Saturday, June 30, 2012

MY HEART HURTS

As I typed this post, I have the doubt in the back of my mind that I will even publish it.
But I feel the need to write it out.
Maybe it will be cathartic for me, to put these thoughts into words. My heart hurts and I am at a loss to comprehend and understand some people. I have the belief, that obviously is not shared by everyone, that you can't treat others badly without that circling around and coming back to get you. And it's not even that really. It's so much more than that. It's not just the fear of it coming back to you, it's your heart knowing that it's wrong and just being part of who you are that won't allow you to do it because you could not live with yourself. That you be would be forever tormented and your heart broken beyond repair.
There are decisions that I have made in my life that haunt me and while I realize they were necessary, they still hurt my heart. One of those decisions is when I finally placed "Ralphie" into a rescue. It took me a long time to get to that point and it was only after he had attacked my dog Vera. Years ago I had to put down my dog Lulu and I still can not write about that. Someday I will but not now.
I also think of Lola, who was so damaged before she came to me, that she was unable to recover. I know that some dogs can't be saved but it was with extreme sadness that I let her go. My only solace was that I knew she was finally at peace.
So what has happened?

Well...
I take care of a lot of dogs. The majority of them are regular clients. Many of the owners are a bit high maintenance and that is fine with me. I prefer that they supply me with lists and detailed instructions. I suppose it's because I too am high maintenance when it comes to my own pets. I know what they like and need and I want them to have it.
So I follow the instructions, no matter how extreme or bizarre, not only because I feel like that's what they have paid me to do but also because if I promise to do something, I will do it. But really, most importantly, it's because I care about the pet. Sadly I have come to realize that sometimes, I am the only one really caring.
Several years ago I took care of 2 of the most beautiful Border Collie's I have ever seen. Their markings were gorgeous and their temperament, perfect. When they had puppies I called my sister right away. She has always wanted a Border Collie, but at the time her plate was full. I toyed with the idea myself but I usually prefer not to adopt someone that is in great demand but rather choose to rescue those that are unwanted.
Not long after that litter found homes, the male was tragically hit by a car.
I continued taking care of the female, following the owners detailed instructions.
I've always said that if I ever got a Border Collie, I'd want one just like her.
Monday her owner came in. She's moving. Someplace they don't allow dogs.
Why would a person move where they couldn't take their dog?
I had just been on the phone myself, making calls to find out just what the animal laws were in different areas, just in case I did ever decide to move. Some areas have strict restrictions and others don't. I would never have my pets but into jeopardy. They are my family. My main concern.
...I just can't take her.
I don't know how she is with little dogs and cats and....I'm just so tormented.
We gave the owner information about Border Collie rescues. I've called my sister and while she does want her, she's decide not to adopt her. She has a big rowdy male dog, an ancient lab and several cats. She's too worried it would rock their boat. I understand.
But I am so sad.

Another dog that I care for, a very chubby Dachshund mix was boarding with me quite often. This roly poly guy had a mom who would call me for updates on how he was doing. She would always laugh very loudly over the phone and tell me to give him hugs and kisses. I would relay stories and she would just exclaim how he was such a sweetheart. But when she would drop him off and pick him up, she never had time to talk about his stay. She would just grab his leash without even greeting him and be on her way. Yet I continued getting these loud exuberant phone calls. She kept extending his stays while saying how much she missed him. I came to realize that she was obviously putting on a grand show for someone as she called me.

This Thursday I got a call from a friend that he had been released to the shelter.
His owner said he barked too much....
I know that my friend called so that if I wanted him, I could go get him.
I just can't. She assured me that he would find a home easily. He was so adorable.
My heart hurt.
What is it with people? Especially people acting like they care SO much. Calling me and leaving me specific instructions. I told my co-workers about him being at the shelter. They all shook their heads in bewilderment and reassured me that he would easily get adopted.

I walked away. My mind went to another little dog.
She's a teeny tiny thing. Her owners bring lots of supplies and make a big show about how much they love and adore her. She's a timid little thing. She sits in the back of her run, on her bed and doesn't move.
Her name is Mellie. Marsh-Mellie.
Mellie
One time she got a little bit of poop stuck to her bottom in the long hair by her tail.
As I washed her off in the sink, I called her Smellie-Mellie.
She pulled back her lips, at first I thought maybe she was showing her teeth but instead I realized she was SMILING.
Now whenever she boards, I call her Smellie-Mellie and she dances around and smiles.
Her owners adore her though. They reassured me of that many times.
Even when she was to be picked up on a Monday and no one showed up.
I didn't even care, I didn't even bother having anyone call them.
But finally on Wednesday I had the receptionist call and see if they were EVER coming.
They showed up in big fanfare, full of apologies.
How did that happen? It's their only pet. It's not like they have to do a head count like I do when everyone comes inside or goes into my laundry room when I get ready to leave the house.
Then there was the time that she had lost so much weight.
The groomer noticed and they said she just wouldn't eat.
They made an appointment to have her checked out.
While they were in the exam room and Doc was in the lab area, I walked up to him and set a can of dog food on the counter in front of him. I said - "Put a TBSP of this in her food bowl and cover it with her dry. She'll eat."
And she did.
So I thought about her after the news of the little chubster being at the shelter.
The thought went through my head - At least it wasn't Mellie.
I know better than to actually verbalize anything. If I don't SAY it, it won't happen. Right?
So, I'm driving home Thursday night. My cell is laying in my coin container and it rings.
I glance down and see it's Work calling me.
I pull over and answer it.
It's one of the receptionists. She tells me that Mellie's owners just called for me.
They have decided to get rid of her.
Would I be interested?

8 comments:

sassypackrat said...

It's so heartbreaking! I just couldn't deal with that. Why do people treat animals this way? I really feel for you seeing and dealing with this all the time. I know it must take a toll on you, you have such a kind and generous heart. I so wish that Mellie finds a loving and happy forever home!

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

OMG!!!!! I know there are people who love their dogs only as long as the dog causes them no trouble. I can't stand that....of course a dog is going to be trouble. It's a living breathing thing...they aren't perfect robots. Perhaps one day people like that will just get robot dogs...ones that don't eat or poop.

I hate to hear about the border collie....the DACHSUND! and now Mellie. Are you going to take her? She is so little. Perhaps one little one won't hurt. She loves you. I know you are full up. And it is not fair that they just expect you to take her...but I bet she expects you to take her.

When I hear stories like this...it makes me think our society has no possible chance of ever getting any better. So many heartless selfish people.

Hell, I'd be tempted to take her and I'm not in to little fu fu dogs...but she seems precious.

Let me know what you do.

Robin Kent said...

You know how this must register with me. I still see the can of dog food in my fridge, my heart drops and I feel like I have the flu. I hope all your little dogs find loving homes and that the people who take them in will be responsible owners who truly care.

barbandemily said...

Oh! I'm glad you shared your heart-sore feelings! It's good to let them out, so you can get on with what needs to be done. And no, I don't know why people pick up and discard pets as if they were fashion accessories - in last year, but not this year. It might help to think that you are just seeing the people who have chosen to give up their pets, while there are many happy pets in many happy homes with owners who make sacrifices to KEEP their beloved animals. :) Barb

An Urban Cottage said...

I can't even begin to understand it.

yoborobo said...

I do not understand some people. I'm sorry you have to deal with them. I am double sorry that these sweet animals are going through this. I wish I could take them all, but I can't. Sending hugs - xox

Tracie said...

I thought I was the only one that felt this way about animals.....I'm so glad to know there's people like you out there that truly care for the fur babies. I do not and will never why people take in an animal then give them up on a whim.....these are commitments for life!!! My heart hurts too......if I could I'd adopt them all.

Holly said...

WOW! I had (HAD) to only skim the article because it breaks my heart! It takes a special person to do what you do...truly!