Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love......And A Lesson

I was working on my photo for my photo club today, and it kind of coincided with Brutus playing out in the snow. When I was watching him jumping around and playing and just loving life, it made me realize just how far we have come in the last few months.

A year ago, my husband and I decided we would welcome our first dog into our family. Our last child had left for college, we weren't ready to retire yet, and we had some love to spare.

A year ago, a dog named Brutus was sitting in a high kill shelter in Missouri, scheduled for death in the gas chamber. A young man at the shelter could see that this dog had so much love in him, but as so often happens, someone bought him and either didn't have the time to train him, or didn't care enough to train him, and therefore they didn't like him and they threw him away. I will admit that when dogs aren't trained, they can be no fun to be around, but unfortunately, they don't exactly know how to do this themselves. It's one of the responsibilities that you have to think about before you decide that you want that cute little puppy that you see in the store window, or the humane society or your local paper. Dogs are a lot of work, and a lot of money, and they deserve the respect of not being adopted if you can't handle this. The Humane Society of the U.S. put out a statistic last year that it estimated that there were close to four million dogs euthanized. Thankfully for Brutus, this young man called the Midwest Animal Rescue, and a wonderful chain of love began.

People selfishly give their time to transport these animals to safe no kill shelters and foster homes. Once they reach safety, they are typically given medical care, socialization skills, and training so they can be permanently placed in their forever home. Some of these poor animals are so emotionally and physically damaged that I can't even bare to think about it. It makes me literally sick. One of the first dogs that we went to see had been tied to a tree for a year and a half and beaten regularly. We are as patient and loving as you can get, but we knew we didn't have the knowledge to give this girl what she would need, and we had to be honest about that. If I came within five feet of her, she would tremble. How can any human be so incredibly cruel. I will never know. My motto has always been, "humans deserve twice of what they give to an animal, good or bad". Anyone who would hit an animal is a coward. Animals don't think things through like humans. They run on instinct, and hopefully some good positive training.

Now Brutus on the other hand, I knew we could handle. He had absolutely no training, didn't even know his name, and was "probably" about two years old, but he didn't seem to have any deep emotional scars other than being scared of loud noises. The more we got to know him, the more we figured he was probably bought to be a hunting dog and failed. About all he hunts is mice!

I'm not going to tell anyone that this was easy, because it wasn't, but neither is raising a puppy. Brutus had some bad habits, like "marking" my leather chair (thank God I own a carpet shampooer) and chewing up shoes, but I spent the first six months of his time with us involving him in every aspect of my life from loading the dishwasher to getting the mail, and those bad habits are but a memory.

Today, Brutus is a boy that has life by the tail, and couldn't know a greater love if he dug his way to the center of the earth. I encourage anyone looking for a canine or feline friend to consider adopting an adolescent or adult animal. There are so many little souls out there sitting in metal cages that need love, and with some patience and time, they will give it back ten fold.

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