bad doggie karma

I know “furry friday” is for posting pictures of your furry family members, but I’m going to use it to tell a story. A week ago, one of the neighborhood dogs showed up at our front door. It wasn’t the first time this one had visited and I already knew a little bit about her. I knew she lived with other dogs and stayed outside, even during nasty storms like the one that we just had which took down several trees in our neighborhood. I knew she was an escape artist who did not want to be in her own yard. There were some things I didn’t know, but suspected. I think her job was to protect her owner’s property since he is often away from the house. I also didn’t know how she was treated at home. So, we always kept the children away from this dog. After Molly brought this particular dog home with her one day, we cautiously allowed Molly to interact with the visiting dog. The dog was submissive and clearly allowed Molly to be the leader.

Last week was different. The dog had a large, deep gash on top of her head and dried blood in her fur. She wasn’t at our house for play. She wanted help. I sat down and rubbed her with a towel, searching for additional injuries while Doug tracked down her owner. The dog crawled into my lap and put her head on my leg. The owner showed up and the dog raised to a sit while leaning every ounce of her weight against me. I felt a sick feeling in my stomach about this reaction. The owner declared that the dog was on her way to the shelter. Apparently the two adult dogs had fought so badly that the other dog was rushed to the vet while the one in my lap dug her way out of the fenced in yard. We attempted small talk and looked for a reasonable explanation for the behavior, but the owner was angry and I was upset. He left to take the dog and I’m sure she was put down before the day was done.

I should have called a rescue group. I could have driven the dog to a no-kill shelter. I did nothing. I was too afraid. Maybe that dog could have been therapeutically helped and lived in a single-dog, no child home. Maybe not. I wasn’t willing to bring it in my house. I was a coward. That dog was a victim of circumstances. I believe that with all my heart. I hate myself for not doing anything. I spent the past week knowing that my reaction to fear instead of action toward rescue was wrong.

One thought on “bad doggie karma

  1. No matter how empathetic to feel toward a pet in distress, it should never override the protection of your children. Ever. So put the thought of bringing it inside out of your head. You were not a coward, you were doing The Right Thing.

    Did you ask the “owner” if he was taking it to an afore-mentioned no-kill shelter? If he wasn’t you could have volunteered to take it yourself — but again, you’re probably not able to leave without the kids so there’s that again.

    If you suspect the animal is in an abusive situation, is there any way Animal Control can come take charge of the dog, and still take it to the no-kill shelter? I don’t know if it works that way.

    But still, don’t be afraid of reacting to fear. Animals are dangerous, and there are way to many tragedies involving kids and strange dogs (not just kids, either) to risk taking a chance.

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