Kyshka’s Legacy: Colleen Combs & Green Dog Rescue Project
As told by Colleen Combs, founder of Green Dog Rescue Project
She was a Siberian Husky—White Wolf hybrid. So that’s a LOT of dog!
In the process of really learning to be a good leader for her, we bonded really tightly.
I had just gone through a really nasty divorce and had my two young children. They were four and nine. At one point, I had a home intruder hold me at gunpoint. My children were asleep in the next room. It was this very weird and surreal moment when, instead of panicking, you think of your kids. ‘I won’t scream out because I don’t want to wake the kids and bring them out here and be victims as well.’ It’s scary. It’s terrifying.
Out of nowhere, from the right side, I heard glass break, and Kyshka had gone through the window of the kitchen door and came into the house and attacked the assailant. And the gun discharged and it took her life. But it gave me a chance to disarm that person, and then it was just rage.
I didn’t teach her to do that. I didn’t ask her to protect me. So shortly after that, I spent time trying to figure out: Why on earth would she do this? This was loyalty. This was loyalty to a leader, and it was not questionable, it was just an action. And it was that particular action that made me feel like, I’m here for a bigger reason, and I have to do something for these animals that are dying because we don’t understand them.
I never stop thinking about her lessons and the gift that she gave me, which was literally my own life. I’m able to see my kids and my grandkids today because of her. And I just feel I’m obligated to help her brethren, her ilk, because these are great animals.
There are times when I can just have this overwhelming sense that she’s right there, kind of going, “Go forward now—it’s time,” or “Oops, back up a little bit—don’t push too hard.”
Are we still putting animals down? I haven’t done enough. Is everybody educated well enough yet to do the right thing for their animals? Am I tired of doing what I’m doing? I haven’t done enough yet. How do you do enough when someone gives you your life? You take that life and you make something of it. And if this is what I’ve decided to make of it because of her, then no, I haven’t done enough. I will never, ever take advantage or take for granted the gift that she gave me by giving up her life for mine.