Monday, October 5, 2009

Goodbye Phoenix and a prayer

From the Humane Society of Durham Region:

On October 2, 2009 Phoenix passed away peacefully, surrounded by the people who loved him most. In the two days prior he had stopped wanting to eat, spent most of his time sleeping and showed little interest in the things that had been giving him joy.

At his scheduled vet appointment on Friday it was decided that the time had come to put him down. His foster parents Tracy and Mike, Debby Houghton the investigator on his case and Ruby Richards, the shelter manager were all with him at the end giving him hugs and kisses.

Special thanks go to the clinic staff who spent so much time working with him and who were in tears at his passing. Thanks also go to the public for all of their support for him during the past few months.

Thanks also to all the media for their help in getting his story out to the public.

We are still looking for leads in his case. If anyone has anything that might be pertinent to this case please call Debby Houghton at 905-433-2022 ext. 2.



Phoenix deserves a thousand tears but do we have tears enough for the thousands of other dogs that have died and will die from the neglect and abuse of their owners, from the atrocious dog killing laws of this province, from puppy millers and mercenary backyard breeders, from hoarders and other well-intentioned psychotics, from medical experimentation in research facilities and veterinary schools, from gun shot wounds and stab wounds and gasoline burns and breaking of bones and dragging behind cars, from being thrown out of windows and hit with hammers and fed poison and scalded with boiling water, and perhaps worst of all, allowed to fade and then die alone in a cage?

There is a Pit Bull at animal services right now who has colon cancer and shits puddles of blood every day in his kennel. It is on pain killers. The owner doesn't care or doesn't know or maybe just doesn't have the resources or the wherewithal to take care of the dog properly. It doesn't matter. The dog is neglected. The dog is sick. The dog should be euthanized but the rules say no, not yet, there has to be a waiting period, a few more days.

The dog stares at me from behind its bars and I can barely look at it as I pass it by to take out the other dogs. This dog, looking out, hoping for a moment of attention of concern of respite of tenderness of companionship and at the same time there is mistrust in his eyes, a fierceness that might lash out. And who can blame it, given these conditions at the end of its life. This dog waits for salvation and the only thing that will save this dog is death. Will someone mourn the loss of it, it's last days of lonely suffering before a meaningless end?

There are thousands of unwanted dogs of all breeds and ages in this province who will die hard deaths and who cries for them?

When we lament the loss of Phoenix, let us also give a thought to the all the others who die unknown, unloved and in silence.

14 comments:

Biscuit said...

rest in peace, sweet fluffy boy.

Ian said...

Condolences to those who worked so hard to make life better for him even if it was for a short time.

Miz Minka said...

I often think about all those other dogs, and I lament their suffering. It's a cruel world we live in.

R.I.P., Phoenix.

Elizabeth said...

Im glad Pheonix got to know a little love and compassion before his time came. I hate to say it but he's in a better place now. Tracy and Mike are wonderful people for taking him in.

I feel sorry for the abandoned pit bull. Maybe give him a little pat on the head, even if it does kill you to see a dog suffering like that. It would make all the world to that dog.

I live in Philadelphia, and our animal care and control is lost. I sat in the waiting room for 20 mins waiting for my foster kittens to come out of the vet. I saw 9 cats, 31 kittens, and three dogs turned in during that time. I wanted to reach out and save them all and I couldn't. Later I went into the back just in time to see a cart full of cats head into that room. I knew they wouldn't be leaving it alive. I went home fed my kittens, then cried my eyes out.

Joanne said...

Fred, please stop and talk to the guy with colon cancer.....can you imagine if you were him? We really don't know what they feel or think and it could possibly make his last days a bit more bearable. I am asking you as a favour...I can't bear the thought of him dying with no one giving a damn.....a toy, a cookie, a kind word, a scratch behind the ears........please...

Fred said...

It's not as simple as that because I'm not sure he actually wants my company. I might just be increasing his anxiety level standing around outside his cage. It's hard to tell with him. I gave him a bone the other day and I'd like to spend some more time with him, see if he's more comfortable around me - that's if he's not already gone.

Biscuit said...

I honestly don't know how it doesn't drive you mad sometimes. You're a stronger, braver person than I am.

Lynda said...

Good bye, sweet Phoenix....

And I second what Biscuit says: you are a stronger, braver person than I am.....

debra said...

I agree... I went to the THS a few weeks ago and left in tears. It was so hard to see all the dogs, some barking frantically, desperate for any attention, some just lying there, looking so lonely. You could tell some had given up hope of ever having anyone take them. When I read about Phoenix yesterday, there I was again, crying like an idiot. I didn't even know him. My son always says " Why do you read these things (about animal abuse)? You know you just get upset." I know I do but...I read them anyway. I will never, ever understand these people who abandon their pets (especially the old or sick ones) to a shelter. How can you be so cruel? My sweet chocolate lab died just before last Christmas and I was right there, holding him, telling him what a good dog he was,as the vet put the needle in his leg and he took his last breath. How could I do any less when he had been such a good friend for 13 years? For the people who abandon their pets, I honestly hope someday when they are old and sick, their children bring them to a senior's home (a really bad one)and never go back to visit.

Marcie said...

I'm sending my love to his foster family, it takes very special people to take dying animals into their lives.

"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight" It makes me sad and sick that there are so many animals dying unloved, if only there were more people like Tracy & Mike in the world.

redstarcafe said...

I was hoping beyond hope that Phoenix would have a little more time to enjoy what he should have had from the very beginning. I'm just so glad that he learned what love is.

Your tribute to the dogs who have been betrayed is eloquent. Especially sad for those like the pit bull who are now afraid to trust. And of course, those who never had a chance.

Dee said...

Fred
Thanks for writing that prayer for all the other dogs...I too volunteer at my local shelter and last year had the pleasure of meeting Sheppy. Now Sheppy wasn't his name, I don't know what his given name was but in the end his name became Sheppy for I named him that.

He came to the shelter wearing only a tagless collar, rotting teeth, muzzle and legs grey with age and a large tumour on his side. He was a Big Black Dog of shepherd origins (hence the name) who was found wandering where I live, only that day I wasn't home I was at the shelter. I saw him, decided to talk with him, and ask the shelter if they would maybe adopt him out to me so he could spend his last days in a home.

The shelter said no and he was PTS at noon that day. I'm sure he spent his stray period or maybe they found and called his "master" (what else to call them) who then said they no longer wanted him. He was an awesome dog who would sit and shake paw through the glass.

And before he was put down I put a sign in the staff kitchen asking the staff to call him Sheppy as that was his new name and no dog should ever die nameless.

RIP Sheppy, Phoenix and the countless others

borderjack said...

Miz Minka's right: it's a cruel world. But I think humanity has made it that way. We've just gone off the rails...

I haven't been able to comment about this post because, in the words of Debra, above, I've been "crying like an idiot." Still am. For Phoenix, but maybe even more for the nameless dogs abused, neglected, abandoned, experimented on, sick, old and dying.

Fred: You write so damn well. The message in that post is one that the general public too often forgets. Even the good people get caught up in everyday life and forget. Because you write so well, maybe you're the one to get it out there? Just as a reminder? Maybe as a letter to the editor, in response to the Phoenix coverage. But because you are so eloquent, maybe you can send that message off to the mainstream media - maybe even Kate Hammer of the Globe could run it?
Forgive me if I'm overstepping my bounds. I think a lot of people could use the reminder, especially around thanksgiving, and you do it so well.

Fred said...

borderjack, I can write all I want but I'll only ever reach a limited audience. I think the best thing we can do right now, especially in Toronto but in other jurisdictions as well, is to get our humane societies functioning properly. They have the funding and the media contacts and the legitimacy to deal with these problems in a big way. If we can't even sort out the politics of those of us who are supposed to be on the same side, we're not going to be able to deal with the real and more important issues at hand with respect to animal welfare.