Thursday, November 29, 2012

And through the door, there was only sorrow

Let me first state that I do not know Roy Marcum. It has been nearly eight years since I last saw him, on my last day of volunteering at the Sacramento County shelter. I did not stay in touch with many of the staff or volunteers there, because my soul was too seared from all the sadness and tragedy of beautiful lives lost. I had seen too many dogs and cats I knew were healthy and adoptable killed.

Which is not to say that I did not love some of the people at this shelter. I did. So many were stuck in a bad system, doing the best they thought they could. I know they could have done better, but I was helpless to change anything.

Roy was one of the animal control officers at the shelter who was never afraid of Pit Bulls. He had a brindle Staffordshire Bull Terrier who followed him everywhere, always toting 2-3 tennis balls in her mouth. I'm embarrassed I don't remember her name, but I remember she loved him and he loved her.

Roy introduced me to Sage, a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier who needed fostering. Sage was my very first foster dog...and she was one of the best. She loved mice. She loved guinea pigs. She loved walks. And she simply loved life. Roy knew that and didn't want to see her killed for no other reason than "she looks like a Pit Bull". Sage is the first dog I found a home for, but she would be the first of many Pit Bull type dogs I would embrace.

I only saw moments of Roy. I saw him throw a ball for his dog. I remember him tearfully telling me how his Staffy Bull, the brindle girl, had died - she had choked on one of her infamous tennis balls. I remember him around the shelter, walking tall.

Yesterday, Roy was murdered. He was trying to help the dogs at a supposedly abandoned, foreclosed home. And he was shot to death by a deranged, disturbed man.

I feel great sadness for Roy's family. They are in my thoughts. There is a void, great and expansive, sweeping through their hearts and minds and bodies. There is confusion and anger and deep-deep sorrow. I am so sorry for this.

Roy tried to help dogs, in a way he felt was best. I honor that. And although I have never talked with him in the eight years since I stopped volunteering, I am forever grateful that he encouraged me to love dogs for their individual personalities not because of their breed. I am thankful that he lived through example, that he did not "do as I say, not as I do" and that he did his best to help companion dogs and cats. That is no small feat.

Thank you.

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