Tuesday, September 23, 2008
More German Shepherd Rescues... Or Not...
The rescue effort to save brother and sister German shepherds, Ace and Lucy, reached its height today. They were scheduled to be euthanized tomorrow. In my snooping around, I discovered that there was a home waiting in Northern Ohio, with a six year old boy and a Labrador Retriever.
Ace and Lucy had lived outdoors their entire lives. They needed training but were listed as nice dogs. The owner surrendering them listed their age as two, but the shelter decided they were more like six year old dogs. Since they were being held at Livingston County Animal Control, only 20 minutes from my house, I volunteered to go over and evaluate them.
The dogs were beautiful. Lucy came out sniffing, very doggy, very stressed out. She barely took time to say hello to me; she was too busy with her investigations. Shelter worker Darma told me that she had been in heat when she came in. Lucy and Ace were littermates, out of a brother/sister breeding, and they had created numerous litters themselves during their lives.
I asked to see Ace, whose picture reminded me so much of my Cajun. Darma said that she would "try" to bring him out.
Ace wouldn't walk on a leash and had become hysterical when she tried to walk him. She showed me the scratches on her arms that he had given her. I had immediate flashbacks to Grendel (now Achilles) and how impossible he was when I first tried to walk him.
Darma disappeared through the back door with Lucy, but then later came out and beckoned to me. She couldn't get Ace to walk out with her. I followed her back into the shelter area, and I saw why.
An imposing, gorgeous, 100 lb black and red male stood looking at me. He was big, he was strong, and all GSD. His presence was so very much like Cajun's that I was taken aback for a moment.
She opened the door and I went into the pen with him and stood petting him. He smiled up on me, his head broader than my hand between the ears. He was panting hard, stressed, and I got the sense that he hated the shrill barking all around him.
He was a big, lovely boy. The longer I stood there next to him, the sadder I became. It would take a lot of work, and a very knowledgable person, to fix a dog like this. Neither one of them were altered. The former owner had to wrestle them to get them into his car.
I came out and called the potential new owner, and told her what I had found. I thought the two should be separated. Lucy needed to bond with a person and not another dog. I felt that each would need a lot of time, energy and work. And how in the heck I was going to manage transporting Ace anywhere, I had no idea.
Sadly, at times euthanasia is the best option. There were no homes and no real resources for the dogs at this time. I personally could not afford to take them, time- or money-wise.
After I hung up, I went to thank Darma and I started asking questions about the history of these dogs. "Why were they turned in?"
She said the owner had lied to them repeatedly. She couldn't be sure of the real story, as he'd told her he was moving away and couldn't keep them. But, his address was recognized because he had had a number of complaints on these dogs.
That, to me, spelled out the rest of the story. These German shepherds, so sadly neglected and in the hands of ignorance, had a history of something not right.
And so I thought of the doomed dog Ace, so much like my Cajun, and I burst into tears, right in front of the sympathetic shelter worker. "I understand," she said.
Euthanasia is not always the worst option for dogs like this. They could have ended up in the wrong hands, so easily. This is how I console myself tonight.
Thank you to everyone who tried to help these dogs.