I’ve received many notes and emails concerning Marshall’s death. Most were very positive; a few berated me for not going to great lengths to save his life. We all make choices based on the knowledge we have, I knew for Marshall that heroics on his behalf would have terrified him greatly. This dog would not suffer pain at the hands of humans even one more time.
We never know how even the smallest of deeds can impact others on their journey through life. I never intended to rescue Marshall; it wasn’t some grand gesture of mercy on my part. I didn’t need one more thing to occupy my time. But his photo haunted me for weeks, and I knew that I couldn’t ignore the nudges from above that kept coming back and saying “Do this, and do it now.” In retrospect his life impacted mine so greatly that I knew he was sent to help rescue me, rather than the other way round. But I had no idea how our days of growth together would impact others, until I received a moving email that helped me understand that Marshall’s story is meant to touch many and already has.
Your comment: “Forgive me if this sounds selfish in your time of grief, but I cannot begin to express who Marshall was to me and that what you gave him to help him become who he was. I grew up in extremely abusive environment and I could relate to Marshall's life in a way that I don't know many can. Marshall's was the first story I found on dogs being rescued from a puppy mill and I went back to the beginning and read every pain-staking triumph and every set back he had. He was my hero in so many ways and I understood all too well how every step, no matter how small was a miracle. I don't know how to tell you how much he really meant to me and your sweet tender touch helped him blossom into the wonderful creature he became. You will never truly know what you did for Marshall by just being there and listening to him and taking him in and I cannot begin to express my thanks that he was loved. Truly loved and taken care of. The amazing things you did with him have pierced my heart in ways that I don't even know yet. I am sobbing through every word of this, his loss is just too big to understand or know, I just felt like Marshall understood as we both knew what it was like to be tortured and then to be loved. And I lived through him, knowing that I could overcome as well, because I found my husband who loves me for me, too. Marshall and I are both so blessed to have found you. I am so sorry that he is gone, but thank you that he died in peace and with all of the love he needed. He will be greatly missed.”
When I cry for Marshall I realize that I’m crying more for the time we didn’t have, rather than the loss of what we did have. I didn’t have time to take him for another walk around the block, to watch his happy dance once again as he came through the door, or to see him actually make eye contact and ask for a love and a pet. It was the simple things about him that made him so special. Nothing grandiose, nothing earth shattering. Just the quiet and simple progress he made each day with tiny baby-steps toward overcoming a life of absolute horror. And that, in my opinion, like the email above, is why Marshall came into my life and the lives of so many. He was exactly who he was, and that was enough. Who knew that one small unassuming little dog just doing the best he could with what he had could be so extraordinary?