The worthwhile debt of rescuing pups - A letter from our co-founder Kent Pafford

I have heard it said that “What goes around comes around.”  The concept that you reap what you sow, that you don’t need to seek revenge when you are wronged because the Karmic universe will punish whoever has wronged you.

I don’t know if there is truth in these ideas or not.  In my experience, life seeks balance.  When someone is wronged, there is a price to pay.  From what I have seen that price is not always paid by the wrong-doer.  Sometimes, it falls to others to pay the price for the wrong done by someone else.

Most often, in my experience, the debt is paid by someone who will never know who it was that committed the offense in the first place.  When you become accustomed to paying the moral debt of others, you soon cease to concern yourself with “Who” it was that committed the atrocity for which you are paying the price.  The “Who” matters less than repairing the damage done.  Your focus narrows down to healing and bringing light back into someone’s dark world.

That raises another point.  Most often, the price of one person’s bad behavior is paid by several people.  This is, at its heart what it means to be a Streetdog Foundation volunteer.  We share the burden of the abused pups that come into our Streetdog family.  We do our best to heal these damaged souls.  For the pups, the price they pay is the physical and emotional trauma of deplorable treatment by human beings.  For us, the price we pay is less obvious.  The price we pay is not the effort of walking a dog, feeding and housing a foster pup, or sitting with them through an adoption day.  No, these things bring smiles to our faces.  These things may help bring light into our world, and into the world of the pup, but these are not the currency that pay the price for the wrongs of others.

In the context of Karma, we like to think that those who do bad things will pay for what they have done, and that they will rue the day that they committed this atrocity, or that iniquity!  Again, that has not been my experience.  In reality it may be that the person who beat a dog, starved a dog, or threw a dog into a fighting ring may never even think they have done anything wrong.  They may never pay a price for what they have done.  It does still seem that life, in fact, requires balance.  It seems that life requires a price to be paid.  With what, then shall we pay this debt to balance the books?

I know the answer.  I have seen the debt paid by many Streetdog volunteers.  Sadly, it seems the debt is on an installment plan with an indefinite term.  Our currency is simple, and magically limitless.  We pay this debt with a little piece of our hearts.  I pay a little piece for Van Gogh every time I move too quickly to pet him, and I see him involuntary flinch.  My heart breaks to know that no matter how much he loves and trusts us, the damage done to him before Streetdog Foundation gave him his new life, is so embedded in his psyche that he will constantly be on guard for the rest of his days.

I pay the price when I spend time with Danny and Sandra Dee.  Danny loves to be petted, but he will only approach you by crawling on his belly.  He hangs his head, refusing to let you lift his head to meet your gaze.  And yet he comes, because he needs that love, that connection.  Sandra’s price is even more dear.  Sandra also longs to feel love.  She will tolerate being touched, but is stiff with fear when she is petted.  In deference to her fear, we don’t force ourselves on her.  Even so, she craves that connection. In order to connect, Sandra will wait for me to pet Danny.  She will place herself in a position such that Danny is between myself and her, then Sandra will approach and lick my hand, while I am stroking Danny’s fur.  And there goes a piece of my heart.  I want to pick them both up and hold them.  I want them to understand that whatever happened before, will never enter into their lives again.  I can’t undo what has been done.  I can’t erase their past.  All I can do is keep giving them my heart.  Keep paying that price, knowing that each lick will pay me back with interest.


This is ultimately what Streetdog Foundation is all about.  Whether it is Liam, Toby, Monk, Babar, Rella, Josie or Van Gogh….There are far too many to list.  Our volunteers pay the toll.  They step in and they give of themselves without expectations, simply because they love.  Our volunteers give unconditionally, no matter the cost to their hearts.  The rewards come in the form of that first smile.  That first lick.  The first time a foster pup approaches to be petted.  Seeing a dog learn to play.  These are the dividends of investing one’s heart.

Investing one’s heart!  THAT is what Streetdog volunteers do the very BEST!