I have been reading such disturbing news stories this week……
- the ninety year old woman killed in her home by a rescued dog the day it was adopted
- the emotional service dog who mauled an airline passenger in the next seat
Let me begin this blog by saying…….
I love all dogs; the breed outside in no way determines the heart inside. I have written this in books and told people countless times, but what follows will still be misinterpreted.
When you bring a rescued dog into your life, you have to do so with intelligence as well as emotion. Over the years, I have made a few mistakes, hoping that each one could be “saved” with love. But each one cannot be saved. Some are so tortured and abused and scarred that they cannot be saved, and in the end, perhaps if you are lucky, only your home will be damaged, if you are not so lucky………your child, or you.
I adopted a mixed German Shepherd from a rescue many years ago. The dog loved my children, loved my husband, but hated me. She would curl her lips as she “slept” as I walked past. I kept hoping, even after she bit my hand, I kept hoping. That was a mistake, and thankfully, our knowledgeable vet convinced me so. Sorry to disappoint my children, we returned the dog to the rescue. The next adopter wasn’t so lucky; her cat paid the price………….Some time afterwards, that rescuer confided to us that this dog had been abused by his previous owner, a woman whose appearance was much similar to mine…….Would we have adopted this dog had we been privy to this information…..I don’t know……but we should have been informed.
I have rescued enough dogs to know what you are told is “not always the whole picture” but the nicely colored in areas. The messier parts, the blurry lines, the zig zag lines are often lost in the picture. It is here where your brain, not your heart has to focus…….If you see any troubling sign, don’t hope it will go away. Ask the advice of your vet when you take the new dog in for examination……my shepherd went to snap at him when he tried to examine her ears……Be especially vigilant if you have small children. Never leave a newly rescued dog in the room or in the yard alone with them; it takes a second to ruin a lifetime.
Recently, my own brother was attacked while walking his daughter’s little dog by a pit bull who had escaped from his home down the block. My brother was knocked to the pavement and suffered stitches to his head. It happened to be a pit bull, but ANY breed can be aggressive. The one distinction however, is size and power. If you adopt a yorkie from the shelter and need to stop an attack, it is possible………Not so much so, with a large and powerful breed. I have witnessed a dog attack; I know the speed, the horror, how quickly death occurs. By the grace of God, the pit bull ran off when my brother fell; if he had not, my brother might not be here as I write this.
I wish this world could save them all. I wish all wrongs could be made right again, how the hurts inflicted from people could all vanish with a warm bed and loving home. I wish all people sharing homes with animals did so with responsibility and compassion. There are so many that have suffered who still look to us with trust and love. I don’t write these words to discourage any adopter from hoping, just color that page of hope with intelligence and reality as well. Don’t walk past a dog in a shelter simply because of what follows the word Breed on his or her cage. Don’t walk past a dog simply because the word black is written in his description. Sadly, most black dogs get adopted last or not at all…….
Until the world becomes a happy ending fairy tale, I will keep saying and writing these words. Much more can be read in my book………..