October 15th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
The reason I ask the AFCD staff why dog has been surrendered is not because I expect to hear the truth, I just need to know if it was because of biting or aggression. The other stories never vary, and are always (a) leaving the country or moving to/already live somewhere dogs aren’t allowed, (b) having/just had a baby (c) allergies, and (d) the dog is old and/or sick. Today’s chocolate labrador was reason (a), but looking at the condition of the dog I think it was really “couldn’t be bothered any more”. Although still relatively young at four years, Dan (as I called him because of his dandruff), has bald patches on his elbows and rear end from lying and sitting on a hard surface, probably concrete, and a flaky, patchy coat from just general poor care and/or maybe being kept outside. There is a bald circle round his neck from a chain collar, and how I wish I could meet his ex-owners and kick their backsides.
There was another dog at the AFCD Centre, a pretty thing with a longish coat which was quite scruffy and matted. I asked, as I always do, where the dog came from because it was very friendly with a wagging tail, and I was told it had been taken from an empty apartment, just left behind when the owners moved out.
I know there are far worse cases of abuse and cruelty, and I’ve heard the “what about the starving children in Africa” bit more times than I care to remember (and believe me, those images also shock and appall me), but what is worrying about this total disregard for a pet’s life and welfare is that it reflects a general lack of concern for anything other than the owner’s convenience. When a puppy is adopted and then subsequently returned for (a), (b) or (c), or claimed bad behaviour (which in reality just lack of proper training), more often than not there are children involved, and what sort of message is being passed on by the parents? ”Don’t worry about anything other than yourself” or “If it’s inconvenient, dump it”.
Anyway, both Dan and the scruffy mixed breed are lovely dogs, and we humans could learn a lot from dogs about forgiveness and just letting things go, as well as loyalty and commitment.
I got home to find that the smallest of my baby pups isn’t doing too well. She has watery diarrhoea, and that can drain such a young puppy of energy – and life – very quickly. Living in a place where getting to a vet isn’t easy I need to deal with these situations myself, and in any case, after so many years of seeing puppies fail even with the best of veterinary care I have to take a pragmatic approach to these cases. I do my best , and for this little one that means going back to hand feeding and some medicine for the diarrhoea. Her siblings care nothing for their little sister and trample over her without a thought, a reminder that in the natural way of things, only the strong survive.