It’s easy to forget just how miserable life in our human society can be for some dogs, especially if your time is spent almost exclusively traveling in a tightly scheduled, insular circle of home, work (or school), exercising, shopping, eating, and sleeping at home again. Most of us see our beloved dogs snuggled in their beds (or ours), romping in our yards or local parks or play groups, on walks along the most picturesque paths we can find, and then back at home, on the couch or by the fireplace. It’s easy to forget about all the homeless dogs, the ones who have homes but who are locked out of them in all weather, and those who are abused out of anyone’s sight.
I’ve been obsessing about this because for the past week, I have been preoccupied with two puppies with very different lives.
The first is a three- to four-month-old shepherd-mix whom I spotted in my local shelter’s kennels. She had been brought into the shelter by a good Samaritan who had seen her wandering by the side of the road on the outskirts of my town. She had gone unclaimed in the shelter for more than two weeks; I snatched her up the day she was made available for adoption – not because I need another dog; after spending an hour with her in the “get acquainted room” at the shelter, I thought she’d make a terrific pet for my seven-year-old niece, Ava, who has been wanting her “own” dog for the past two years.
I brought the pup home to stay with me for a couple of weeks so I could get her started on crate-training, house-training, and basic manners. Within days she was going potty outside on cue, sleeping in the crate without protest, and had learned sit, down, and a reasonably reliable recall for a pup of her age!
She and Ava hit it off right away. She’s since started life in her new home, where she’s never going to be hurt, scared, or locked outside. “Rosie,” as Ava named her, is spending her day romping at the heels of my niece, curled on her lap on the sofa, or snoozing in a deep, soft bed next to Ava’s bed. She’ll have daily visits from a dog walker for at least a few months, and will be enrolled in a puppy training class in a few more weeks. She’s going to have a great life, full of love and attention.
The second puppy is also female, three to four months old, and a ward of my local shelter who was saved by a good Samaritan. But this puppy, a pit bull-mix, came to the attention of my local animal control officers in the form of a 911 call reporting that someone had beaten and burned a puppy, and it was still alive and suffering. The responding officer rushed her to a 24-hour vet hospital, where she’s been fighting for her life ever since.
I’ve been following the daily reports of her condition, as well as helping the shelter staff in any way I can, writing press releases and Facebook posts asking people to please help police and animal control officers find out who so cruelly tortured this sweet puppy. I’ve donated money to help pay for her care, and will add another donation to a reward fund if her attacker isn’t found soon.
I wish all puppies had safe, secure, loving homes. If your dog or puppy does, please consider giving a dollar or two to your local animal shelter, to benefit the ones who have not been so fortunate.