2012-04-04 / Columnists
Pets Pets Pets
Animal abandonment, especially discarding the neglected or infirm, boils down to two psychiatric questions: How can an owner be callous enough to leave a defenseless dog or cat to fend for itself? What lobe of the brain must be missing in this cruel person who lacks any compassion or a semblance of a conscience?
Pet ownership should be a lifetime commitment, as in the vow: “In sickness and health; ‘til death do us part.” Sadly, municipal shelters see abandoned pets all the time. Many are so far gone that even limitless love and veterinary care come too late to save them, like dear Michaela featured in last week’s column (“Pets” 3/29/12 online), the terribly matted Afghan Hound found in NJ wearing a peculiar purple coat. She succumbed to a pervasive infection.
For 30 years I have been reluctant to print that people abandon pets outside of town shelters (or other remote places) for fear of giving them unscrupulous ideas. My worry is absurd because individuals so heartless would never read this column, plus devious people concoct their own evil schemes. Experience has jaded me about accepting certain “found” animal stories. Many would fail the pet polygraph. Some are so brazen (or stupid), they dump dogs with tags or microchips, tracing back to them. Cat carriers are labeled or, better yet, lined with magazines, containing owners’ address stickers.
A recent Friday at around 10 p.m., a kind feral feeder came upon a man wrapping a Boston Terrier’s leash to the shelter door. When approached, he said he found the dog but couldn’t take him home since he had Pits. So instead, he just happened to have a leash and was going to tie the dog to the shelter, which wouldn’t re-open for 12 more hours, in a secluded, industrial area? More likely, the sneak didn’t expect anyone to catch him in the act. Good Samaritans can take found dogs to emergency hospitals where they stay until town shelters can pick them up. There is no charge.
The feeder called a colleague who drove a distance to fetch the Boston so he could spend the night at her home. The next morning she brought him back, in hopes an owner would claim him. The Boston was very depressed. When he brushed up against the shelter vet, as if crying out for help, she noticed his gums were white which meant he was severely anemic. Bleeding internally after being hit by a car became a possibility.
The Boston was rushed to the emergency clinic where numerous tests suspected but didn’t confirm a deadly autoimmune anemia rather than a collision with a car. Despite hospital care, the Boston didn’t make it. The cynic in me believes the creep tying the dog late at night was the owner dumping his dog because he knew he was sick. Out of sight; out of mind; out of a mind, missing a lobe.
“Forever Their Own” is a wonderful rescue person’s first published poem. The kindness of Eileen Gibson, a PA volunteer for Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue, has been portrayed here before; most recently describing the albino Setter puppies she saved (“Pets” 10/27/11). She and her husband Tom provided the hospice home for Quinn, our emaciated English Setter from a NYC shelter, suffering from end-stage Lyme disease. On the day Quinn died, Eileen’s vet found a migrated microchip eventually traced to South Africa (See “Pets” 3/18/10). Inspired by what Quinn might have endured while seeking rufuge under a car in the Bronx on the cold, rainy day after Christmas 2010, Eileen wrote this verse. I would like to dedicate her poem to Quinn, Michaela, the nameless Boston Terrier and countless other abandoned pets:
Forever Their Own by Eileen Gibson
“Get out and stay out” were the last words you said, Before opening the door, kicking me in the belly and head. Crawling back on the porch whimpering, “What have I done?” I’m hurt and I’m scared but you’re still my special one. Out you come kicking - a puddle I make, I tremble in fear as another beating I take. I’m dragged to the sidewalk, the gate I hear slam. All the while screaming “Bad dog - now you scram!” What do I do? Where do I go? I’ll just sit here awhile, head hanging low. For the longest time, I sit looking back in... They’ll soon come get me as I lick my bruised skin. It’s dark now. I’m hungry. The ground is so cold. I turn away and begin walking...doing as was told. It’s raining and blowing, I’m soaked to the skin. Now thunder and lightning “Won’t someone please let me in?” I’m running and running from all that I fear. Can’t trust anyone - not a soul I let near. I close my eyes... from exhaustion I sleep. My next meal is covered in maggots from a trash heap. My once shiny coat is matted with mud. My ribs are now showing...paws stained with my blood. I walk among many; it’s as if I’m not there... Some glance or shout “Get away”, but most do not care. I feel myself weaken, the end I now see... Suddenly a soft voice cries “Poor poor baby...come to me!” I look and I cower - head and tail to the ground. As I lay shaking she cries, “Honey, look what I found!” I try to be brave and stand up to these two... Oh, no...I made a puddle! What will they do? “Poor, poor baby,” she whispers. “You’re safe now,” he said. As he scratched my ears gently...she kissed my dirty head. I don’t even remember the car ride to their home. They tell me I’m rescued, they love me, and forever their own!
For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: This week “Blondie” & “Riley” are poster pups. Blondie #12-21 is a shy but sweet Pit/Lab caught in a humane trap at St. Charles Cemetery while “Riley” #12-181 is an exuberant Border Collie mix picked up near Lindenhurst High School. Male- “Thumper”#12-58 Hound mix tied to a church; “Freddy” #2-19-longhair tuxedo cat. Female: Samoyed mix #12-203; “Shorty” #94230 Shep mix; “Billie” #2-68 exquisite longhair cat in the lobby