The following was contributed by and reprinted with permission from Patty Adjamine of New Yorkers For Companion Animals:
"My Animals Need A Loving Home! - A True Story"
by Patty Adjamine
The man walked into the lobby of the animal shelter. Behind him, two dogs followed faithfully, without leashes. Both dogs were calm, obedient and apparently well-trained Chow mixes. Their guardian was distraught.
The man waited nervously on a line of other people surrendering animals to the pound. His eyes were desperate as the two dogs stood quietly beside him. He frantically looked around the lobby.
He spotted me with two cats in carriers as I was taking papers from a shelter worker and preparing to leave. He quickly sensed a rescue situation and begged me if I could also take his dogs. "My dogs are wonderful," he told me. "They are well trained, gentle, affectionate, good with kids. They are only two-years-old. I am moving and cannot take them with me. My animals need a loving home!"
I could see his dogs were nice dogs. One of them licked my hand when I petted him. But, I could not take them.
I explained to the desperate man that while I could not immediately take his dogs, I would get their intake numbers and let him know what was happening with the animals. I promised, if possible I would try to find a placement situation for them. He gave me his pager number as he did not yet have a phone. He then reluctantly signed his dogs over to the shelter. When a shelter worker came to take the animals away, both dogs tried desperately pulling back towards their former owner. The former guardian fought back tears and then forced himself to look the other way -- and exit the shelter doors.
That evening I called the shelter to check on the status of the dogs.
One had already been "put to sleep."
I was told that both dogs behaved "aggressively" in the shelter. One had been euthanized because he had attempted to bite a shelter worker. The other was being held for another day or two for a "reevaluation." I asked if I could see the surviving dog and was told I could.
I raced to the shelter to see the dog who still was alive. From the back of the cage, this formerly friendly and loving dog was now snarling and assumed a defensive/aggressive posture. The same dog who earlier licked my hand, now threatened to lunge at me. I dared not attempt to pet him. He was terrified.
Upon arriving home, I immediately called the former owner's pager number. Less than five minutes later he called me back. I told him what happened and about his surviving dog. "If you want this dog to live, you need to get to the shelter and reclaim him immediately! He is not going into adoptions."
The man started screaming hysterically on the phone. "THEY KILLED MY DOG??!!"
I tried to explain that his sweet, loving dogs had become fearful and stressed in the shelter. There was no way the shelter could have placed them, but the man was no longer listening to me.
The next day the Director of the Shelter called to admonish me for giving the man the information. "The man caused a scene in the shelter! We had to return the dog to him. We cannot have this kind of chaos!" I told him he should be happy that his shelter had one less dog to kill.
This true event happened several years ago. Since then I have witnessed hundreds of formerly loved and loving pets suddenly undergo drastic personality changes when subjected to the stresses, depression and fears associated with abandonment and being thrust into unfamiliar and frightening surroundings. Sadly, most of these pets die.
The lesson to be learned is that the acquisition of animals is a responsibility. When one's bond to a pet is broken for whatever reason, too often, there is no one else to "pick up the pieces" of that broken commitment. Shelters and rescue groups are not the "solution." We are merely a stopgap for SOME animals. But, quite literally millions fall through the cracks. The real solution is in human responsibility:YOU ARE YOUR ANIMALS' "LOVING HOME."
Copyright © All Paws Rescue, Inc. 2002