So you’ve seen those great-looking men in television commercials and think a dog would be an unbeatable accessory, a chick magnet?
Or your little one has been reading his favorite dog book and knows a dog is an absolute must if he is ever to be happy. So day after day he begs, “Puppy, Daddy. Me want puppy. Please, Daddy.”
First, you scan the ads in your local newspaper and make a few calls. Next, you go to a pet store and may be overwhelmed by the price tags. An ex-boyfriend bought one of my students at Edison State a Golden Retriever last year — $4,500. The relationship ended; the girl got to keep the dog. And it’s been a good marriage.
Perhaps your third inquiry should be at your local animal shelter where dog owners have dumped their dogs with excuses I’ll bet you could list:
• Can’t afford to feed it;
• Unable to take care of it, just don’t have time;
• Tore my house to pieces while I was at work;
• New baby in the house;
• Allergic reaction to the dog;
• Doesn’t respond to attempts to train;
• Moved and landlord won’t allow dogs;
• Take frequent trips and no one to watch the dog.
One of my friends has rescued 14 dogs: small and large, sighted and blind ,young and old. She knows these discarded, thrown-to-the-side-of-the-road dogs deserve better. Most think she is of an age to retire, but she says, “I’ve got to work. I’ve got my dogs, must feed them, care for them.” Her loads of meat scraps and chickens in her grocery carts cause some to stare and whisper. She’s a slight and pretty woman, so they must think she has a hungry man at home. Perhaps she’s living with that 400-pound man to whom President Trump referred when he hypothesized about who the hacker might be.
When you see the ASPCA commercials popping up of dogs trembling, frightened, abandoned, don’t press the mute button or leave the room.
Consider going to the animal shelters in your area and explore until you find a pooch that works for your family.
I’ve always loved stories, and I’d like to tell you a happy one and then a sad one.
Marcia Doncaster is director of the Miami County Animal Shelter. She reports that “Three or four years ago, a deputy sheriff was checking on a homeless man living under a bridge. Shortly after she arrived, a car drove up and a man threw five puppies off the bridge. The deputy sheriff had to make a decision: chase the villain or rescue the pups. She opted to save the Lab-mix pups (about eight to 10 weeks old), although she did get a glimpse of the vehicle and the direction the driver headed. One pup had a slightly injured leg and was taken to a veterinarian.
“The local paper reported on this heinous act, and the deputy sheriff tracked down the pup would-be murderer who paid a small fine. The man’s girlfriend had given him money to take the pups to the shelter and he dumped then in the river and kept the money.
“All the pups were adopted by personnel at the sheriff’s department except one. He was adopted by an employee at the vet’s office.”
My second story was told me by Duncan Caldwell, director of the Harlan County Animal Shelter in Harlan, Kentucky. Caldwell reports that, ”We got a call about a dog that was being mistreated, chained out in the snow and rain and starving to death. When we got there, the dog was gone. That dirt bag had thrown the animal, a pit bull, into the creek. We fished it out and took it to the veterinarian because we suspected criminal abuse. The vet said there was absolutely no body fat and the intestinal track was empty, ulcerated with the dog consuming its own body.
“We prosecuted and the owner got two year’s probation. When he broke that probation, he went to the pen for two years.”
Two stories: five pups escape death and go to loving homes. One dog experiences a painful death, starved, chained in the cold and then at death thrown in a creek.
In conclusion, don’t be in a hurry and find a pooch that connects with you and your family. Get the advice and training you’ll need. Give that dog a forever home. You will be blessed.
Miami County Shelter has a wish list on its website if you’d like to help: www.co.miami.oh.us/shelter
Donations to the Harlan Shelter can be made at HCFOs.org.
Dr. Blevins has taught undergraduate and graduate students as well as prison inmates, and now teaches communication and American literature classes at Edison State Community College. Reach her at (937) 778-3815 or email@example.com.