Emilio Quintanilla
Palm Valley Animal Center receives thousands of cats and dogs every year. Our daily efforts to save these homeless animals are made possible by the generosity of individuals and businesses in our community. Please click the link below to join us in our efforts to make The Rio Grande Valley a safer place for our animals.