Written by Teresa Muir of Queensland, Australia
I was driving through the suburban streets near my duplex and saw a little maltese cross dog that looked lost and was roaming around. I had a couple of cars behind me, so had to keep driving. As I drove away I couldn’t stop picturing this poor little dog who was very matted, bits of chunked up poo on it’s backside and who could hardly see through his fur around the eyes. The thought of driving off and not helping made me feel sick, so I quickly turned around and went back.
I parked the car, got out and walked towards the dog, unsure of its up bringing and if it would bite. I just followed it for a little bit to see if it was heading home, but then a dog pound van pulled up and I was concerned that he would get taken and the owner charged $120 to get the dog out + $20 a day for food, etc. (a lot of times, if the people can’t afford that, they just leave the dogs in there and they end up getting put down). I quickly went to the dog, crouched down and held it around the collar. Looking up at the man from the pound, he asked if it was my dog.
“No, but he must live around here,” I said. “I might take him and put up signs and an ad in the paper.”
He could see I wasn’t going to give him up and thankfully he worked with me. Instead of taking the dog, he rang through to the pound with the dog’s registration no. and we got an address. As it turned out, the house was just across the road, so we walked over and put the dog back inside the gates (not sure how he first got out, as the gate was shut). There was also a second dog at the property that was also friendly and in similar, though slightly better, condition. We then both left.
I Couldn’t Stop Thinking About the Dogs…
But it wasn’t over. I couldn’t stop thinking about the condition of the dogs and wondered how someone could let their little pals get that way. I went back and went inside the gate. The dogs were hiding under the house, so I called them out. They came out (a bit timid) and allowed me to pat them. It was heartbreaking to see these beautiful little dogs in this condition. I stayed there for about 20 minutes, debating whether I should just take them and clean them up myself, but of course was not sure if the owner would be insulted and I would then be in trouble for coming inside their gate and taking their dog/s for a few hours. I pressumed the owner was at work and would probably be home just after 5 pm. Not that I would recommend doing this, but I did decide to take one of the dogs home to clean up (the dog in the worst condition — thinking I would be helping the owner and hoping they would be thankful, not angry), so, I took him home and gave him a goood wash. I trimmed all his hair as much as required (although I had very limited time), cleaned around his eyes, gave the dog some food, did his nails and checked his ears. He looked like an entirely different dog and I was soooo happy for him.
It was about 4.30pm at this time and was really wanting to get the dog back, so I quickly ran around and got some extra dog products that I had — brush, flea wash, bowls, sheets/blankets and some food, put it all in a bag and returned to the dog’s house. I returned the dog, left the bag on the patio and left a note explaining what had happened and how the dog was nearly taken to the pound and that I was trying to help with cleaning him up and hoping these products would make it easy to clean the second dog. Still not knowing how they would respond, I never left my name or number.
Over the next two days, I could not stop thinking about the dogs and if the second dog had been cleaned up or not. I drove by the house a couple of times, but could not see the animals, although I did see a a mature Europen lady walking outside. In seeing that, I thought, darn it, I’m going to stop and talk to her. So I did. She was a very lovely lady, who was a single mother and had meant to try and clean the dogs up, but was finding it hard working and looking after a teenage boy, who was also very inexperienced and naive with looking after animals and it had all become too overwhelming for them. She had been feeling very ashamed and too embarrassed to get help or let a groomer see the dogs.
Finding the Courage to Knock on a Door
She was so thankful for the help and it gave her the motivation to do the second dog, which was not as bad. And it showed me that when you don’t have much support, things that you are not familiar with can become daunting and overwhelming. And I am now very glad that I did it that way. She was a lovely lady with a young boy and I am sure she would have been heartbroken if she had lost the dog/s and I don’t think it would have been easy for her to pay for their release from the pound.
All in all, a good ending. I don’t recommend going into a yard and taking a dog to clean it up, but if you do see a dog in need, try just talking to the owner one day and casually get onto the subject of the dog and see if they need help, offer to clean the dog or drop some dog things over that they may need or to take them for walks.- It’s not always that they don’t care, it’s usually just that they don’t know where to start and may be too embarrassed to ask for help.
Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase