Tag Archives: animal abuse

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Four

22 May

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The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Four: The other inmates

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Previously:

BAD DOG!

And I awoke, startled, hungry and afraid. It was night, and I stood on wobbly legs and slowly stepped out into the yard.

The moon was waning — yet bright enough in the sky to illumine the tall oaks that bordered the compound. I lay down in the cooling dirt and shook my head to clear the cobwebs. The conversation resurfaced slowly.

Euthanasia?

Thirty days?

What day was it?

_____________________

 

 

I remember lying on the livingroom floor and watching “The Shawshank Redemption” while Mister Master droned out on the couch, snoring loudly and letting a Budweiser slip from his hand. The beer poured out onto the wood floor, and when he awoke, I was blamed for the spill, naturally.

Anyway, the movie came back to me in the animal shelter, when I realized that at the end of thirty days, whatever euthanasia was, it was going to happen to me.

My cellmates explained to me that there were only two doors to the compound. The door I had come through days earlier, that led into the front waiting area of the shelter, and the door at the end of the hallway.

That door, my mates told me, was where dogs went and never returned.

Of course, I proposed immediately that perhaps those dogs were adopted, and that there was a loading area where the adopters drove to get their new family members.

The only response I got from that idea were low-slung looks and knowing slow shakes of the head.

The chihuahua in the next cage over clucked and said I was full of rice and beans, and that everyone knew what happened when a dog was taken through the door at the end of the hall. They just didn’t know how it happened.

My new friends filled me in quickly on the dos and the don’ts of the compound. How leg-lifting on the gates was frowned upon; how loud and incessant barking wasn’t the smartest thing to do; how any kind of snarling or gnashing of teeth marked you as a bad dog — which was the quickest way to get a one-way ticket through the door.

Mangum, a slow, fat southern bloodhound, had been there the longest. He had seen dogs adopted, and dogs by-passed by the excited misters and misses and little misters that crowded together at the various doors of the cages.

You don’t want to lung up on the cage doors. That’ll excite the misters and misses, who  will fear their little pups will be bitten or scratched by you.

What do you do? I asked.

Well, you smile — as best you can. And it helps to look real sad-eyed. That gets a lot of response from the misses. And wag your tail, too. Oh — make eye contact. Be sure to do that. If you continually look away, they think you’ve got something to hide.

Mangum was probably not going to get adopted, and had resolved himself to that fact. His mister, whom he had lived with and hunted with for years, had died when the old house they lived in burned down. Mangum made a valiant attempt to save him, but the dead man’s weight was too much for the aged Mangum to drag. Firefighters found Mangum, unconscious but alive, laying near his master’s side.

I’m too old to be adopted, he wheezed. And I guess I’ve had about the best life a dog could wish for.

It made me sad to think of Mangum going through that door. He deserved better. So did we all. Except maybe Damien. But even Damien was a victim of circumstance.

Damien was a muscular Doberman. Black with brown and white markings — he exuded warrior. He had the battle scars to prove it: one ear was half bitten off, and his back leg was horribly mangled.

Damien was a gladiator. He fought other dogs. As he puts it, he was a fighter the minute his foot hit the ground, and all of his training prepared him for the pit.

I ain’t good for nuthin’ else, he growled.

He broke all of Mangum’s suggestions. He leaped viciously at his door when adopters came through. He barked and slathered (he said that slathering was a particularly intimidating tactic in the pit, because the other dog thought you were crazy) for hours on end.

The mister and the little misters carefully slid Damien’s food and water through a small opening in his cage just big enough for the bowls. They never came in to clean his cage because he would charge in from his yard before they could close the door to the yard. So they hosed his area out with him standing there like a demon dog.

That’s what they called him, too.

Only one adopter expressed interest in Damien, but the rumor came back that the adopter was also involved in dog fighting.

Damien had been “rescued” when the sheriff’s department raided the pit he was fighting in.

He told us it was a shame he wouldn’t be going out fighting.

Muffy was a dainty Shitzu — which she pronounced “she-zoo,” and the rest of us said “shit-zoo.” Many a howl over Muffy. Her story was that one day she wandered away from her yard, and a mister drove up in a van and took her.

He ripped off all of her identification, and drove forever away from her home. She thought he was going to try to sell her, but she managed to get away when he stopped for gas and left the passenger side window down.

She took the chance and leaped out, running through four lanes of traffic to escape.

Someone found her days later, and brought her to the animal shelter.

Of us all, Muffy was the most refined and queenly in her deportment. But we put up with her anyway.

At the front end of the hallway, against the wall, were the cages for small animals other than dogs. A thick-furred manx, who claimed to be two generations removed from being a bobcat, hissed from her enclosure. Like Damien, the manx was reclusive and spiteful. Plus, she was a cat.

In case you didn’t know, I hate cats. I had a bad experience with a feral cat when I was a puppy, and there is no love lost where I’m concerned. There are not enough dogs, and too many cats in the world. I’m sorry — that’s just how I feel. Live with it.

Clarence was a possum (Oh-possum, he would say) and was just plain stupid. His tail was broken when he tried to cross the road at about the pace of a slug, I’d say. And at night! A car loomed out of the dark, and Clarence was mesmerized by the headlights.

He told us he thought they were twin meteors coming out of space . . . what a dip! But the idiot had the dumb luck of being an animal the mister would nurse back to health and turn over to a local zoo. He was not going down the long hall and through the euthanasia door.

Imagine that.

And there were others in the compound — mostly whom I never got to know. Newbies came in about every other day.

Oh, the mister came through and took pictures of all of us with a Polaroid camera, and taped the picture to a piece of white cardboard on which he wrote about us. He also put numbers one through thirty on the bottom in a line, and crossed them off, one by one, for each day we stayed. That card was fastened to the front of each cage.

When he brought in potential adopters, he would go over each animal’s history. If lucky, and adopted, the adopters took the photo and the card with them.

If not adopted, and all thirty numbers got crossed off, the mister would pin the picture and bio to a cork board fastened next to the door at the end of the hallway. It was a large cork board, and there were a lot of photos and bios pinned to it.

The saddest day in the compound was when the mister entered and walked slowly down to Mangum’s cage. It was no surprise to Mangum — he knew the day was coming. The day before he asked the dog in the cage opposite his what numbers were still left on his card that weren’t crossed off.

None, came the reply.

The mister was extremely sad, and he walked to Mangum’s cage with his head bowed. Mangum sat ready on the other side of the door, also with bowed head.

The mister didn’t even leash Mangum, but opened the cage door, and out Mangum stepped. Then the two slowly walked to the door at the end of the hall, Mangum’s picture and bio in the mister’s hand.

The two went through the door, and about an hour later, the mister emerged without our friend. The mister’s face was streaked with tears, and he turned and pinned Mangum’s picture and bio on the cork board, then quickly walked out of the compound and through the front door, letting it close by itself.

Hey, I said to the dog in the cage across the aisle from mine. What numbers are still left on my card that haven’t been crossed off?

He squinted and looked, then lowered his head and said something.

What? I can’t hear you, I said.

Six. Six days have not been marked off.

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Three

22 May

 

 

 

The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Three: The Hoosegow

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Previously:

I moved in quickly, but stealthily, wary of any other animal, or that some kind of trap had been set.

Nobody and no thing. Just slices and slices of bacon stacked up high.

Oh! I dove in with unabandonment. And the taste! The aromas! The crunch of the pan-fried meat! I was inundated in ecstasy — euphoric — totally out of my mind with bliss!

As I wolfed huge bites of bacon down, at the corner of one eye I spied the mister approaching slowly, carefully from around the building with that rod with the wire loop at the end of it.

And you know what?

I did not care one iota.

____________________________

While bacon is indeed an incredible culinary experience, it is not without its consequences. The first being the euphoric state of mind that renders you incapable of normal reactions.

So when the mister slipped the wire loop over my head, I did not budge from engorging myself on the diminished pile of bacon strips.

And when he slowly tightened the noose, I was not distracted from licking the morsels and bacon grease from the metal bowl.

And when he gently tugged me away and into the animal shelter, I followed willingly. Maybe a growl and a snarly look at the first tug. But because the bacon was all gone, there really was nothing for us to fight over.

We walked into the waiting area and around the counter to a second door in the back of the room. That door led to the animal compound.

The compound was a long room situated perpendicular to the front of the building. A concrete aisle ran down the center of the room, and on either side were caged spaces with doors — five to a side. Nearly all the spaces were occupied by a dog, and all were barking their little heads off when the mister and I entered.

We walked down the aisle and stopped midway at the door of an empty cage. The mister opened the cage and walked in with me, then crouched down carefully.

There, there, little buddy. This is your new home for a while. And these are your companions.

I sat and wagged my tail a bit to show the mister I wasn’t going to be a threat. He slowly reached his big hand out, which I sniffed, then licked. There was bacon smell and taste on his hands.

Here’s some water, and here’s the bowl where you’ll be fed — once the bacon works through.

That’s the other thing about bacon — and dogs. It’s a consequence of eating bacon at all — but especially of eating a whole bowlful in the matter of a few minutes. If you understand what I’m saying.

So, for the next day and a half, my stomach and my bowels gave me  and the mister  a fit. But he was understanding, and happy to have his little misters clean both my cage and me following the aftermath.

My cage was a cubicle — not too small, but definitely a downsizing from the space I was used to. It was simple. Concrete wall at the back with a rectangular space left open that led to a small fenced-in yard where I could go if I chose.

The cages were also separated by cinderblock walls that went up a few feet — high enough to keep animals in adjoining cages from physical touch.

The floor of the cubicle was concrete, and cool to my underbelly when I stretched out on my belly or side. There were a lot of flies.

Paddle fans suspended from the ceiling along the aisle moved the air about, and kept a wafting breeze that would tickle the hairs on my nose, causing me to sneeze abruptly from time-to-time.

Inside the compound were the mixtures of smells: the other dogs, the wall of small cages where small animals were kept. Like cats. Yuck. And the smell of PineSol and other cleansers.

My yard was mostly dirt, with a walked out trench along the fenced closures. Some grass and dandelions grew along where the fence touched the ground. There was a line of trees a few feet behind the yards that threw late day shade over the yards on that side of the aisle. I was lucky that mine was on the west side, and didn’t get the harsh splash and heat from the morning sun.

For those first days I recuperated from my orgiastic meal. I wasn’t too aware of my surroundings so much, and not at all of my fellow companions. I only vaguely sensed them as I went in and out of nausea — hearing them talk, like dull background clatter, or getting a brief whiff from time-to-time.

Why I was where I was had faded to a dim memory, which I dipped into from time to time during my dreams.

Mister Master. His large, angry face grown incredibly large — spewing curses and harrumping his fat body like an irate gorilla.

The kicks and the lashes and the hours on end chained to the elm tree in the back yard.

The dry, rusty water bowl, neglected for days.

My own feces, piling up in the small grassy lawn — which was always tall and unkept. Flies swirling in packs, alighting on my head and ears.

Bzzzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzz.

The echoing conversation between Mister Master and the mister of the animal shelter.

Thirty days.

Euthanasia.

The vague sound of the mister, leading other misters and misses down the aisle and back, who looked in on the various animals, asking echoey questions. Stopping at my cage and asking What’s wrong with him?

Thirty days.

Euthanasia. If you don’t want your pet euthanized, better not leave him here.

Nobody will take him. May as well euthanize him now.

It’s the law.

What’s wrong with him?

BAD DOG!

I awoke, startled, hungry and afraid. It was night, and I stood on wobbly legs and slowly stepped out into the yard.

The moon was waning — yet bright enough in the sky to illumine the tall oaks that bordered the compound. I lay down in the cooling dirt and shook my head to clear the cobwebs. The conversation resurfaced slowly.

Euthanasia?

Thirty days?

What day was it?

 

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 22 May, 2014

 

 

Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter One

21 May

 

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Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter One: The Present

by L. Stewart Marsden

BAD DOG!

I heard Mister Master scream as he entered the house. He had found my present in the front hallway, no doubt.

C’MERE, YOU MUTT!

Mister Master did not have a mute button. Everything he said — at least to me — was at full volume. Needless to say, I did not c’mere, but tucked my tail and skulked down the hallway to my hiding place underneath the stairway.

WHERE ARE YOU? COME OUT NOW!

So I scrunched into the tiniest ball I could, and however much I tried, my toenails made a scratching sound on the wood floor. Obedience to Mister Master was not one of my better traits.

I HEAR YOU! YOU CAN’T GET AWAY FROM ME! YOU ARE IN FOR IT THIS TIME!

I never got way from Mister Master. But I always tried. It wasn’t so much I thought he wouldn’t find me, but it delayed the inevitable. At least for a few sorry seconds. It didn’t matter in the long run, and I was always in for it whatever it was.

Mister Master found me and screamed THERE YOU ARE!

He put on one of his heavy work gloves and reached under the space under the stairway and grabbed me by the collar. I scratched deep marks into the floor in my attempt to resist, which only made Mister Master madder.

He fumed as he dragged me back down the hallway to the front door alcove.

DO YOU SEE THAT?

He pointed at my present, neatly piled on the floor a few feet from the door.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT?

I’m not sure why he asks. He wouldn’t understand me if I did explain. And what I had to say was “If you hadn’t left me in the house for ten hours I wouldn’t have left you the present.” But that would only have made him madder.

So he shoved my nose into the present. I can’t begin to explain how awfully disgusting that is! And while he did that he repeated his angry statement:

BAD DOG!

I thought to myself, “Bad Mister Master.”

Then he took me to the back of the house and let me out into the back yard — which, by the way, was fenced in. Why he left me in the house in the first place was beyond me!

I cleaned myself in the unmowed grass and tried not to get sick from the smell. I love to smell things, but not that!

Mister Master stormed out into the back yard after a few minutes. He had the leash.

THAT WAS THE VERY LAST STRAW!

He hooked the leash to my collar, and dragged me to his truck, almost tossing me into the truck bed.

Then he jumped into the cab and slammed the door, and started the engine, revving it loudly. He jerked back down the driveway, tossing me about in the truck bed, slamming my body against the sides and the wheel covers. I was afraid of being tossed out of the back, which was protected by a webbed fabric gate. Not the strongest material where I was concerned.

Then we drove away from the house, reeling about corners, slamming to stops at intersections, and peeling out at green lights.

After a terribly long and frightful ride, Mister Master pulled the truck into a driveway where there was a one-story cinderblock building. A sign at the entrance to the driveway read County Animal Shelter.

He grabbed the leash and nearly tore my head off pulling me out of the truck bed. He dragged me toward the cinderblock building and through the glass front door into a waiting area.

An older, much kinder looking mister sat behind a tall counter, and was reading a magazine. He looked up at Mister Master and me, and seemed to size up the situation pretty quickly.

Problem with your dog?

Amazing! He didn’t shout!

HE’S A DAMN NUISANCE!

A nuisance? That all?

DONE WITH HIM. TIRED OF HIM CHEWING EVERYTHING AND CRAPPING ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Well, that’s generally what puppies do — chew and crap. You didn’t know that when you got him?

IT’S MORE THAN I CAN PUT UP WITH. CAN I LEAVE HIM HERE WITH YOU?

For a fee. We’re not a charity, you know.

HOW MUCH?

Fifty dollars.

FIFTY DOLLARS! DAMN! MAY AS WELL PULL OUT A GUN AND SHOOT ME!

Well, that WAS a thought I’d vote for!

We’ll feed him for thirty days and keep him safe. He’ll be put up for adoption.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THIRTY DAYS?

This is a country animal shelter. If an animal isn’t adopted over that time, we euthanize. So if you don’t want your pet to be euthanized, I wouldn’t leave him here.

GOT NO OTHER PLACE. NOBODY I KNOW WOULD TAKE HIM. ‘SPECT NOBODY WILL WANT HIM. MAY AS WELL EUTHANIZE HIM NOW, FOR ALL THAT MATTERS.

I dunno about that. We’ll wait the thirty days. It’s the law.

Mister Master pulled out his wallet and counted out the money begrudgingly, murmuring curses under his breath. I sat and watched the transaction, sensing perhaps a chance for a new life. I didn’t know what euthanize meant, and was sure it wasn’t good. But, even so, two weeks without Mister Master was going to be like eternal heaven for me.

THAT IT? ANYTHING ELSE?

Is he up on his shots? I see he has a tag.

YEAH. I TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY PETS AND MAKE SURE THEY’RE UP-TO-DATE ON EVERYTHING.

Except love, I thought.

Mister Master handed my leash to the other mister, grunted, and walked out of the door and out of my life. He didn’t pet me, or say good-bye, or even look at me once. He just walked out the door, got into his truck, and drove away.

Not that I minded.

What now? I thought, and watched the other mister come around the counter with my leash in hand.

He bent down to pick me up.

 

 

Copyright © Lawrence S. Marsden, 21 May, 2014