Thursday, April 30, 2009

Freedom for Liberty

On Sunday, April 19, about ten minutes after I left a meeting with the woman who is mentoring me in my quest for Animal Behavior certification, said woman left her office on Wards Chapel Road, pulled out onto Liberty Road, and saw a pit bull hit by a car.

She immediately pulled over, got two other co-workers who were following her to pull over, and they started the chase to see if the little dog was alright. They attempted to get cars to stop, or at least slow down, and most of them responded with much profanity and gestures which involve limited numbers of digits. At one point, one man did pull over to help. Then he saw the dog, yelped "Is that a PIT BULL????" got back into his vehicle, and locked the doors.

Oh, did you not know that pit bulls are the breed most likely to carjack you???

Anyway, it took over an hour, but they finally ran the little dog down, got her into one of their trucks, and immediately took her to the vet hospital where one of those leading the chase just so happens to be a vet tech.

A few hours later, as the most out-spoken pit bull proponent my mentor knows, I got the call telling me the above details. Being the bleeding heart that I am, I said "Jeez, I wish I could afford another dog, but there's just no way I possibly can, otherwise I'd offer to take her in for a while." Any sane person would hear the true meaning behind my words, which is "thank goodness I can't afford another dog, I don't have the time or energy for that."

Also, any sane person wouldn't spend a few hours trying to catch a strange dog in the middle of rush hour traffic. Audience is a very important thing to remember when you make statements like the one I made.

My mentor said "oh, thank goodness - I just can't possibly fit her into my house [the woman has eight dogs, seventeen cats, several birds, and a herd of herding animals, she is one of the few people who really means it when she says "no room at the inn"], so you can take her home and I'll pay for her food and vetting while we find her a new home."

This is what you may refer to as an EPIC FAIL.

*sigh* But the thing is, I really, really can help in this situation. I have a small room she can stay in that can keep her separate from Oscar and the cats as long as that is needed, I understand how to deal with the crap pit bull owners have to deal with all the time (like idiots who lock their car doors to keep dogs out), I understand dog behavior, have an animal behaviorist on speed dial if there's an emergency, and am more than comfortable with basic manner and obedience training.

So how could I turn this girl away?

I really couldn't turn her away once I'd met her. She has very obviously been badly abused in the past. She is covered in scars, one of her ears is ragged, the other is missing the bottom two inches, her lips are terribly uneven and the vet who looked at her initially said it looked like they'd been stitched up at home by an amateur, and her legs are malformed, whether through bad breeding or injury it's unclear. And she was intact (was - we took care of that). She's terrified of everything - has to be coaxed to go outside and then spends the whole time asking to come back in. She flinches dreadfully at any sudden movements, and she has no idea what to do with any toys I showed her. She's about three years old, (at a little under 40lb) about a dozen pounds lighter than Oscar, and just looks TINY.

And she is the sweetest thing. Gentle as can be, and has shown textbook ideal reactions to both dogs and cats (in fact, the very first time I met her, I asked a vet tech to bring the office cat in, and while the dog was eating a treat out of my hand, the cat sniffed her lip - the dog didn't even lift a lip or make any kind of "back off" gesture in dog - that's better than Oscar would have done!)

So May 1 begins a New Life for the little one, who we have called Liberty, both for where she was found, and for her freedom from whatever horrible life she had before. In my house, she will be given training and love, and will never know pain again. The behaviorist has said she respects my decision on who should end up with her, and I will be sure she finds a forever home that will respect and cherish her as she deserves. And I already know my heart will break when it's time for her to leave.

(here's video of her on a potty break with me. she has seen the door to inside and cannot for the life of her figure out how to get me closer to it. so she does this odd backing-up-to-rev-up-for-a-jump thing I've only ever seen one other dog do. That would be Oscar. )


Blogger RC said...

poor poor little girl.such a sweet little face. I'm so happy she will be recovering in a safe loving home! Good Luck!

7:08 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

There must be something about you that makes pit bulls rev up and jump like that! Yay for you and yay for Miss Liberty!

8:05 PM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

i'm thinking whoever owned her tried to fight her, and when she consistently did poorly (because it's obvious she's way too sweet-tempered for it), they dumped her. could they tell if she'd ever had pups? if so, bet whomever had her bred her for more fighters.

poor, poorthing.

hugs to you for taking her on.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Unfringed said...

What a pretty color pup! I'm glad she's in a stable environment now!

7:38 PM  
Blogger weebug said...

awww, she is beautiful and so lucky to have you!

11:19 PM  

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