07. April 2010 · Comments Off on A Pair of Poopies · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, World

Actually they are really puppies, according to the strict definition of an immature, immensely appealing and sweetly clumsy canine. There are two of them, though. And they do poop. Dogs in good health do this, with joyful abandon, although how joyful an event this is for the human who collects it all up and disposes of it in the proper receptacle is a matter of considerable debate. When laboring under the suspicion that one of our dogs has ingested something unhealthy (like a sock, a rubber chewy-toy, or a wad of fiber stuffing from a comforter, pillow or doggie bed) having it appear out the other end commingled with the normal fecal material – or indeed, having anything appear from the other end – is considerable of a relief, for both the dog and the human. There’s another expensive veterinary/surgical bill avoided.

Anyway, my dearest daughter, who I swear has never laid eyes on an animal that she didn’t immediately fall in love with and bring home – found this pair, gamboling happily on a deserted suburban street in our neighborhood, last Saturday morning. (I found it, Mom – can we keep it? For a little while? I promise, I will take care of it – really, I will!) This has happened with dismaying frequency, over the last fifteen years, reaching some kind of record one weekend a couple of years ago, when we set our personal-best stray dog-return record – four of them, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. We find a dog – usually a singleton – wandering around, unescorted by an owner. Sometimes these dogs are wearing a with collar and ID and rabies vaccination tags, sometimes not. A collar and tags is an easy fix, since all that needs to be done is to call the veterinary clinic which issued the tag and tell them the number. With fiendish regularity, this happens most usually about mid-Saturday, or even Sunday of a week with a holiday Monday, so we are stuck with the stranger for at least two days.

Dogs who are beloved pets have a sort of aura about them. They are socialized; they have manners, and do not pick fights with our own dogs and cats. They are well-kept, well-fed and generally well-groomed. Quite often they are older animals – It’s been our experience that no one intentionally dumps an older dog – in fact, the dog with the graying muzzle is usually especially cherished, and has owners who are frantically searching for him or her. Sometimes, they have come from very far outside our neighborhood – a big dog can go a pretty fair distance if panicked. A dog without tags or chips presents a different set of problems: sometimes, they are so small and timid that you know they have not come from very far. In that case, it is a matter of going around with the dog on a leash, asking everyone we meet if they recognize it.

And then there is the routine of putting up posters on the mailboxes and light-posts, and the free ad in the newspaper, registering with a couple of local services and websites, putting up flyers at several local veterinarians . . . all those things that are advised, when trying to return a lost pet. Only in this case, it is not working. We have had them now for five days. We can’t even properly ID what breed they are – boxer or boxer mix? Pit-mix? Shar Pei? No one recognizes them. No one has called, or emailed, to claim them. They have no chips. They aren’t at the cute puppy phase of development; they are at the rambunctious adolescent stage. The very dismaying possibility now is that that someone just got fed up, drove through our neighborhood and dumped them. Which I find absolutely horrific – because they are sweet and endearing dogs, who have easily grasped the concept of ‘sit’ and ‘stay,’ even if only for a few nanoseconds.

We can’t keep them – my house and yard are tiny. We already have two dogs and barely manage to keep them fed, let alone the matter of veterinary care. The local Humane Society has wants us to call every morning at a certain time to see if they have spaces for them – and they also charge a fee to turn in animals. The Animal Defense League also has a fee, although they call it a ‘donation’ per animal; they have a waiting list also. Which is basically no help to us at all, if we can’t find another home soon. We can’t afford to keep them for very much longer, we barely can afford the fees and to feed them during the wait to turn them over to either. The city pound is just a no-starter: no chips, no tags and no one claiming them means they will be put down within three days and it is a hell-hole anyway. It would be kinder just to have them put down ourselves, and I am so stressed out about it that I can hardly think straight. How dare their owner not bother to be responsible – how dare they put it all off onto us?

Comments closed.