EDITION OF FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018 (PetPowell Press) -- There is a reason you see the second photograph -- the picture of Deputy Chief Kittie Leigh Johnson glued to my chest. More like “clawed” to my chest.
The reason is this photograph of Junior -- one picture may not tell the whole story but it sure as heck hints at an ugly chapter in a dog's life.
At readlarry powell.com we see a number of photos of dogs and cats a day -- most are perfectly fine -- animals waiting for rescue or adoption. Some animals in these photos are not fine. They show evidence of despair.
For some reason on this particular Thursday, when I opened the note about Junior, the Shar-Pei/Shepherd/Pit mix, I saw his "starving dog photograph" and it brought me to a halt.
It was a “What the heck-Why?” moment. I also saw this mugshot of Junior -- it is enchanting. Honestly, what a great face on a dog -- better than mine when it comes to being a face to study and adore.
Meanwhile, as I pondered those photos, I was In need of some emotional comfort, so I reached over to the “cat table” next to my desk and picked up Kittie Leigh, a former front-porch feral kitten who has never been hungry a moment in her life. I held her and petted her and she was purring and nearly asleep until the City of Dallas trash truck rolled up at the end of the driveway and began making all that “collecting” noise. She let me hold her for another minute or so, then, having ministered to me, she jumped to the floor, took three fluid steps and sprang to the window to see what was -- wait, wrong season. She likes to watch the world. Maybe she’s considering ways to get to that loud Mockingbird -- a fixture of our springs for as long as I can remember. Loud. Penetratingly loud. Can’t be the same bird singing each of the three decades I’ve lived here, but he has to be a relative!
We have that bird and that cat and our other critters --- all living normal, well-fed lives. And then there arrives the photographs of this dog Junior, waiting for rescuer or a home in the Mesquite Animal Shelter. And I think, “Why in the world did this happen to this dog?”
The sweeping but steady answer to that question is this: HUMAN FAILURE. The solution to the situation? Human hearts. They’ll save Junior -- and any other animal in any shelter anywhere in the world.
The note from the Mesquite volunteer tipster Judi Brown explained that Junior had an owner who “found it necessary to re-home him, and Junior didn’t fair well in this second home! He came into the shelter dangerously thin ... bowlegged with a wonky walk probably due to loss of muscle mass.”
He’s “fixed” already and friendly with people and loves to “play ball.” You see that in Junior's third photograph.
In addition to health issues, he “has a lot of nervous energy....a deep bark and barks for no obvious reason. He also fixates on chasing his tail. He will be a work in progress....need an understanding adopter.” Junior is #38458697 in the Mesquite shelter. To ask about him or any other dog there, call 972-216-6283 or email email@example.com.
I'm about to insert photos of three dogs in order -- and you can read about in a few paragraphs.
[LARRY ASIDE: I’ve rescued starving dogs before. Peaches, who I thought would die on the ride to the vet but survived to be a part of a prison program and was adopted by a guard. Our own Hambone Jack, the Canine King of the Blues, a Great Dane/Lab mix so malnourished that his wonderful black hair was turning brown and brittle and dying. There are more. But for some reason, Junior got to me on Thursday, the 10th of June in 2018. I’ll never meet this dog, but maybe I’ve written him into someone’s heart. Maybe the photos and the bio Judi sent will accomplish that. But, it was that “starving” photo -- the 8th and final picture of the batch Judi sent -- that stopped me in my tracks and made me grab for a Comfort Cat. Yeah, I’ve seen worse, but I haven’t seen worse this morning as I write this. The thing is, while Junior has these health issues complicating his stay in a taxpayer-supported kill-shelter, these other dogs are healthier but still on the brink of death. Dogs and cats don’t know what’s ahead of them in these shelters. They think it’s all good. It isn’t. But it can be if humans will step up and save them. It can be all good, too, if the humans who have dogs and cats at their homes will be responsible -- as they said they’d be the day they took in a dog or cat. But that is a problem that is not easily solved. I’ve been writing about animals and neglect and cruelty issues since the 1960s -- the only things that have changed are we have more rescue groups and more ways to save an animal. We don’t have fewer jerks and fiends.]
So, in this Junior story, I've included three more at Mesquite who are just as vulnerable as Junior, but facing a quicker clock:
Bubbles (38473428) weighs 50 pounds, is “a real sweetheart” has floppy ears and recently had a litter. “She’s a perky girl who likes to play fetch. She returns the ball -- most of the time.”
The obvious Earhound Baby Doll (38494720) is 2, weighs 51 pounds and is “fixed.” Her bio reads, “She was a returned adoption because the owners had too many animals. Her stand up ears make her a stand out! She appears to be a happy girl who wags her tail and wiggles all over when interacting with people....She whines for attention. If you sit down, she comes to you.” [LARRY ASIDE: QUICK! Someone go to the Mesquite shelter and sit down! She needs a lap!]
And Blue (38479880) is a “rescue only” Staffie “built like a tank” at Mesquite. He’s 70 pounds and has, sadly, mortally harmed a smaller dog who surprised him. He’s a tough sell. Still, Judi wrote that he is “friendly and affectionate” toward humans and “The minute I sat down, he tried to crawl onto my lap.” Here’s the challenge. Blue “becomes available on the 12th and will need to be tagged by Sunday the 13th.” Or else. [LARRY ASIDE: Geez, what a fix for a dog. What a fix for humans -- how do we explain all of this and how do we live with the euthanasia rates in our municipal and county shelters? It’s a burden on the heart, dear rescuers and advocates, a burden on the heart.]
REJECTED IN RED OAK
We keep preaching the gospel of saving animals in smaller shelters. As we mentioned earlier in the week, there are cruelty case dogs being unclaimed as the needle is readied in Red Oak. (Batman, for example.) But there is also this hard luck story.
On the upper left that's Lokie, a Shepherd mix who was found as a stray -- either he had his own key to the backyard lock or the yard wasn’t secure enough for an adventurous dog. Whatever happened, he was a stray who landed in the Red Oak shelter. Yes, his humans were notified, but, according to the note from small shelter supporter Laura Macias, “His family didn’t want him back so he is in the shelter and feeling sad.” For any animal in Red Oak or Wilmer, Laura is the contact point: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 214-949-2726.
STILL WAITING IN DENTON:
PANDI, THE BIG OL’ DAWG
(UPDATE FRIDAY MORNING -- Pandi was adopted as the Denton shelter was closing Friday! There are plenty of dogs left at Denton! Cats, too! Congrats to Pandi!)
Well, Pandi is a Cane Corso/Mastiff Mix -- did anybody expect her to weigh in with the toy poodles? She weighs 90 pounds and was surrendered when her human discovered that Pandi exceeded the weight limit at the new apartment.
Thus, Pandi is on the clock at the Denton McNatt Animal Shelter, our tipster Amy Poskey notes. She also says, “It seems as though our Pandi is dog-friendly after all and was just scared and stressed.”
She’s uneasy around big dogs in her face, the shelter folks say. With a calm, smaller dog, she’s just interested in playing -- see the VIDEO HERE and listen to the commentary. Animal fan Kim Gafney, a veteran rescuer, told Amy that Pandi “lacks social skills but was initiating play in a dysfunctional sort of way. She’s workable with an experienced person. Sweet, sweet dog.” Your contacts to save Pandi’s life are email@example.com and, at the shelter, firstname.lastname@example.org, paul.o’email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or email@example.com. Call 940-349-7594.
THE WEEKEND'S EVENTS
This isn't a comprehensive list, but it is a list. Yep, it's a list. Why? Because this is a big weekend for animal folks -- SPCA has Strut Your Mutt (The Race To End Cruelty) Saturday at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge downtown. ... The great East Lake Pet Orphanage hosts Wine on the Roof and honors Dog About Town Columnist Tatia Woldt of The Big Paper Downtown Saturday evening. That’s B.K. as a Blues Brother for the fashion parade at Wine on the Roof. Cracks me up. ... Paws In The City’s latest email had this subject line: “Rescue High, Rebuilding Lives & Peanut Butter Treats.” I think I could rebuild my life with peanut butter treats. Anyway, it turns out Rescue High is shorthand for Rescue High Yearbook, a project by Shagly Photography focusing on rescue groups in the area. Paws In The City’s day is Saturday if you'd like to join in. You can see the details of this Shagly project at https://shagly.com/rescuehigh/ -- “One photographer, 12 months, 17 cities, 31+ animal welfare groups...” That’s part of the summary. ... Lots more animal events over the weekend -- adoptions, for example. And the Society for Companion Animals has crate-assembly day on Saturday. Details on Facebook HERE. The crates are for animals being flown to other parts of the country so they can find homes -- they’re not finding ‘em around here!
A couple of weeks ago we ran across this note by animal advocate Amy Mathews on Facebook. “Taking my own informal survey,” she explained. “If you know someone has barky dogs, do you knock on the door or ring that person's doorbell (even when you know they are expecting you)? Am I the only only one who texts that I have arrived?” Interesting question. Our dogs bark at the arrival of a strong breeze, the letter-carrier, the trash truck, the neighborhood newsletter delivery, the quiet steps of a feral cat, etc. But it makes sense to politely text before you arrive -- so the household’s dog or dogs continue to sleep rather than going nuts! Not that our dogs go nuts. Hah. But that is Porche who knows the difference between the bill-bringing letter-carrier and the garbage truck. Different barks. ... Anybody else having AOL email problems on their cellphones, Kindles or iPads? Three devices I rely on have become sporadic with mail delivery/sending. Any solutions to defeating the “cannot send mail” and “your password/sign-in are wrong” messages? I suspect this is the result of someone somewhere on the internet “improving” the system. ... At least our air-conditioning system is working flawlessly, pefectly, wonderfully now! (Thank you, G.A.S. Air Conditioning Service!) As I was writing this edition, the household AC was working so well I just hated to turn it off, so I got the hoodie and pretended it was February. And I felt darned good about it.
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