Sunday, May 31, 2009

Snagged by the hand of fate

For almost a month now I have been chewing on if or maybe how I was going to write this entry. Finally things are starting to come into a better focus and I realize I have no choice. I simply MUST write it all down or go even more bonkers than I already am.

It's all mixed up in my mind, the animal radicals toiling away in the animal rights industry, the fallen economy that continues to force people out of their homes and in turn causes them to give up their dogs. The people who, unable to earn a living in their first chosen field are now deciding that since they "just love" dogs they will call themselves dog trainers. On top of that stew is poured a sauce of unreal expectations about animals in general.

As we move into now the third generation to have no connection with the land the lack of knowledge becomes not just a sad thing, but a terrifying danger to us all. Without our domestic animals to keep us human what are we to become? Soulless automatons who kill without a shred of remorse, take whatever we want with no thought to the outcome?

First comes a little Yorkie, a 7 year old, 8 pound mite who is about to end up in "the system". Her only fault as far as I can tell is she ended up in the wrong hands. Well not entirely in the wrong hands since as a year old pup she was brought here for a 4 week board and train program. And finally she ended up here again.

Little "Milly", no that is not her real name. Anyway, Milly was produced by a large volume breeding facility, sold to a large resale "kennel", registered with an organization that supplies "papers" that are of questionable value for a price.True, I do know who two of the three are and am choosing not to name them. I just don't feel the names add a single thing to what I have to say next.

Milly was purchased for a young teenage girl. Her parents knew less than nothing about the proper way to treat or train or care for a dog. They were young, up and coming professionals riding the housing boom to the hilt. With all the sudden influx of easy money when something was needed you just go out and buy it. Bingo! Instant pleasure with little to no effort.

Milly came here when she was about a year of age. The owners had been referred to me by another trainer who didn't want to be bothered by all their questions. I guess the fact they asked me no questions and didn't bother to come back for all the lessons they had paid for stemmed from...well who knows what it stemmed from. Meanwhile, Milly all 4 pounds of her at the time, wormed her way in to this household without so much as a quiver or hitch.

Wrap was very much the queen in those days and for whatever reason seemed to feel that Milly had come along just to be her private toy. For the entire time Milly was here the two of them were always together. Milly learned every single thing she was taught. She learned quickly and was able to string commands together to learn new behaviors at a blazing speed.

So what the devil happened? How did such a promising jewel of a pup end up on the hard end of life? The parents that bought her for their daughter are children of a generation that truly lacked for nothing. Nothing other than the touch of hard times necessary to build an adult of strength and character. They never set foot on a farm. Have no idea what it takes to raise the cattle that make the hamburger on the grill nor do they have a clue about what it takes to care for the cows that put the milk in the carton, the butter for their bread. I strongly suspect they would run in fear from the chickens that produce the eggs for their breakfast.

Lacking that sort of very basic knowledge is it any wonder they have not a clue as to how to care for, much less train a dog? And lacking that sort of basic knowledge is it any wonder why they are ripe for the plucking when the Animal Radicals come knocking at their door with pictures of horrid things, many of the pictures having been manufactured by the Animal Rights Industry itself? But I digress and must get back to Milly and then move on to Lass for this is going to be so long a blog I'm going to have to do it in parts.

Back to Milly again.
She was very unceremoniously handed over the fence to me. Her "stuff" followed. "We don't need her any more", was what I was told. "Our house sold faster than we had expected and she can't go with us."

"Where is her paperwork?" I asked.

"What's that?" is the response I got.

"At the very least I need her vet records and a registration slip would be most helpful" I responded.

"I don't know. If I have time later I'll try and look for it", is what I was told.

"Don't bother to look, just call your vet and asked them to fax me a copy. One phone call won't take that long and then you won't have to look", was my response.

And just like that Milly was here to stay or go or whatever. Another bothersome piece of excess baggage to be gotten rid of as the good days turn darker and darker. After a week went by I called them. The first number I had was no longer in service. The second number just took me to an answering machine, so I left what was to become a series of messages. All I was asking for was that they call the vet and have her records forwarded to me. After three weeks and 6 tries I still had a big fat zero.

What was she like, this older and sadder Milly? She was dirty and she smelled. Her coat was matted and her tail was stuck to one back leg with dried feces. Her nails were curling under, her ears were dirty, her face was caked with eye goop that had never been cleaned away. She was scared, defensive, barked pretty much non-stop and just shook pretty much all the time. UCK!! Who would even want to try with a 7 year old dog in that condition?

After three weeks of trying to get some response from the now former owner I gave up. Checked back through my records and found her original file. Great! Now I at least had a place to start and thinking hopeful thoughts googled the Vet listed. Found the number and gave them a call. Explained who I was and why I was calling and was handed over to the office manager. Lovely person that she is, she was first very glad to learn that Milly had landed in a safe place. It seems that on top of the problems I listed Milly had a "history". Milly, all 7 pounds of her was labeled as an aggressive dog. That's right, Milly was considered to be dog aggressive and could only go to a home that had no other dogs. Milly was considered to be human aggressive and needed to go to an experienced home.

Milly is NOT dog aggressive. Milly is NOT people aggressive. Milly is just another dog unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of fools. By the end of Milly's first week here she had been cleaned up, her nasty coat was gone and she was sporting a cute little Schnauzer clip. Her nails were short and didn't hurt anymore. She still needed a bark collar to help her remember the rule of silence unless it's important. She was starting to spend more and more time in the yard with ALL THE OTHER DOGS.

So I could honestly tell the Office Manager that Milly was most definitely NOT dog or people aggressive. Personally I think she was just desperate for some calm in all the chaos her life had handed her. The Office Manager agreed and she she had been really worried about what was to happen with Milly, since "they had lost their home". So is seems Milly was a victim yet again. This time the bursting of the housing bubble got her.

Now she is here and I have her medical records. Records, I might add, that have given me much pause for thought. Thoughts such as: why was it necessary to take her to the Vet for "observation" as often as twice a month? Why did they refuse to at least learn how to care for her? I know those and the many other questions I have will never be answered and they are the questions that really, really do bother me.

Looks like Milly will be staying since this past Friday she showed me she was willing and able to earn her keep. Earning her keep leads to the second dog, Lass.

No comments:

Post a Comment