Apr 30, 2007

I Love Posts Like This

Nothing makes me happier than passing on a happy ending. We have one for one of our longtime guests, Little Papa, a spunky brindle boxer who came to us in November for a cruelty case along with his friend Bear, a pitbull. Their case ended recently with them both being surrendered over to the shelter -- this was a good outcome since their home was not a good place to be . For Little Papa, it's the best outcome. He's very adoptable and I'm sure will find a good home - in fact, he's already passed his medical and temperament tests and been moved over to the available animals section of the shelter. If you know anyone interested in adopting a loveable goof of a dog that needs tons of exercise and no small children in the house, please pass this along.

Apr 14, 2007

His Name Is Radar

Last Friday on my way out of the animal hospital, a small, frightened pit bull was making his way in. Huge patches of fur were either hanging off of him or missing completely, and deep cuts ran across his throat and chest. All four legs were spotted with pink open sores, some the size of quarters, and his right front leg appeared dislocated, horribly swollen, or both. A vet technician spoke lovingly to him as she coaxed him through the door. She told me that the dog had been born and bred to fight. Apparently he'd lost this bout and was dumped on the street to die.

All weekend, he drifted in and out of my thoughts; like many of the dogs I work with, he appeared in my dreams. When he was well enough to travel, I knew he would wind up here at ACC, and on Monday when I came in, there he was, gazing at me from his makeshift bed in his kennel. Woozy from pain medication, he looked nearly as roughed up as he had two days ago. Still, I was overjoyed to see him. As I crouched in next to him, he moved slowly and deliberately closer to me. I stayed there stroking him a long time, avoiding his wounds and his injured leg. He nuzzled into me so intensely, a bit of his patchy fur remained stuck to my sweatshirt when I finally pulled away.

On Tuesday, he seemed better. Or maybe I just wanted him to seem better. When I went in to sit, his appetite instantaneously returned and he began eating the kibble he'd thus far left untouched. I told him I knew he was a gentle dog, and I promised he'd never be made to fight again. On Wednesday his tail wagged as I approached his kennel. Limping, he walked the few steps to greet me. I worried to see him struggling out of his bed, but I was thrilled he felt strong enough to attempt it. On Friday he licked peanut butter off of my fingers and seemed to smile, the way dogs do, as I cooed and pet him.

Today, Saturday, it rained, and the shelter felt gray and cold in those morning hours. As usual, we snuggled for a long long time, he and on his bed and me sitting beside him, so close I felt each breath come in and out. I worried about his injured leg, but each time I'd shift to give him space, he moved closer to me, his brown eyes sorrowful, yet somehow brimmed with hope. "You're so beautiful," I told him. "You didn't deserve this."

I got the phone call a few hours later; a decision had been made. A scared dog, wary of humans, he'd be euthanized within the hour. Because the sadness stung so acutely, I tried to focus on the indignation: born to be abused, made to fight, sentenced to a life of pain and cruelty. I had wanted so badly for this dog to be the exception, to somehow prove that a week of tenderness could erase the fear. That he could know, finally, a happier life. The sense of injustice is overwhelming. I can't find any meaning in it, and writing about it doesn't help.

But at least I can keep my promise. He'll never fight again.

Apr 8, 2007

Red, the rocket dog

Who says long legs make for the best runners? Barely off the ground, he's across the park and back within a few blurry seconds. That's Red. A miniature pinscher-dachshund mix, he's not especially lean, not particularly leggy, but not to be underestimated when it comes to speed. He zooms past me, darting at the bird in the far tree, and an instant later he's back investigating the noise coming through the other side of the fence. Red's owner is in the hospital, and with no one to take care of him during this time, we give him the closest thing we can here to a home. And he gives me something too: a pretty good workout during our spirited games of chase. You can guess who wins.

Apr 5, 2007

Dog of the Week

Meet Jeckel. He's a very smart, highly energetic pitbull mix. He loves running, playing fetch and is extremely trainable. He's also a very typical Give a Dog a Bone resident -- he joined us for a few weeks while his owner was in jail. Since there were no friends or family to take care of him, Jeckel came to Animal Care and Control and was put under GADAB's care.