Had an interesting night last night, thought I would share it with you. You know it was really a lesson about people waiting for someone else to help someone in need. I even saw a show about this on “What would you do?”, where people witnessed someone needing help and 99% of people did nothing to help. Well that happened last night.
I am getting over a bad head cold, plus sore throat and lying in bed trying to get some much needed shut eye last night as I have some very full days ahead due to vacation coming up. Basically I’m working double time to try to fit as many meetings as I can and finish up work so it’s seamless when I’m away and family moves in to basically vacation swap at my place.
All night my husband and I hear a loud dog barking and crying. We were hoping that the dog would just settle down.
It goes on until about 2:30am, when we can’t take it anymore and go out to do something about it.
My own dog started to pant and pace, as it was picking up anxious energy from the barking dog. Dogs seem to know when a dog is just barking or is really stressed. It got me thinking: What if the dog is hurt? What if the owners are hurt in their home and the dog is alerting us? What if an angry tired neighbor gets frustrated and hurts the dog?
That’s when my husband knew he wasn’t going to get any sleep because if he didn’t go I would have. And he doesn’t want me wandering around in a park at night trying to find a stray dog.
So in the dark and the rain, out goes my husband to first establish if the dog is hurt or not. He comes home to report that it seems fine, is not tied down or anything, is in fact in someone’s back yard and has a name tag and is actually a sweet black lab trying to get into its house.
The dog was barking but my husband and I take a lot of dog training so we know how to gently dominate and relax even a large animal. The dog is soon licking my husband and trusts him. My husband returns to the house to give it one of our dog’s own bones and some food and water thinking that might help. It is now 3am.
Well the lab ate like it was starving and was quiet while it chewed the bone – for about ½ hour.
Then it started up again. So we phoned animal control to see if they could house it for the night and try to locate the owner. Last thing I want is for an animal to be put down, so we stressed it is obviously owned and lives in that house. They tell us they cannot do anything until the morning.
I remembered years ago when the SPCA wouldn’t come out at 6pm to help rescue tiny kittens that had fallen in a grate in front of my apartment. My girlfriend and I spent an hour rescuing these little things ourselves. And my friend even drove 45 minutes to get to me.
No wonder citizens have created their own rescue programs as these big institutions seem to not be of much use.
So it’s now 4am and with my husband due to work in just 3.5 hours and no sleep at all, goes out again because we see 2 cop cars with lights flashing and now the dog is screaming bloody murder and we hear the animal hitting the house and all kinds of noises that really creeps you out – you know the kind that makes your little hairs stand up? So my husband again runs outside, down the block to see if he can help.
Well the 2 police officers were called by separate neighbors (not us) trying to help somehow I guess. The officers did not know how to handle animals and were scaring it and this could possibly have turned ugly and ending in a dog bite. Plus they told my husband they had no options. They didn’t want to leave the dog but they could not take her either.
So in minutes my husband calms the dog again, and suggests to the officers that we take it in for the night as they were baffled as what to do with it and we put a note on the front door of the owners’ house that we had their dog and to call us.
The officers’ looked into the house and saw that it looked abandoned. So we didn’t know if this dog was just left when the owners moved and they deliberately left their dog (this happens) or if they were renovating it and staying at a hotel nearby. We had no clue.
So in our house walks this big black lab so happy to be inside, his tail thudding loudly on our floor as it wags. It was raining outside while this was happening so both my husband and the dog needed to be toweled off.
Our own dog who is a small 16 pound schnoodle (half poodle and schnauzer) welcomed the 80 lb dog, let it eat her food and even slept beside it all night and contributed to calming the lab during the night. Which is amazing as our dog typically fears big dogs as she was attacked when she was tiny and generally prefers humans to any dog, any day. She doesn’t even want to greet or smell other dogs.
The lab was so exhausted and its 80 lb body was still stressed as it was in tension for over 4 hours, it slept very loudly with loud snores and small whines that were clearly unintentional but essential ways for its poor body to attempt to recover and re-gain balance.
So really we saved the neighbors sleep but now not our own. Although we felt very good about helping this sweet animal. We took comfort in the fact that the dog relaxed instantly when it was inside our house. It felt safe and no longer alone. Listened to our commands and slept next to us all night. It was not a bad dog, it was a good dog in a bad situation – a situation created by people.
Early this morning we found out that the owners moved out due to renovations, and this dog was supposed to be with a house sitter a block and half away. At some point the sitters say they lost the dog and tried to look for it (ya right you could hear this dog for blocks as we live in a really quite neighborhood). And why wouldn’t they think to go to the dog’s house to see if it found its way home? Plus the dog was in a closed gated backyard.
What we think really happened is that they deliberately left the dog in the owner’s back yard, and sent their son out in the morning to feed it and the kid panicked when it wasn’t in the yard and ran home to the house sitter (his dad). Then they found our note and collected her from us and gave us a made up story. It is likely they planned on leaving the dog in that backyard out in the elements for many days or weeks, and just drop off food and the owners would be none the wiser. I may be wrong but their story just doesn’t add up.
These are not dog sitters I would hire, and to me is a form of abuse – it’s neglect. And they are LUCKY that no harm came to this dog, that it was us who came, instead of a bad or stressed out person who could have shut the dog up in a harmful way.
So today I am very proud of my little family, my husband and my dog, each of us played a role. And it just goes to show, convenient or not, don’t assume someone else is helping that animal or person in need, or that they can.
I’m tired, but my conscious is clear and that’s a great feeling. And I think I love my family just a little bit more today, and what a great thing that is.
Please add in your comments, I’d love to know your thoughts on this and any story you have.
The picture is of my two heroes.
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