Wednesday, July 30, 2008

5 - part 1

Maybe some guy is cruising on Kijiji, that great on-line advertising venue for backyard breeders and puppy profiteers, and sees a load of ads selling puppies for $500 a pop and thinks, "Fuck yeah, I could do that," so he gets a couple of Collie types together and mates them and a while later out pops a bunch of pups. Maybe they all make it, maybe some of them die, who knows, but he ends up with five. Very cute puppies, of course, and he can feel the filthy lucre already splayed across his greasy palms. His knowledgeable friends tell him he'll make a killing with these pups even though none of them actually want to take any of the pups home themselves. One friend maybe mentions it to his girlfriend, asks if she'd like a little ball of fur but she says, "Fuck that, I'm not picking up crap".

The puppies may have started out in a box inside the house, but after a couple of weeks the novelty's worn off, their mewling's getting to the guy and now they're pissing and shitting all over, so the guy puts them in the backyard where he doesn't have to smell them or hear them and anyway there's all sorts of junk they can crawl under for shelter if they need it.

Four weeks in and word of mouth isn't selling the pups so maybe the guy eventually gets an ad out on Kijiji and lists them at what he thinks is a bargain price at least compared to what those snooty registered breeders would sell them for.

His ad goes something like this: "Bargain Price!! AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL true English Style border collie babies! Super Calm, gentle, brown, white and black. Parents great dogs. Fathers dad grand champion! Parents registered. Shots, wormed, vet certified healthy! Father working towards his Therapy Dog Certificate". Maybe he attaches to his ad a couple of pictures of Border Collie puppies he's found on the internet that look close enough to his own pups.

He waits for customers to call but no one calls. Not one person. When the lack of response starts to sink in, the guy decides he'd better lower the price. The puppies are starting to be a pain in the ass. His friends are no longer interested in coming over to see them. Some of his friends are actually snickering behind his back about his stupid puppy money making scheme. He starts to resent the puppies and doesn't interact with them at all except to throw them food and water every so often. As a matter of fact, no one interacts with the pups.

It's three months in and even with the lowered price, still no one calls for the pups.

Maybe someone does eventually call, say at month seven, now that the guy's lowered his price even further. Maybe this guy actually does get a call from someone and manages to talk that person into coming over and taking a look at them. "They're fuckin' cute," he says. "And they're really fuckin' smart. They're great with kids and you can make 'em fuckin' guard dogs, too. Protect your house." So that person who's bargain hunting for a dog for her kids goes to this guy's house and the guy takes her into the backyard. Unfortunately, by this point, the pups are wary of people, having had almost no human contact and any experiences they have had haven't been so great so when this woman walks into the backyard, they all hide. One pup tries to hide behind a plastic bucket. Another hides in the corner of the yard between the metal fencing and a pile of decrepit lawn furniture. One just flattens itself against the ground because all the good hiding spots are taken. The guy can't get any of the puppies to greet the customer. The customer tries to be polite but after several minutes realizes that none of these dogs would do well with her kids and she leaves.

So now the guy is pissed. Maybe he goes to his backyard and throws a beer bottle at the pups, maybe he tries to kick a couple of them but he doesn't get a good boot in because they've grown accustomed to his outbursts and they stay far away. "Fuck it," he thinks. He doesn't want them anymore and he wants them out of his backyard so he calls animal services to pick them up.

As the van drives away with the five young dogs, the guy thinks, "Finally, someone else's fuckin' problem. Next time I'm going to try it with Great Danes," and then he goes back to surfing for teen porn.

The five young dogs arrive at TAS and are each given a separate kennel. When I first see them from a distance, they look like fine young dogs except they're a bit scrawny. But as I approach them, I see what's happened to them.

Three of them are like wild animals, afraid to look at me, cowering in the back of their kennels, visibly shaking as I reach out to them, looking like they might bite. One pisses itself every time I try to touch it. One hides behind its water bowl which is funny except that it isn't. I push treats into their kennels but they're wary of the food. James tells me they refuse to eat except at night.

They remind me of the baby racoon I found in my backyard earlier this summer, separated from its mother. For several hours, it was stuck on the wrong side of the fence - my side, its siblings on the other - and I threw it some food but it wouldn't eat, too scared. After almost a day I put on some gloves and went to pick it up and carry it over the fence but it cried and tried to squeeze itself into a ball of nothing in the corner between the fence and the patio wall. But that was understandable. Raccoons are supposed to be feral.

The other two siblings are a little better. They don't back away as quickly. They don't avert their eyes right away. Maybe there's some hope with those two.

Or maybe not. When I talk to James at lunch, he doesn't hold out much hope. There are quite a few dogs at the facility right now. If he can't get these guys out to rescues quick, they'll be euthanized except he doesn't say euthanized, he slides his finger across his throat.

Continued here.


Caveat said...

Lovely looking pups, such a shame.

This is a great piece that so nicely explains why breeding should be left to the people who love dogs and know what they're doing.

I wonder if they were together if they might be more animated because they really are pretty dogs.

Anonymous said...

They are lovely dogs, indeed. But so afraid, meek and shell shocked. How can people be so cruel and neglectful?

I wish there was somewhere they could go to be rehabilitated in a more 'home'-like setting. I wonder if another dog rescue place might take them in or arrange for fosters? They seem to have potential if someone had the time and patience to socialize and interact with them.

So . . . sad.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a dog and I'd love to give one of these guys a home. If I go to the facility tonight, would I be able to adopt one of them?

Anonymous said...

Can they be adopted? I'd like to rescue one of them.

Fred said...

Thanks for the offers of adoption for the Border Collies. Fortunately, foster homes have already been found for them ( where they will be socialized properly before being adopted out. If you wish to talk to the fosters about adoption after the pups' socialization skills have improved, I'm sure the foster families will be more than happy to talk with you. Toronto Animal Services will have the contact info for the fostering families.