So, we’re on a quest for a new Service dog. Becca needs something bigger than a Jasper for mobility work so we’ve been looking. She’s been thinking Mastiff, I’ve been hoping for something smaller, and admittedly fluffier, like a Mastidoodle. Either way, it would be a tight fit in the Hermitage.
Of course we’ve kept our options open. I’ve read The Dresden Files, I know how this ends with a Mastiff. “Thomas? Why did you buy Large Breed puppy food?” To that end we’ve been checking the animal shelters in Franklin, Licking, Delaware, and Fairfield Counties looking for suitable dogs. Becca thinks she found one so back to the Franklin County Animal Shelter, where almost four years ago, we brought Jasper into our lives.
I felt the anxiety hit me as soon as we stepped into the shelter. And the sadness. All these dogs. While we were there, we saw at least two surrenders. One may have a happy ending. Man had to return a dog because he didn’t get along with his girlfriend’s dog. Fate had it that a couple of guys were there who were interested. So hopefully Scooby will have a new home. It’s still got to be traumatic for the poor dog.
And so many dogs who have the odds stacked against them. We found a couple that looked to meet the size/weight minimums, but they were too old (too long to train vs use) or too hostile (couldn’t be around kids or pets) or in one case, one guy who was happy and cute, but had a broken leg before, meaning we’d have to worry about weight bearing. We may have found a suitable dog. He’s not Mastiff sized, but strong and smart. The question is, is he Jasper compatible. Watch this space.
What overwhelmed me was the cruelty. Not in the shelter, the cages were clean, the staff nice and polite, and you can see they care. They know what it is like for these poor dogs, and their possible fates. It is the cruelty of people who would abandon their dogs to be locked up in the shelter. Talking with the staff, I found most of the chipped dogs they find, aren’t picked up. Literally, people abandoning these beings that rely on them, that their world revolves around. I could no more abandon Jasper than I could cut off my arm. Losing Rocky was just as painful as losing his mom. If I could I’d save them all. But what can I do now? We can’t release all the dogs to roam the streets, we can’t take them all in. And their previous owners don’t want or don’t deserve them for the hell they’ve been placed in. How can these dogs not be traumatized to see people every day, and not go home with them? We’ve spent maybe thirty six thousand years breeding socializing and training them to function alongside us. And then we turn our backs on them?
What kind of monster drags their pets off to be incarcerated, lost in the system, or destroyed, with some lucky few like Jasper who find the homes they need? I’m reminded again of a quote from an old TV show, War of the Worlds. It has stayed with me for years, and as a card carrying mutant I think of it often.
“I have nothing really against humans. Some of my best friends are humans. But as a group, they stink, and you know it. I say, kill them all.”
Prove me wrong, donate to an animal shelter, or a service dog support group. Or go for yourself and see them and take them into your home, even only one. Don’t expect the county to do it.