This Dog is Loved

"You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do."

Some won, some lost.

It’s been nearly two years now since my early days at the SPCA, and I can’t remember too much of note from the first few months other than Zelda’s death. A Pit named Jay was euthanized in the first couple weeks but I hadn’t worked long enough to believe any thing nefarious had happened. I wasn’t “in” yet so the worst of the worst was unknown to me. Zelda I remember though.

There were a few Chihuahua like dogs brought in from an apparent hoarding situation. 70 some dogs in a house apparently. I only distinctly remember Poe, Link, and Zelda. Poe went into foster shortly after, Link was terrified and uninterested in any thing but his dog friends, and Zelda was completely shut down and terrified out of her mind. I’ve actually never encountered a dog more frightened than she was. She trembled in her kennel and it was advised not to open it because the moment she got opportunity she would run for her life. Her apparent foster home was the same fellow fired over the Parvo deal, and she was reported to be living under the home rather than in it and being rehabilitated. She then went into another foster where running for her life would ultimately end it.

Every day shelter employees at the bottom of the pole are faced with things they can’t do any thing about. You’re placed in these situations that are ultimately out of your hands that sometimes have catastrophic consequences. Zelda was one of those. A foster with young children showed up and I was asked what would be the best situation for a fearful dog. It was not that situation, but when you clean shit you have no decision making power. I stated it would be a bad situation, a very basic run down of LEAVE THE DOG ALONE and to put her in an area that was as far away from any exits as possible. There was another foster family I quite liked interested in taking her and I had talked with them at length about how to help her. I really liked those folks, but they subsequently stopped volunteering. Another good resource run off.

I think it was the very next day it was reported a door was opened, Zelda ran out, and she was hit by a car and killed. There is zero joy in “I told you so” when it costs a dog their life.

What happened to Zelda was (and still is) perplexing to me. Ultimately they failed that dog, but at least a foster was tried? Meanwhile, the scruffy shut down Pitty mix remained over in quarantine while she was no where near on the same scale of fearful as Zelda. She laid passively on her bed, went directly in and outside when her kennel was opened, and didn’t cause trouble for any one. I didn’t often work in the quarantine kennel but as the 5 months she was there went on she was allowing employees to scratch her through the bars. I was interested in this dog, who was known as “mama” and “Lolly doo” (what a stinking awful name) and made a few passing comments to my boyfriend about fostering her. As summer became fall I heard she would be going to a sanctuary and a volunteer was footing the bill for it. It was passed around that she was feral and it was her only option, where Zelda was.. not and OK for foster.

So you can understand why I was really confused when it was announced she was to be euthanized.

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