Rain Falls. Spirit Rises.

(Warning: Graphic images follow)

I’m not sure how many more times my heart can break, before it shatters.

Weather-wise and other-wise, today was dark.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is currently experiencing a storm; a tropical wave is hitting this tiny rock in the middle of what feels like nowhere-and my entire world at the same time.   It’s only appropriate for a day like today, when yet again, I looked death and misfortune straight in the eye as it manifested through an innocent, helpless and discarded sentient creature. A dog I named Spirit, left for dead.

I received a call around 9:30 this morning from a concerned woman who had just passed a pup in the gutter off a busy road in Kingstown with what appeared to be two broken back legs. I immediately called Leslie and Max to help me find and rescue this sweet girl.

Observed by witnesses, she was hit by a car over a week ago, and struggled to survive on the streets. She was skin and bone when we got to her, no doubt starving, but seemed relieved to be taken by gentle strangers out of the rain and into shelter and warmth.

Unnamed, unowned, unclaimed, a dog that could have been yours, or mine had such a strong spirit and hunger for life. She amazed us by propping her body up on her two front legs to “walk”, broken legs dangling behind and under her-exposed bone and all. She had tended to the wounds well, as there was not evident signs of infection.

Her tail wagged when kind words and gestures, for once, were extended towards her. Her deep brown eyes, glowing with yellow rings, seemed to say, “I’m tired. So tired…thank you.”

With the injection in the vet’s hand that would hush her existence, I along with the two or three others present wracked our minds to think of what kind and patient soul could take her in and allow her to recover and rehabilitate with love and peace.

In the end, I carried her out of the clinic. I cradled her in a clear plastic bag, lifeless, still warm to the touch, as the tears blended with misting rain down my swollen cheeks. I tried to close her eyes, but they remained open, as if to say, “Remember me and don’t let my efforts to live die today.”

I mourn for Spirit. I mourn for what she represents-the drop in the ocean affect we are having, and the countless other animals who are suffering all over the world, but especially in this country-on the streets and chained in yards. Hungry, abused, scared, and seen as disposable.

In the moments before they die, I am with them, and all I can say is, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I failed you. We failed you. This country failed you.” They don’t understand and they don’t deserve pain and suffering.

But what hurts the most, is when the animal can be saved, but a lack of facility or willing caretaker leaves us left, in extreme cases, with this as the only option.

She didn’t put up a fight, she came to us willingly. I won’t let her death go unnoticed or without sharing. Her spirit, like so many I have been affected by on this island, remain with me and motivate me to make it through the dark storms.

RIP Spirit. May your soul finally sleep in peace.

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5 thoughts on “Rain Falls. Spirit Rises.

  1. Kiersten, you are an extraordinary human, and have helped so many animals find better lives, or deaths, as in this case. Without you, Spirit would have continued to suffer for who knows how much longer. I wish I could be there to comfort you; but consider this a very large hug. Do not let the enormity of the problem blind you to the good you have already begun. Hug the lives around you & feel the gratitude. Hang in there, kid! Love, Carroll

  2. Dear Good Kiersten, your blog entry brought tears to my eyes. Spirit’s precious spirit and death will not go unnoticed, and all of your efforts to help and heal will not go unnoticed either. What a brave and caring woman you are to open your heart. Love, Bobbie

  3. Hi Kiersten: I am a friend of your mom’s and I’ve met you several times at San Jose State University events. Your mom sent me your website – she is so proud of you and I can understand why! You have spent your precious time and energy on a very humane and worthwhile mission. Although it must be hard to be away from family and friends, you have accomplished alot, esp. for someone of your age, Continue your good work and take care of yourself as well. Yours- Rose Lee

  4. Hi, Kiersten,
    I am your mom’s friend, Janet — you used to join us for our Elizabeth Gamble Garden Center tours and Christmas get-togethers once in awhile; and I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your blogs from your Peace Corps experience. Everything you have written has made your experiences come alive; you are so expressive. But I was especially moved by this most recent blog about the dog, Spirit. I, too, am a lover of all animals (human and non-human) and would find it so very heart-wrenching to have found and wanted to save poor Spirit, or any other uncared for or mistreated animal. Your love and compassion for these “disposable” animals is palpable through your words and your pictures. The picture of Spirit’s beautiful face and big, brown eyes is exceptionally moving. Without knowing her story or seeing her ruined back legs, I would have thought she was someone’s young, vibrant pet; her spirit is evident in that face, even while her eyes show her sadness. I was so sorry to read what her circumstances were and that she could not be saved. You, Kiersten, are an amazing savior in the role you have carved out for yourself there in St. Vincent; and you will be an outstanding advocate for the humane treatment of all animals when you return to the US, whether through your vocation or only through your avocation — or through both! Stay strong and continue giving your heart as you have; I do believe you will find you only get stronger when you do. And never forget all those animals whose lives you have made better in addition to those to whom you gave your love and a more compassionate end to their lives than they otherwise would have known. You are, without a doubt, making a difference, Kiersten; and, even after you leave, what you have started there in St. Vincent will continue to do so. That is quite an accomplishment.

  5. Dearest Kiersten, From the day I met you, I knew that you were a special spirit. Someone who would make a loving mark on the hearts of many more than mine. You have grown to do just that. Your givingness, your bravery, your lovingness, will continue to be met with thankfullness and gratitude by so many in this broken world of ours. Remember, that what you give will be given back tri-fold. May God continue to Bless you. Love, Sharyl

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