Today I'm finding it hard to get excited about design and DIY. I'm having one of those moments that is making me question why the world is so horrible and how people can be so cruel to another living being.
Brendon took yesterday off work and we were looking forward to hanging out together and excited to try a new (to us) burger joint. That morning, he had been out walking Abby, one of our 4 dogs, and I was putzing around reading the paper, eating cereal and getting ready for the day ahead.
Suddenly, Brendon burst through the front door with Abby and breathlessly urged me to get some shoes on because "We've got to go somewhere NOW". He quickly explained that he had seen a dog with injured eyes that was tied to a tree near the park. We jumped in my car, Brendon gunning it down the street while I got on the phone and explained the emergency to a Humane Society Rescue Unit operator. The operator assured me they would send a unit out but it would be a while. I let her know we'd be waiting with the dog.
As we parked the car, I could see a small, black and white figure at the base of a tree that was right off the street, across from dozens of homes. Easily within sight of anyone walking or driving by that morning. I approached her slowly and calmly, not knowing if the dog was fearful as injured dogs are (understandably) likely to be when approached by strangers.
"Hey there sweetie - are you ok little one?"
Immediate tail wagging begins and I know she isn't going to bite.
She's a pit bull mixed with who knows what and, despite her sagging nipples, looks to be very young. Her spine is poking out, along with her ribs and hip bones. Her face is sweet and trusting and eager to please.
Brendon is right there with treats and water. She devours the treats and politely laps up some water. Never making a single peep. Not a whine, not a bark, not a growl. Minutes later, Brendon will race to the house and back for a bowl full of real dog food. Our girl makes quick work of that as well and Brendon tells me a story he heard once about when U.S soldiers in WWII gave the only food they had, Hershey bars, to the victims they liberated from concentration camps. The prisoners were so starved that they devoured the chocolate and promptly vomited - their stomachs not able to handle food.
Now that we're with her, I can see her eyes don't look injured but there are all these bumps all around the eyes. Then I notice she has the same type of bumps scattered all over her body and that her cropped ears are literally full of them.
I realize the bumps are ticks.
I pet the top of her head anyway. All I want to do is scoop her up, take her to a vet and undo all the damage some asshole has done to her for god knows how long.
She's tied to the tree with a 3 foot long seat belt. Judging by the ground around her and the tree bark, which are both virtually undisturbed, she hasn't been there very long. Maybe since just that morning. I hope like hell she didn't spend all night like that.
Brendon decides we should untie her from the tree and let her walk on some grass before the rescue unit comes. We walk down to a greenbelt and she trots along at his side, on her seat belt leash, like she knows just how this whole "being someone's beloved pet" thing works. She's obviously been starved for a while but has an unexpected alertness to her surroundings. She looks intently at people and cars that pass by. If she and Brendon get several yards ahead of me, she looks back for me and comes over to where I am. I like to think it was because she already bonded with me and not because I was holding the water dish that she frequently checked, hoping this time it would have more food instead of just water.
We wait for someone to drive by and look quizzically at the tree she was previously tethered to. Second only to our desire to help this poor creature is the desire to identify and punish her "owners".
After about an hour, we flag down the Humane Society Rescue Unit. The driver is a really nice woman, who also talks very sweetly to "Tic Tac" (Brendon's funny/horrible name for her) and gives her a once over.
"She's probably got tick fever." and she explains that the dog is in such bad shape the vet will probably decide to put her down rather than treat.
Hear that all you backyard breeders who think it's no big deal for your dog to have litter after litter? That spaying and neutering isn't really that important because your dog never gets out of your yard? That breeding dogs is a great way to make more money? Wake up. Wake UP.
This sweet dog may not even have the option of treatment because our rescue organizations are so overrun by unwanted dogs and cats. So overrun that they have to destroy healthy, adoptable animals for space.
I ask the woman if there's a phone number and reference number for this dog because we'd like to get the word out about her to our friends. Brendon is convinced she'd be a really great dog once she's healthy. That's when she started talking about her chances of dodging the needle not being so good. That's when I started crying. Right there in the street, in broad daylight. Over a little black and white pit mix I just met.
I think she felt so sorry for me, grown woman falling apart like that, she gave me a card with a reference number. "Now you see what I have to go through every day. People doing this and even worse to these dogs". Yes, I see.
Tic Tac is loaded into an air-conditioned compartment on the truck. The worker reaches in and removes the seat belt. She hands it to us with a look and says "Is this yours?". Thinking that we put it on her to keep her from running away.
I tell her that isn't ours - it's what she was tied to the tree with when we found her.
We give a final, tearful wave to Tic Tac, who is now curled up and shaking in her cage. The truck pulls away and we drive home. Stunned and heartbroken.
At home I pet my four crazy mutts and try to be happy with the strays we've been able to take into our home. I tell myself we did the right thing. Four dogs is a lot and we honestly couldn't handle one more I say. We gave her food and a walk and lots of love in the hour we knew Tic Tac. We did the best we could. When others looked away and did nothing, Brendon ran all the way home in a panic to get her some help. We stayed with her and loved on her and showed her that not all people are going to hurt or neglect her.
After crying myself sick last night, I got up the nerve to call the Humane Society this morning. She is still alive and being transferred to the Maricopa County Animal Control today. Animal ID# A374343.
I don't know how long she will have there or what treatment she will receive. But as of today, she still has hope.
I hope she gets the chance to show someone what a great dog she can be. I hope she gets the chance to prove Brendon right.
I hope some human being out there can restore a little bit of my faith in humanity. Right now, I'm having a hard time remembering what's so great about us anyway.