Homeless dog at my door. I think she’s wishing she could come in and join my dogs.
My town has a dog and cat problem. While there is a humane society, it’s not “no kill,” and the statistics are grim. Almost every month, 160-250 animals are euthanized at the local shelter. I can say this with certainty as I see the numbers at every humane society board meeting. I personally think this is shocking, but perhaps it’s not uncommon for small Texas towns.
People either don’t want to spay or neuter their animals because, “Oh, I think she should have at least one litter first” or because “He’s a boy. He ain’t having puppies. It’s not my problem.” or simply because the cost to spay and neuter is high.
Let me stop here to say that I’ve read people are far more interested in stories about cats than dogs, so if you’re one of those people, simply pretend I’m writing about a cat. In a way, I’m writing about all of the homeless animals that no one wants.
Anyway, the dog above is homeless and the mother of three puppies–if they’re still alive. She’s been wandering our neighborhood for a couple of weeks now. The neighborhood sees her and mostly ignores her. Isn’t that awful? I include myself in that.
The dog catcher has been called (not by me) and says he can’t catch her. –I’m not sure that’s true since I petted her, but currently the shelter/humane society is at capacity so they don’t have room for her anyway.
Knowing the number of animals put to death at the local shelter, I am loathe to take her there. It’s almost a certainty she won’t be adopted and that she will end up as one of the 160 to 250 monthly “statistics.” I can’t face that. There is also a high chance her puppies will end up with Parvo if they go to the shelter.
Mama dog eating the dog food I put out for her.
On the other hand, what kind of life does this dog or her puppies stand to have living on the street? Not a good one. I’m torn.
There is a backstory to this. When I first moved here, I rescued a mama dog and her five puppies and delivered them all to the local shelter. I thought I was doing such a good thing. They were all promptly put to sleep. Not one survived. I didn’t know this was going to happen, and I felt horrible for a long time afterward. Yes, I cried. A lot.
As you can see from the photos, I’ve been feeding her and giving her water.
She looks at me as I walk by with my dogs and her eyes say, “Hey, I’m here. I’m a nice dog. Can I come with you? Could I be part of your family?” There is hope in her eyes as she follows a short distance behind me. And then I close my door and my heart on her.
What kind of a person am I?
I cry because I have three dogs, and I can’t take on another one. I just can’t. I’m at capacity too. My neighbor next-door has five dogs. A friend here has more than 30 cats. (Please don’t judge this friend because her house and yard are extremely clean despite what the image of owning 30 dumped and stray cats might conjure. She spends half of each day cleaning and hundreds of dollars out of her own pocket to spay and neuter them.)
My three dogs who aren’t supposed to be on the bed. (Sorry for the poor photo quality.)
So why am I telling you this? My hope is you spay or neuter all of your animals so sad little dogs and cats like this homeless one aren’t the end result. Also, If you’re going to get a pet, please make your next one, one that comes from an animal shelter.
Finally, to feed her puppies, this homeless dog killed a chicken. In her circumstances, I can’t say I blame her.
Below is a poem I wrote about what I see as I walk my dogs and how sometimes we refuse to see our social problems.
Where Your Chicken Went
I will never tell you where your chicken went
(Stinking to high heaven on the street between Sycamore and Pine)
Mama dog with three puppies beneath a car
In a town, apathetic.
And the trucks park as yard decoration
In the grass with the flowers in a row by the curb.
I will never tell you where your chicken went.
Meth addicts wave from their perches and porches
Eyes eating, searching, picking
As the church pews are filled with those who self-serve
In the cafeteria of God–Free Meal–Only beef, no chicken please
With a glass of iced tea.