In our last entry, I talked about the plight of 13 dogs from an LA shelter who were ALL due to be euthanized any day. Through an arduous process, a couple close friends and I pulled these dogs out of there, and set up a secret “underground railroad” to get them all into great homes. (Please read the last entry for the backstory.)
So today, I’m happy to report…mission accomplished! On Tuesday, Parker and I collected all of the babies from either the shelter or the vet (for those who hadn’t been spayed or neutered yet), while the Militant looked after the admin. Then yesterday, the Militant and I packed all 13 dogs into a Prius and drove them directly to their new adoption/fostering location. In fact, we literally pulled right up to an “emergency adoption” that our rescuer partner had set up, and adoption and fostering opportunities started poppin’ right away!
But before I share a few more details, I want you to meet the Lucky 13 personally. Bear in mind as you watch this short video, that these are 13 lives here…13 beautiful spirits, each with their own little personas, preferences, personalities and, most importantly, their own right to live peacefully on this planet, just like the rest of us. And to think that most or all of THESE actual critters might have been killed this week? Unbearable.
The Bliss of Ignorance
If ignorance is bliss, then the typical animal shelter must be one of the happiest places on earth. I know this might sound a little harsh to say, but to any rescuer or hardcore animal advocate who has ever spent any amount of time at the local animal shelter, you know there is no other way to characterize so much of what you witness there.
At first, you get pissed…frustrated…depressed. You want to walk up to these people and bitch-slap a little sense into them. But then – at least for me – you realize that most of these folks who are surrendering their own animals, or bringing in a stray, abandoned or injured animal (without responsible follow-up monitoring), either don’t know about the potential consequences to the animal, and/or are operating from a completely different mindset about companion animals and their role in our world. You realize that the shelter environment, and all of the incredible displays of ignorance and irresponsibility, is merely a symptom of a deeper problem. And the problem is essentially lack of education.
Case in point: Just as the three of us walked into the shelter to select what would be the Lucky 13, we noticed a family there returning a small lab/basset hound mix named Dukey. When the Militant inquired why they were returning him (as she can’t seem to stop herself from doing!), we learned that Dukey had bitten their 12-year old boy and was not a “good match” for the family. We also learned that they had just adopted Dukey from this very shelter the week before, and they had now come back to “exchange” him for a different “model”…as if he were a fucking DVD player.
Upon further inquiry, we learned that it was really more of a nip than a bite (there was no broken skin) and that Dukey had pissed on the floor a time or two (which may have been the real reason for the hasty return). But instead of finding out why he had nipped at the kid, or why he had pissed on the floor when he otherwise appeared to be housebroken, they were just going to bring him back and tell the shelter folks that Dukey bit their child…which (unbeknownst to this family) typically gets a dog “priority placement” on the red list to be euthanized. Hence my remark about how ignorance is bliss.
Long story short; we ended up taking Dukey as our first of 13. Parker and the Militant educated the dad about a lot that he didn’t know and, to his credit, he waived his shelter credit so we could take him directly, and he even asked Parker to help him in selecting a most suitable dog for their family. (Actually, she first had to instruct them on how to be a more suitable family for a dog!)
The real punchline here is twofold: First, Dukey turned out to be an absolute sweetheart who showed zero aggression toward any dog, cat or human. He did, however, appear to have some kind of issue with his hindquarters and was uncomfortable with being picked up a certain way…which is why he probably nipped at the kid who was undoubtedly too rough with him. Second, in yet another instance of synchronicity, Dukey was the first to get adopted yesterday. Just after we pulled up and started getting all the dogs settled in, a nice man who owns a bed-and-breakfast (and who was already a highly-qualified adopter to the rescuer) went apeshit over Dukey and started signing papers to become his guardian immediately! Now, our boy Dukey is going to be living large, sprawled out in front of a fireplace at a beautiful b&b – and the object of every guest’s affections – instead of taking a fucking lights-out needle in his forearm at the shelter. Just think of all the lives he’s going to touch for years to come…and all of those who will touch his.
And so it shall be for all the Lucky 13. And I’m going to try and savor that thought tonight for as long as I can…even as there are still so many, many more in need.
More later, friends –