Monday, April 19, 2010

An Innocent Dog

He was just laying there in the strip of grass between the highway and Wendy's. "If he's still there when I get out of Walmart, I'll stop" I thought to myself. I proceeded to Walmart to pick up the usual pet supplies - food and litter. They didn't have my brand so I left frustrated and had already forgotten about the stray dog.

He was still there. "He must be hurt", I said to myself. I turned the car around and pulled into the Wendy's parking lot. A young man was getting out of his car and looking toward the dog. "Do you know who he belongs to", I asked. "No", he replied, "but I thought he might be hurt". I got the leash from my car that I always carry. I instructed the young man to make a wide berth so we could position ourselves between the unmoving dog and highway, in case he bolted. I continued to walk slowly toward him and he watched me carefully. "Are you ok, buddy" I asked in a soft voice. His eyes never left mine and I wasn't sure what he was going to do. As I approached, he lowered his head to the ground and bared his tummy in complete submission.

I stooped down and slipped the leash over his neck. The young man and I gave him a visual exam and didn't see any blood or wounds, so it didn't appear that he'd been hit by a car. More likely, he smelled the food from Wendys and was hoping for a scrounged meal. He had signs of demodectic mange and was scratching. He also showed visible signs of tape worm caused by fleas.

I tried to walk him to my car but he didn't budge. I asked the young man if he'd hold the leash till I went inside and bought a plain burger to entice the dog with. He was hungry and his ribs showed. I gave him little bites till we got to the car and then the young man had to lift him into the car.

So here I was with a strange dog in my car, not knowing how he'd react. What was I going to do with him now? I no longer have a quarantine area for strays and I couldn't leave him there to get hit, or far worse, picked up and used for bait to train fighting dogs. The small no-kill shelter is full, as most shelters are. This dog wasn't exactly handsome, and was a medium to large size - no redeeming qualities other than a wonderful and loving personality just waiting to be tapped. He didn't stand a chance but I took him to the local Animal Control facility, which stays overflowing with unwanted and abandoned pets, and cried. They dispose of animals cruelly by gas chamber. The stray will be put in the black box and killed with gas Wednesday, if not sooner due to the Demodex.

This stray dog could just as easily have been your beloved pet. Thousands of dogs and cats are killed every hour in the US. Please get your pets spayed or neutered and encourage everybody you know to do the same. And don't fool yourself about pure breeds being safe from this fate. They are no more safe than a mutt. I will leave you with this - get a tissue.

Do I Go Home Today?

My family brought me home cradled in their arms.
They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm.
They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys.
I sure do love my family, especially the girls and boys.
The children loved to feed me, they gave me special treats.
They even let me sleep with them - all snuggled in the sheets.
I used to go for walks, often several times a day.
They even fought to hold the leash, I'm very proud to say.
These are the things I'll not forget - a cherished memory.
I now live in the shelter-without my family.
They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe.
But I didn't know the difference between the old ones and the new.
The kids and I would grab a rag, for hours we would tug.
So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug.
They said that I was out of control, and would have to live outside.
This I did not understand, although I tried and tried.
The walks stopped, one by one; they said they hadn't time.
I wish that I could change things, I wish I knew my crime.
My life became so lonely, in the backyard, on a chain.
I barked and barked all day long to keep from going insane.
So they brought me to the shelter but were embarassed to say why,
They said I caused an allergy, and then they each kissed me goodbye.
If I'd only had some classes, as a little pup.
I wouldn't have been so hard to handle when I was all grown up.
"You only have one day left." I heard the worker say.
Does that mean I have a second chance?
Do I go Home today?

author unknown