Monday, July 19, 2010

Tales of a P-Beast

Tales from a Dogcatcher by Lisa Duffy-Korpics
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donated

Today, the vet called me to let me know that my 12 year old dog’s liver was not functioning ideally and told me that we need to set up an appointment to discuss it, and probably get medication started. My dog is not allowed to be old. He is not supposed to develop any problems with any of his organs.

Today, a man came to the shelter with a pit bull he had “taken care of” for 5 years. The dog had not been a baby when it was taken by the man. He was looking for someone to “kill it” because he “did not want to feed it anymore.” It was not the cost of food, but the work it took to give it to the dog. Also, the dog had “given the yard fleas.” He did not want to hear about how to combat that. He just wanted to kill the dog, but no one wanted to kill it for him. He could not understand why. He said she is a good dog—well-behaved and mellow. He said that he watched the evening news when it reported on “pit bull attacks” last week. I saw that sad excuse for a news story too. It frustrated the hell out of me. It made him decide that no one would want his dog so why bother trying. He did not want to put in the effort of calling or going to another animal shelter. He refused the list of vets when I asked him to please just give his dog a dignified death. I wish I could say that we took that dog from that man, but we didn’t. It was not the first time we had heard that story, and we were no longer allowed to take pit bulls until the ones we had were adopted out. We did nothing for that poor girl. That well-behaved and mellow dog. We don’t euthanize healthy, happy, friendly pups. We probably should have.

Today, the vet called to tell me that my dog is no longer a young, wistful puppy with a lot of life to give. He is sleeping beside me while I type. He is my “good” dog. The one that is social. The one that loves other dogs, ignores children, wants nothing more than to be near people, and lets cats clean out his ears. The one I have loved for a decade—ever since I found him scared and sick with snot dangling from his nose in a kennel at the local animal control shelter. The one that traveled across the country and back a couple times, trained the multiple foster dogs I brought home, and ruined my love for thunderstorms. I am not saying he is at the end of his rope yet, don’t get me wrong, but I am worried and anxious about my next vet visit. I am worried that I will never again be able to call him a “healthy dog.”

Today, I am letting go of Tales from a Dogcatcher. I am letting it go because all I can think about is how much I love my dog and how many people I meet every day that would do anything to get rid of theirs. I was not a huge fan of this book because it did not relate to my own experiences—she was a “dogcatcher” in a much smaller town. She knew many of the people she served. It was very reminiscent of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It rubbed me the wrong way because it is the only one I have found on the subject. I wanted to relate so badly. It might be incredible. I am too close to “dog catching” in my everyday life and mostly too wounded to LOVE it. But it was okay, and I am glad it was written, and I am glad I read it.

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