The nightmare for Allen and Alison Holmes began only 15 minutes after their 17-year-old dog disappeared from their backyard. They scoured the neighborhood and posted signs in their search for Basie. The couple later learned that a series of mistakes led their pet to be euthanized, less than three hours after she went missing.
On November 1 the weather in Occoquan, Virginia was pleasant so Allen Holmes decided to let Basie, the dog he and his wife had raised since a puppy, enjoy some fresh air in the backyard.
He checked on the dog every few minutes because she had trouble moving about. At 12:06 p.m. he found Basie drinking water from a wash basin and snapped a picture because he thought she looked cute lapping up the water.
When he returned 15 minutes later, she was gone.
A woman reportedly found Basie wandering in a wooded area and thought she was a stray because she wasn’t wearing a collar. Allen later explained he removed the dog’s collar because it irritated her neck.
The woman brought Basie to a local veterinary clinic at 12:20 p.m. The animal hospital reportedly contacted the Prince William County Animal Shelter for assistance, but they refused to come for the dog because the hospital was out of their service area.
Then they reported getting instructions from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter to euthanize Basie, although the shelter emphatically denies it.
These confusing and contradictory instructions may have prompted the veterinary hospital to feel they were solely responsible for determining Basie’s fate.
Virginia law allows a licensed veterinarian who comes across a sick or injured dog to euthanize the animal without the owner’s permission. And at age 17, Basie had a host of health problems and was very thin.
“The animal hospital told us themselves that they decided for humane reasons that the dog should be put down,” Alison said.
However, even with her ailments the couple believed, “Basie was not ready to go.”
“What gets me is the time that they decided to euthanize her,” Allen said. “I took a picture of her at 12:06 p.m. The shelter had her body at 3 p.m. I hold the vet responsible.”
Allen and Alison are heartbroken over the series of events that ended their dog’s life. Because the dog walked slowly they believe she was no more than a block away from her home.
“We had no chance of finding her in that time,” Alison said. “When we did find her, it was only because of our tireless searching. No one called us.”
Allen and Alison are left with only memories of the dog they called, “just delightful.”
Photo from mcoughlin via flickr
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