This Dog is Loved

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Archive for the tag “Rescue dog”

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:

TUMAH

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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This is the first day of your life.

Lolly Doo and another dog named Jacobi were scheduled to be euthanized the same day in mid-November. Jacobi received her sentence for.. growling at her kennel sometimes. At this point it’s probably important to mention no such temperament tests were done at the rescue, and there was no one on staff or otherwise that was educated or capable. No the one signing the death warrants, and not the ones pulling dogs from shelters. The rules of the SPCA of SW Mich are “We only take the most adoptable dogs” with no real constraints on what adoptable means and to who, but if you didn’t fill those arbitrary requirements you were toast. And so it goes for Lolly Doo and Jacobi.

Except not this time. The only time in my year and a half at the rescue were dogs due to die allowed to be saved. The only time.

If you take a gander at their website http://spcaswmich.org/ they really love the tagline “Rescue, Rehabilitation, and adoption of abandoned pets.” So much so if you click on any link that tagline remains the header. So surely they would not want these two dogs to be euthanized and would allow employees to rehabilitate them, right?

Not really. A coworker and I asked the manager Katie Meskil if we could foster these two dogs and were met with a resounding no. These dogs would NEVER be adoptable. However, we could legally adopt them and sign waivers then we were on our own, or we could accept they were going to die. I think at this point it’s important to mention I had been an employee for less than 3 months and no one knew me from Adam, but I was given the option of adopting a “feral” heartworm positive unaltered dog with no assistance from these masters of rehabilitation in the future.

So I did. Our house has four floors, one of which was an entire apartment attached to the house that we didn’t have any real use for and was separate from the normal day to day with our own personal dogs. I had the space, the means, and the resources so I signed that waiver:

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That hand written waiver with my name misspelled, a mention of a vet with no notes or signature from them (and I would hope a veterinarian professional would not note that heartworm positive dogs are contagious) and that “feral” dog was mine. November 17th, 2011 shortly after 7 PM I placed a large crate just inside her kennel door and gently guided her in, loaded her into the car, and brought her to the first day of the rest of her life.

And for the first few weeks of the rest of her life she sat 10 feet away staring at me just like this:

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