Friday, July 27, 2012

Pit bull atrocities - the gentle victims

An Texas family in East Montgomery County awoke to a horrific scene early Thursday morning, and discovered 15 of their sheep were dead or dying, having been brutally mauled by a pair of pit bulls that were allowed to roam the neighborhood.

Can any who call themselves animal lovers not be saddened and enraged to learn of such gentle creatures forced to suffer so, at the hands of purpose bred killers?

A wolf, a coyote or a mountain lion might kill a sheep out of hunger. But well-fed pit bulls seem to torture their victims for the pure joy of it, tails wagging, leisurely tearing apart their gentle, long-suffering victims.

It's saddening that these sheep were so brutally and cruelly torn apart in the one place they ought to have been completely safe. Even worse, although the family that kept the sheep had been victimized by the same pit bulls on previous occasions, there has been no legal relief for them. The marauding pit bulls are still running loose, and the owner of the pit bulls is not facing any charges.

Read the article at Craven Desires (warning, graphic images of pit bull victims):

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Susu's last day

 On the night of June 21, 2012 Susu, a elderly chihuahua mix, breathed her last. After having been given the cocktail which would put her to sleep, she passed away in the arms of a kindly stranger who had taken pity on her. In that sense Susu was more fortunate than many elderly dogs, whose owners abandon them at the shelter as if they were worn out toys, rather than the sensitive, feeling creatures they are.

Susu had been dumped by her owners, perhaps simply because she was old; perhaps because she had advanced arthritis. In any case, Rancho De Chihuahua was her final stop, and RDC co-founder Joy Nicholson was the kindly stranger who held Susu in her last moments.

Joy's observations of the little dog's last days:
"The amazing thing about Susu is how doggedly she looked for her family. Our property is about 3 acres, and is not level, but on wobbly, painful knees, with little sight and very, very little hearing, she searched endlessly for them, walking through every inch. She would sense my presence, ( I think through smell) get very excited, 'run' towards me, then realize I was not who she was looking for, and then turn away and continue her search. When she got too physically tired, she would lay down, and I would go pick her up ( she hated to be picked up, and would buck, bite, and salivate) then she would lay, very depressed, until she slept. The other dogs scared her, so we always kept her alone, which she preferred, but didn't 'like'. When she woke, she would want to search again. Immediately. Any time of day or night. She would turn endless circles, and cry, trying to find a way to get out and search. Her happiest moments were the first 1/2 hour of each search--she would navigate to the fence, then carefully, with an upraised tail, walk the fence line, back and forth. Her tail would sink lower and lower as she got tired, and she was unable to find her people. Still, she wanted to walk. She seemed to believe that if she kept walking, she would eventually find her people, and everything would be okay."

I have to wonder where her family was during this time, and what they were doing. Did they love her? Did they stop loving her when she got old? Were they thinking about her at all? Susu could seemingly think about nothing else except finding them again. 

Joy continues:
"Susu was on Rimidyl, which seemed to help with her pain. And her ability to walk further did increase with less pain, but the emotional pain got worse, not better, when she couldn't find her people."

As sad as Susu's death was, the fact is that dogs put down at the shelter generally come to an even less pleasant end. It varies from place to place, but 50 to 80 percent of Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes in shelters will ultimately die for lack of someone to adopt them. An older dog has virtually no chance at all but the least crowded shelters. An older dog with considerable health issues, like Susu, will suffer greatly for the few days spent at a shelter before the euthanization takes place.

Joy recalls Susu's last hours:
"I gave her a tranquilzer ( Acepromazine) in her breakfast treat, and when it set in, I brought her to our vet. She slept the whole way, looking at me, but not in any apparent distress or fear, and seemed very relaxed--the most relaxed she had been. At the vet, we gave her a little more tranquilzer, waited until the injection fully 'took' and she was completely under. She did not open her eyes, wake, struggle or seem to have any signs of distress when she was euthanized. I was touching her the whole time, and lightly petting her face. Susu did not like to be touched, so I kept it very light in case she was feeling it--just enough to let her know she wasn't alone--but not enough to irritate her.) She went to sleep and did not wake up.

She should have been euthanized with her people holding her. We couldn't give Susu much in life, but I do think her death was a peaceful one."

Many of us have been guilty in the past of letting the vet or someone else handle the details when one of our pets is put down. Let's resolve to do this, at least: If and when the time comes that our pet must be put down, let's not dump the poor bewildered baby off somewhere and wash our hands of the whole affair. Let's be with our pets in their final moments, and hold them as they leave this world. Let them feel love and compassion, rather than fear and loneliness. I believe It really makes a difference. 

"One can measure the greatness and the moral progress of a nation by looking at how it treats its animals." -- Mahatma Gandhi