This Dog is Loved

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

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

I’m not afraid of you. I’m just a victim of your fear.

You cower in your tower praying that I’ll disappear.

Where did I leave off? Where ever it was last time I was here it resulted in my volunteer status being threatened for being “negative” about animals being killed at the shelter. I know when I go to my happy place it involves dead kittens, but I digress. I don’t really know what to say other than “someone” pointed “someone” in direction of my blog and it was read as unsavory. I stated my case, which I obviously feel is a very good one and… never heard any thing back. I’ve always lived in this weird world where if I’m faced with a confrontation, I confront it. Especially if I started said confrontation. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms my blog is being watched now and I don’t really have any thing to say to that except maybe I’m a thug and I ain’t going back to jail? 

I think most no kill proponents can agree with me in what a yucky feeling it is to be treated like you’re a whimsical, naive kid who can’t possibly understand what things are like. I’ve been on the inside of a “no kill” shelter and rescue for a decade now, so I’m not fresh off the starry eyed dreamer boat. It’s even more frustrating when even with limited access you have done so much to save animals. Our methods that totally work.. don’t work? I’m not even talking about the difficult to place dogs, like the fellow with the tumor we pulled and transported to rescue. I find it more peculiar the sanctuary I worked at took a human aggressive dog with no hope of home placement from the shelter when asked, but we can’t do every thing to place the adoptable dogs. 

The term adoptable is something else I want to address. Obviously my view is skewed as the sheer lump some of resource guarders, dog selective, fear aggressive messes I’ve taken in. I don’t think I’m brilliant with dogs and I don’t necessarily think John Q. Public could handle some of the cases that definitely need work. It’s incredibly difficult to be subjective when you’ve got a lovely dog sitting on your lap, even if said dog wants to maul the faces of other dogs. The very basic definition of “adoptable” when it comes to shelter pets is any dog that is treatable and not dangerous. Pretty broad. What it doesn’t include is breed, age, disability, or disfigurement. Treatable means any dog that is not adoptable but could be with reasonable efforts. According to Hayden’s Law: “Sick, traumatized, infant or unsocialized dogs need appropriate medical treatment, behavior modification and/or foster care to turn them into healthy animals ready for placement.” 

Hayden’s law has taken a lot of hits for being too broad, but I really think we think too critically about this. We also assume people are always too stupid to handle a variety of issues in dogs. There are plenty of dogs that do not do well with other dogs that can be safely placed. I have handled a handful of seriously DA dogs that would not fall into this category, but many others that just do not prefer the company of dogs that are perfectly safe to walk and handle. Reactive dogs != aggressive, either, and I live with one previously SERIOUSLY reactive dog. Human aggressive dogs are obviously not candidates to be placed in an adoptive home unless there are very specific, experienced circumstance. Heartworm positive dogs are not untreatable. Blind, deaf, missing limbs, whatever. There are homes for them. Distance is also not an issue as transport is readily available. Not EVEN going to get into how a lot of things like reactivity and frustration aggression are borne of environment. I’ve seen dogs do serious 180’s once they’ve left the shelter system. The most important thing I want to get past here is that when you have a lovely Pit, they are not less adoptable because they are a Pit. Or because they have one eye. Or because they’ve been in the system for two months. There are plenty of nutjobs like me out there that are OK with being called a nutjob just so long as we can do our best to get a dog where they need to go. No animal with a place to go should be euthanized. I willingly embrace any one willing to help me place a dog and I’ll volunteer myself for beheading to make things better.

Undeniably in a lot of areas of my life I am the villain but I refuse to accept I am here. I don’t even necessarily want to villainize others. I get the pleasure of volunteer with some lovely kennel staff that want to see these pets find homes. I just wanna save some animals, yo. I am asking for nothing more than being allowed to do that. Nobody puts baby in a corner. 

One of the shelter dogs also stopped short at the door and it took me way too long to realize he was urinating all over my leg. Kind of how my life is rolling lately. And I’m doing the best that I can. 

And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief.

Elsa is fine and happy. And someone wanted her. Maybe not right away, but someone did. Someone wants ALL shelter pets and quite frankly I have my panties in a bunch here.

I admin a FB for shelter dogs, high lighting the dogs in danger at the shelter in my city I volunteer for. My city shelter who filed paperwork with the Department of Agriculture stating they received 1,960 dogs in 2012. 400 shelter dogs were euthanized, 464 owner requested (which is sometimes slang for “Owner surrender, no legal hold period, killed immediately”), 198 transferred to rescue, 387 adopted. Weird, I went to public school and all but I have a decent grasp on simple math and that leaves 511 dogs unaccounted for. Are we to believe those 511 dogs were strays that were reclaimed? Found magic carpets and rode out of the joint to dog land?

My city shelter, who did a mass slaughter on Monday before Christmas without any warning or pleas for the animals on the euth board. They were not full, just swept through and preemptively killed “a bunch” (kennel staff’s words, not mine) of animals. They did find time to post videos on Facebook of themselves as Christmas elves, so PHEW thankfully they got that covered rather than advertising the several dogs (and uncountable amount of cats) they killed.

The reason my panties are so bunched is beyond just that. It’s the crap every one willingly swallows. This crap is drudged up after I announced this mass euth on said FB page, including a lovely little gal named Salt (who was maybe a year old) that I had personally promised I would not let die. Someone had donated $100 towards her adoption fee (and she was already marked at $25 off, so a total of $125 off $142 regular adoption fee she was.. a $17 dog.) and I let them know she, and another dog they pledged on, had be euthanized. The response?

“That’s unfortunate, however they do have to make room for more dogs that are more likely to be adopted. And from what I understand both Salt and Butters had issues with dog aggression.”

No. No, no, no, no, no. Nope. NO. AHHHHH I don’t even know where to BEGIN with how much that enrages me. First, Salt was barely a year old if that and she was out with a volunteer while I was taking another dog’s photo and I let them meet. They played all over each other. She regressed with other dogs as time went on because surprise, it sucks to be in a tiny box all day while other dogs bark constantly.  I was not aware of Butters’ status with other dogs but HEY GUESS WHAT. They could have lived happily as only dogs! And sometimes, like people, dogs don’t get along with each other. I don’t even know why I am offering any sort of justification here but I’m angry on and on a roll. Are we really so desperate?

Second, to address a big pet peeve of mine, no dog is any more adoptable than any other dog. Rescue, especially in my area, has become this giant shitty ball of choosing to only save “the most adoptable” which means if you are a Pit Bull, a large black dog, elderly, older, not flashy coated, too hyper, whateverwhateverwhatever you are less adoptable than the Shipoo puppies. Since when did “who gets adopted the fastest” equal “better” ? Rescue has become this really creepy business where every one willingly discounts a life because it’s not young, or small, or pretty, or purebred, or because they get the rescue notoriety because BAWW THEY SAVED THAT DOG NO ONE ELSE WOULD SAVE! We tell people to REALLY think before bringing a dog home, then we cap any dog that sits in a shelter for more than a month. Your mileage may vary, but my local shelter never updates their Petfinder or FB. Two dogs on the euth board (but they killed at least 10?) and not a single plea sent out to save them. The internet is an incredibly powerful thing, but nothing? We’ve taken months worth of photos for PetFinder only to see them never go up. It’s a really foreign concept to me that it’s acceptable to kill a dog then pat the shelter employees on the back and say “They’re doing the best they can.” Look, I’m not saying any thing new here, but when I don’t even see minimal effort from a place that has a live release rate in the 50% I’m gonna go ahead and gamble and say that is not the best one could do.

This last week I have, however, had two good rescue experience. The thing that is (and excuse my language) fucking appalling is that I get excited when I actually deal with a rescue that knows what is up and is interested in saving lives. My city is over saturated, if you will, with rescue and somehow we euthanize “400” (I doubt that is the solid number) a year, and even if it was correct that’s 400 too many. The city shelter also only lists 198 dogs as transferred to other facilities which is pretty appalling considering there were 5 rescues in the immediate area. A friend of mine that does every thing she can to rescue dogs offered a local rescue A THOUSAND DOLLARS to take a slightly mangey, blind Pomeranian and they took that money and surprise, the dog was placed nearly immediately. Then she gets in contact with Midwest Small Breed Rescue (donate to those named, if you can) regarding a Chihuahua tucked away in quarantine at animal control with a large growth on his shoulder. By large I mean like.. HEY:


He was not advertised in any manner and quarantine is off limits to the public. He had one week to be reclaimed (if he had an owner and who would know he was there?) then he would die. My friend gets a hold of MSBR and offers the same amount of money for them to save him. They not only say yes, but they refuse her money, especially at that amount, because they don’t want to rip someone off on a surgery not yet performed. I drove little tumor man (now named Merrick) to the rescue founder and she immediately wanted to give us gas money for bringing him to her. All this rescue cared about was that he was safe and treated those of us who were involved along the way with respect. The second rescue is Hairy Houdini Siberian Husky Rescue, who immediately jumped to the plate when three Huskies in mushing collars (a Sibe and two Alaskans) landed in our animal control. They busted ass to find placement and to get crates to me to transport. I’m picking the girls up tomorrow (one of them was reclaimed) and taking them to their foster home. The rescue asked for nothing from me. These things make me feel better about rescue, but they also make me wonder. Why is there such a stark difference between rescue to rescue or shelter to shelter?

I don’t know guys. Blowing off steam here. I just feel like it’s time for someone else to cry in their car in the shelter parking lot, but not because they couldn’t save some dogs.

As an aside, An Act of Dog will be painting the beautiful Butters and adding her to the 5500 memorial. An Act of Dog is  a visual representative of 5,500 “portraits of injustice” of dogs who lost their lives in shelters. Shelter is not a synonym for death.


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