Monday, December 10, 2007

Tales from the puppy rescue

If I come home with 12 dogs in my car, it's not my fault.

It's Libby's fault.

It's all her fault.

Since I work in media, we often get animal shelters sending us clips and photos of puppies and kitties who need to be adopted. I avoid looking at these because I know I'll try to rescue the dogs. And everytime I try to rescue the dogs, Ben gets mad, I get depressed, I eat too much ice cream, Ben takes me to the puppy store, I try to steal a dog and talk my way out of jail....it's just best if we avoid it entirely.

However, Libby saw a English bulldog that stole her heart.

"I have to have this!" she squealed to me.

"Get him!" I replied enthusiastically. "Call Mike and see if you can see him today!" I was already plotting ways of playing with her dog in my head. She popped by my desk later with a pitiful expression.

"He can't go," she pouted, her lower lip quivering. "Maybe I shouldn't get the dog after all. Maybe it's not meant to be...."

"That's ridiculous!" I scoffed, desperate for someone to have a puppy. "I'll go with you. We'll see him during lunch."

Libby's eyes lit up and she began to hop around excitedly. "You'll go with me?"

"Sure!" I said cheerfully. "After I eat," I added a moment later. "I have to eat. I need food."

Libby squirmed and wiggled until we finally took off for the animal rescue, which was conveniently right by work. After a brief detour, we found the place and hurried to the cages. Libby squinted into the distance as we walked up to the kennels.

"Is that Fred?" she asked uncertainly. "From advertising?"

"I can't see that far," I replied, trying to stare at the blue blob in the foggy distance. The blob began to wave. "Guess so."

Fred greeted us warmly and asked what we were doing. When we replied we were there to look at the English bulldog, his face contorted into a snarl. So was he. Shoving Libby toward the cage, we hurried toward the bulldog's kennel. I was prepared to fight to the death if Libby wanted this dog. I wasn't scared of Fred the ad person.

While Libby and Fred cooed competitively at the bulldog, I talked to the other dogs.

"How are you doing?" I asked one with pleading eyes.

"How's it going?" I asked a frenzied mutt.

"Oh hell, I don't know what to do with you," I muttered, staring into a set of forlorn brown eyes.

The English Bulldog, who must have been stupid, snarled and lunged at both Libby and Fred. Libby fled to visit friendlier dogs, while Fred led a snarling dog out of the kennel. The dog tried to attack the other dogs at every cage out the door.

"Look at this one!" Libby squealed. "Isn't he cute!" I looked at the bloodhound in the cage who mournfully looked up at me.

"Sure," I replied, ready to save any dog at this point. "Let's walk him!" As we walked the bloodhound, who was more interested in peeing on all the trees than us, I watched all the other dogs. They flung themselves up on the fences and barked frantically as we passed. Some eyes begged, others pleaded, some warned and a few were hopeless.

One dog in particular broke my heart. We went to see the smaller dogs, watching their tiny tails wag as they hopped up to the fences hopefully. Their eager snouts poked through fences, desperate for a whiff of our scent or a brief brush of our hand. I ignored the signs that bellowed, "Don't put hands near the cage!" and let my fingers linger in front of the metal mesh. Small tongues licked my hands in desperation and I scratched their noses lightly, forcing myself to continue on.

Then, she saw me. A small two-year old terrier who had recently given birth, her teats still dangling as she threw herself against the fence. Her eyes met mine and she whimpered shrilly.

"Please," she begged, whining as she pawed the fence that separated us. "Please, please take me."

I watched the dog, unable to tear myself apart from her as Libby scratched and petted the dog next door.

"I'm sorry," I whispered over and over. "I'm sorry." I watched the hope slide from her eyes as she gently sat on the cold pavement. Looking up at me, she continued to whimper. Each time, her cries grew softer and shorter.

As we drove back in the car, I giggled and laughed with Libby. But every time I looked out the window, I saw the dog on the sidewalk looking at me. And I could hear her whimpering in my mind.

One of these days, Ben and I will start our own rescue shelter. Then when a dog whimpers, I know I can help.

Until then, all I can do is hope that the dogs at the rescue shelter don't lose hope.

4 comments:

Mom said...

It hurts when you see so many dogs sad, but remember when you visit the dogs and are kind to them, they remember and learn to be more social. This will actually help them to be adopted faster. So you may not have taken one home, but you did help.

elizabeth said...

Listen to your mommy Miranda. We need to go visit the dogs more often! :) I just don't want to walk any more stinky pee dogs! YUK! :P

Mama K said...

We have A No-Kill shelter here with dogs up for adoption. This last Saturday they were set up just down the street from us. When I drove by there were lots of people that had stopped and were playing with them in the parking lot. Let's hope that a LOT of them went home with new families that day. P.S. There was a long haired chihuahua up for adoption...she was so cute!

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