Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dog Stories

Two unrelated dog stories that are probably connected--in some weird way--only in my mind.

Last week, an Intrepid Dog Rescuer who operates in California's Central Valley, was called by a public animal control to assist in rescuing dogs from a hoarding situation. Nothing strange about that. Puppy Mills, Backyard Breeders and Hoarders are rampant in California's Central Valley. But there was a Big Surprise in this story. The hoarding involved Pembroke Welsh Corgis!!! Sixty Pembroke Welsh Corgis, to be precise. Some mental health professionals believe that dog hoarding is related to Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder. Perhaps, in this instance, there is also some element of over identification with Her Majesty, the Queen of England, who is known for her attachment to Pembroke Corgis and has owned quite a few--and has staff to care for them.

From time to time, I have discussed Junk Yard Dogs and have mentioned what I believed to be a potential Junk Yard Dog living near my house. Eighteen months ago, new neighbors moved into a house on our block. It was their first house and both parents worked full time. While they were still unpacking, they acquired two puppies: a Toy Poodle and a Mastiff mix. Both dogs were left alone for long hours. Older neighbors gently encouraged the owners of the canine Odd Couple to refrain from letting their dogs run loose.

I feared for the survival of the Toy Poodle and for the socialization of the Mastiff mix.

Unfortunately, my fears were founded. The Toy Poodle disappeared shortly after I began to encounter a Coyote on my morning walks. The Poodle's family thought the little dog had been stolen.

That left the Mastiff, who grew and grew and grew. It also became quite territorial and barked from behind the side gate at anything or anyone who passed by on the sidewalk. Eventually, he began to rouse himself shortly after 5am to bark vociferously at Bingley and Magic as we began our morning walk. In deference to our sleeping neighbors, I altered our route. But later in the day, when I went for the mail, the Mastiff would bark his displeasure--or perhaps just his boredom. His head came to the top of the gate. I prayed he didn't learn to jump.

Recently, however, there has been silence when I collected my mail. Today I confirmed that the Mastiff is no longer there. My informant did not know the dog's fate.

The sixty Corgis have been rescued by Corgi rescue organizations. I am not optimistic that the Mastiff's fate is as bright as the Corgis'. Whether he was passed off to another family as a "Guard Dog", or he was dropped off at the local public animal shelter, the chances of his receiving the care and training he needs to become a suitable canine companion are slim.

My life will certainly be easier now that the Mastiff is gone. When I take Bingley and Magic out on warm summer days, I won't have to glance up the block anxiously to see if the Mastiff is loose. I can walk by his old house at 5:15 am and not worry about starting a barking spell that will waken my neighbors.

But I am mourning a sad life of a dog who never had a chance because humans whose job it is to protect and care for the dogs in their lives, didn't protect and didn't care.

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