How Much is a Life Worth?

I sometimes get discouraged about French Bulldog rescue.

I sometimes feel like all we’re doing is sticking our fingers in the dike, while the water pours over the wall in spite of us. I can’t look at a classified ad or open my email with seeing a French Bulldog for sale at auction, or abandoned, or one who has been through unspeakable cruelty. Sometimes, I feel like all I ever write about are dead dogs, dying dogs, dogs for whom we couldn’t do enough, in time, to save their lives. Sometimes I worry that writing about dead dogs is going to make everyone who reads this blog so depressed and discouraged that they’re just going to look at that wall of water, and say ‘let it pour, I’ve done all that I can do’.

Sometimes, I worry that I’ll walk away with them.

Every once in a while, though, we all do make a difference, even if it’s just for one single dog. Take Holmes, for example.

When he came to us, he was as pathetic as any French Bulldog could ever be. Emaciated, broken, beaten and cowed down by what he had been through. He stunk, as only a dog who has been forced to live in his filth can stink. His eyes were swollen and red, and his xrays were a testament to the abuses he had lived through.

Thanks to donations from the French Bulldog community, and the tireless work and care of Karen Williams, Holmes’ foster mother, Holmes pulled through. He endured surgeries and a neuter, he got used to living in a house and to being around people, although he never stopped being nervous of men, raised voices or fast moving feet.  In time, Holmes did what so many of these rescue French Bulldogs do – he shone. His sweetness of spirit, his generosity of soul, his willingness to forgive the people who had never before in his life meant anything but pain and suffering overcame everything he had been through. He loved, and he was loved in return.

In a little over two months, Holmes went from being a sick, starving French Bulldog, to a Frenchie looking for a forever home. He found it with Michelle Williams, who has opened her heart and her home to rescue animals of all kinds before. Holmes, however, held a special place in her heart.

For a little less than a year, Holmie and Michelle were inseparable, until a critical illness combined with a bad reaction to anesthetic ended Holmes life far too soon.

Holmes had a little less than a year, and some people might say that a year is not a very good return on the investment that we asked Holmes donors to pay for his care.  Some people might say that money could be better spent on younger, healthier dogs, who might live a longer life. How much is a life worth, after all? Do we weigh it in time alone, and amortize it in years? Or do we value it for spirit, and goodness, and love given and received in return? If we can do that, if we can value Holmes life by the love he gave to everyone who cared for him, and everyone who ever met him, then his worth is immeasurable by any means that I am aware of.

These are the words that Michelle wrote, the day that she picked Holmes ashes up to bring back home with her. Like me, she prefers to have him with her, close to her heart, where he’ll life forever. If you think about it in those terms, Holmes’ life isn’t really so short after all.

Holmes and I are sitting at our secret lake spot, I just picked him up. No tears, just warmth filling my heart & a smile on my face remembering all of the many wonderful things that made him the gentle spirit that he was.

I miss his happy dance, his chops on my face, the way he looked at me, watching him terrorize Olive lol, clunk on her head with the rope, let’s play eh! The way we’d play hide and seek around the kitchen island & how excited he got when he found me. The way he wasn’t a morning person, the way he’d make a game out of everything, the way he loved everyone & thing, the way he scared himself if he had a loud fart…..

Such a short time together, yet so many cherished memories that shall sustain me until I see him again. It gives me supreme comfort knowing that he & Lucy are together again & their ashes will sit together 🙂

I love you sweet Holmie forever & ever

Slide show of Holmes’ photos after the cut.

[portfolio_slideshow exclude_featured=true]

4 replies
  1. Susan
    Susan says:

    Nobody who pitched in for Holmes asked for a warranty on his life. They wanted to see him given a chance at health and happiness, and even if it was short-lived, he got it. Better that he had a year of love and comfort and joy than a life of nothing but suffering. Rest gently, Holmes.

  2. Michele Long
    Michele Long says:

    Anyone who gave money or helped this dog, well they have good karma for what they did. He was happy in the end which is most important


  3. Dianne
    Dianne says:

    It was worth every cent to see Holmes become healthy and happy and enjoy the time he had. Should we spend healthcare dollars only on the young? No, never, everyone should have the same opportunity to live as much of life as possible. No one knows how much time they have.
    Michelle’s memorial to Holmes is beautiful.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.