You might remember the two dogs you dumped at the TC Jester Dog Park on April 9 — you remember, the two little scared five month-old puppies you dropped off under the cover of darkness and fled. Oh, you don’t? Well I do. You don’t know me, but I’m the innocent bystander who picked up your dumped dogs. And you can refer to them as Missy and Mr. Big from now on. And you can thank me later, too.
So many people were concerned for your puppies at the dog park that day because they had been there for hours and hours. Missy and Mr. Big were so well-behaved and sat quietly minding their own business, probably waiting for you to come back and pick them up. Eventually, everyone figured out they’d been dumped and word spread like wildfire. “More dumped dogs here”, said one person. “What is wrong with people?” said another. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with people: they aren’t big enough to take responsibility for their issues and want everyone else to take care of their problems for them. BARC was eventually called. But since BARC is busy chasing down the other 1.2M stray dogs in Houston, they hadn’t yet shown up to pick up Missy and Mr. Big. So when it was 6 p.m. and they were still there, I did what any compassionate person with integrity who cares about the city in which they live would do: I picked them up.
What else did I do? I took the blue harness off Mr. Big because it was so small that it was cutting into his skin. I coordinated with my rescue group to get them their first set of shots. Any clue why this is important? Let me tell you! It’s so they wouldn’t catch the highly contagious Parvo disease that basically attacks a puppy’s intestinal tract and kills 91% of its victims. Or Distemper, a viral disease that shuts down their central nervous system — like their brain. Or one of the scores of other diseases non-vaccinated dogs catch and from which they die every single day. But I digress. I got your dogs a flea bomb to kill the fleas that infested their fur. I got your dogs a de-worming pill to kill the worms that were already forming around their heart. I had their ridiculously long nails trimmed. I fed sparingly for a day or so to combat the gas and distended bellies they got from the mounds of cheap dog food you left for them at the dog park. You probably thought you were doing them a huge favor by tossing a bag full of dog food over the fence for them, but what you really did was nearly kill them. What you obviously don’t know — and probably don’t care to know — is that puppies will eat until they are sick, so Missy has you to thank for that unpleasantness.
I took your dogs into my home. I gave Missy and Mr. Big a soft place to land; fresh water; a safe fenced yard to play in; and plenty of rawhides to assuage their instincts to chew. I introduced your dogs to my dog and cat; they became fast friends with my dog and were cautiously interested in my cat. I cleaned up after your dogs when they pooped and peed on my wood floors. I spoke softly to them when they became anxious and cried. I bought them good quality puppy food to get them the nutrients they need. I put proper-fitting collars on them and got them a tag so, on the off-chance they got out, they wouldn’t randomly be running the streets of Houston. I got up in the middle of the night to let Missy and Mr. Big out since they are, after all, only puppies. I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep for the last 13 days. All because of you. That said, though, you should know this: while Missy and Mr. Big were with me, they had a grand time. They got to go on long walks along the bayou. They got to lie on their backs spread eagle in the blaring sun with cool breezes hitting their tummies. They got to go for car rides with the sunroof open. They chased squirrels in their dreams as they laid tucked together on the cozy bed I gave them. Missy and Mr. Big got belly rubs and head scratches and lots of love every minute they were with me. It’s likely they had the best 13 days of their very short lives.
Could I have left the dog park and forgotten all about your dogs? Sure. There were 50 people there that day who wanted to help but didn’t. Maybe they didn’t have space for two more dogs. Maybe they didn’t have time to train them. Maybe they just didn’t care. Who knows. But you know what? It should never have been their decision to make in the first place. You knew exactly what you were doing when you dropped off Missy and Mr. Big — you chose to take the chicken way out of whatever rat-bastard situation you thought you were in and clearly did not have balls big enough to take responsibility for your own animals; rather, you forced your burden onto everyone else. And that, by definition, makes you nothing but a coward.
I imagine you came up with every excuse in the book as to why you couldn’t keep your dogs. And why you “did the right thing” by dumping them at the dog park. Maybe it was money. Maybe your kid was “allergic”. Maybe you don’t have a job. Well guess what — neither do I. I was laid off from my job after 9 1/2 years. In the 17 years since I graduated from university, I’ve gotten up every day and worked. I take responsibility for my mortgage. And my car note. And my insurance. And all of my other personal and financial obligations. And now that I don’t have a job anymore, I have to worry about taking care of all of those things, plus my own pets. But you know what I would never do? I would never dump my dog and cat at a dog park (or anywhere else for that matter). I’d try to re-home them with friends or family. I’d put them on Facebook and ask people to share. I’d try to find a rescue group who would take them. I’d look high and low for a safe place for them but, come hell or high water, I would never, ever dump them. I love my city too much to do that and I sure as hell love my animals too much to do that. If all else failed, I would probably have taken them to the Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) or SPCA — at least there they would have had a chance at being adopted into a nice family rather than left to fend for themselves running the streets of Houston, potentially getting pregnant or hit by cars or, worse, tortured by some idiot off his meds and looking for a good time.
So after 13 days of keeping your dogs, I made the decision that you were too afraid to make on April 9 — I surrendered them to CAP. Ironically, what I did was considered an “owner surrender” because I had had them longer than seven days. Irony indeed. I had to pay $30 to surrender your dogs. And I paid an extra $100 in hopes that they might get an extra bone each day or an extra walk each night, mostly to make up for the really crappy thing you did to them.
Let me say this: it was heart-crushingly sad to leave Missy and Mr. Big at CAP. There are great people there, but because of people just like you who don’t take heir responsibilities seriously, they have to euthanize when they have too many un-adoptable dogs. And it’s not like you get a daily report card of what happened to who. Marching those sweet dogs to their potential death sentence was overwhelming for me. I sobbed. I yelled. I cried giant alligator tears. I am an animal-lover, yes. But that I had to do YOUR dirty work today by taking YOUR dogs to CAP infuriated me.
I like to think I know more than I do, but I do know this: what goes around comes around. I firmly believe in that little lady called karma. And when that time comes for you, I hope you’ll think back about what you did on April 9. If I had to guess, I’d say you probably don’t care. You probably hit your wife and are an absentee-parent. And your kids will probably be just like you because dumping dogs — and not being responsible for the hand they’re dealt — is what they’ve learned. Such a great way to teach your son to become a man, no? Two weeks ago, they learned that their mother or father are nothing but weak cowards. In the meantime, I’ll be praying that Missy and Mr. Big find their way out of CAP and into a home who cares for them like I did. And if they don’t, they’ll be killed and go to doggie heaven simply for the criminal offense of being “your dog”. I may have had to do your dirty work today but, as I see it, I’m still the winner. I did what I did to give Missy and Mr. Big a chance at living, and all you did was give them a chance at dying.
* A special thank you to K-9 Angels Rescue who stepped up and gave Missy and Mr. Big their first set of shots, de-worming pill and flea treatment. Y’all rock!