To Leah,

I am sorry. I am sorry humans failed you. I am sorry we as a being were gifted these extraordinary minds only to still allow suffering to both fester and flourish. I am sorry that you were left to perish alone, in a puddle, too weak to lift your head. I am sorry for the time prior to your discovery that you had to fend for yourself in a world where cruelty seems to win. When I say my heart aches for you- it is an understatement. Because I know you weren’t and aren’t alone in your suffering. For every story we see, there are a seemingly infinite number of stories that never see the gaze of strangers on the internet.

You didn’t feel like a stranger to me, though. I do not know what your past consisted of, but I know your fate.

I do not know how humanity in all its awe, creations, inventions, advancements, how we missed the picture as whole. I am not sure when the hustle and bustle of monotonous daily tasks we so distain took precedence over altruism. I am not certain of when we became so hurried, so busy, too bothered that when we visualize another existing being suffering, we turn away. I do not know when we became so callous, so numb, so comfortable with pretending you don’t exist. I cannot attest to when we stopped taking the time to practice compassion and mercy. I do not understand what lives in some people that they can change their direction mid stride when being presented an opportunity to delay the reaper’s reach. 

I do not understand it, I never will. And I am grateful that I won’t, because to understand it means that somehow, I would have justified it.  

I am sorry you were robbed of what could have been. When I see you, I see the lost potential. I see the comfortable bed you never got the chance to warm, the bowl full of food you never got to eat, the favorite stuffy you never got to carry around, while your human mom snaps a photo for grandma. I feel what could have been for you, what should have been. I feel the safety of a roof over your head, the love of your favorite human, the weight of a full belly. I feel the joy of a walk in the fresh autumn air, the comfort of an embrace, the excitement of a doorbell ring. I feel the warm summer sun beaming through the window where you sunbathe in the morning. I feel whole. What should have been fades, and in its place, I see you succumbing to dying in a dirty pool of water. I look at the photo and I can feel the surrender.

There is a lot I do not know, but what I do know is this: I won’t ever turn away. I will always honor you, your life, what should have been. I will do what’s right. I will never lose sight of what it means to be human, to have compassion and empathy. Not only to have it, but to practice it.  I will be a voice, an advocate, an ally. I won’t only look for the helpers, I will be a helper. You deserved that, and I am grateful that someone stopped their car that day. I am grateful there are good people who fought fiercely for you. I am grateful for at least a couple hours, you were loved. I am grateful you were able to see there is still kindness in humans too. You deserved more, and I am sorry.  



*Thank you This Is Houston for your hard work and dedication to animals in need. I hope you know the world is a brighter place because you exist.*




*Photos are from This_Is_Houson Instagram account, featuring Leah. Please see the link here: Leah's Post



March 02, 2022 — Morgan Van Daalwyk


Dena said:

This is heartbreaking. Thank you to everyone that tried to save her. There is way too much neglect, abuse and cruelty around the world that I see daily from the rescues I follow. It makes me so sad but I refuse to bury my head in the sand. There are also great humans around the world combatting these monsters and making a difference. Thank You to all of the animal warriors out there!

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