“Stray Dog”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a ‘stray’ out here. But a few days ago, I, my wife, and our Golden were in the car, rolling down our little narrow lane, heading for town. I saw cars on the main road slowing, then speeding up again.

My first thought: Stupid deer again, I’ll watch out for them when I get down there. But it wasn’t. I could see it was a smaller animal than a deer.

Once again, somebody had dumped a dog at the end of our road.

There’s a big wide spot where you can pull off; we’d made that space for our mailboxes and trash cans; it often seems to get used by every gonk who wants to sit and yak on his stupd cellphone before signal is totally lost when they drive down into the river ravine.

But here’s a loose dog running around.

Damned cowards; probably couldn’t take care of it, so instead of dropping it at a shelter where it would have a chance, they threw it out of the car out here and drove off.

And now it’s abandoned and terrified, looking around for its family, the one that left it to die.

As I got closer, I could see it was a Pit Bull, mixed with a Labrador: the basketball-round head with powerful jaws, the deep cleft between the eyes. And, being in the Country, I had a pretty good guess why somebody had dumped it – it’d probably bitten somebody, and the owner didn’t have the guts to have it euthanized in a humane manner.

My heart is hardened toward Pit Bulls – yeah, yeah, you can tell me that they’re great dogs and all that. My experience is different: merely walking by one of these well-trained, ‘great dogs’ two years ago, I damn near got bit. These animals are like a loaded gun: generally safe in the right hands, but dangerous in all other circumstances.

As I came up to the end of the road, this dangerous mixed-breed ran over to us, looking at us plaintively. No way was I going to let that thing into my car. I pulled out onto the main road carefully, so I wouldn’t hit it, and it started to run after us in desperation.

I slammed the gas and outran it. I pulled away fast enough that it quickly gave  up. As soon as we had a good cell signal, I called the County Dogcatcher.

What happened to it, I don’t know: Likely things are it got hit by a car, and somebody will have to live with that guilt, or the local pack of coyotes got it. If it’s the former, then may God lay the guilt of that cowardice on that person who dumped it.

These things always haunt me because they could have been prevented:

  • Spay and neuter all pets, no matter how ‘cute’ they are, or how great of a companion they might seem to be.
    (For instance: Jack Russell Terriers have become great dogs because of careful breeding, but they used to be dangerously snappy.)
  • If you can’t handle owning the dog, take it to a shelter at the first realization that you can’t. Give it up now. They’ll find somebody who can care for it. Your conscience will reward you.
  • If the dog presents even the mildest of threats to others (and I mean aggression or worse yet, biting), have it euthanized before it hurts somebody. This humane end to a dangerous animal’s life  may be a heartache now, but it’ll be worse of a heartache later when it’s your fault that it hurt somebody. Think of somebody being maimed for life because you couldn’t find the guts to have the dog put down.
  • Get your dog from a responsible breeder.
  • Support responsible breeding by researching your breeder. And by that I don’t mean, “We thought that Ripper here could have puppies with your sweet Josie, and they would be really nice dogs.”
    This was the kind of dog that was now running loose at the end of our road.

One more word on amateur cross-breeding: Ending up with a dog like the one that got dumped at the end of our road is abusing God’s authority given for the perpetuation of life. He expects us to use this power responsibly.

A dog is a living, thinking being. They are a lifetime commitment. If you can’t commit to caring properly for the dog throughout its whole life, don’t get a dog. We rescued Wheaton, our Golden Retriever, from that kind of life – his former owners thought he was cute as a puppy, then when he grew to 70 pounds, they stopped caring about him and started abusing him.

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