Friday, April 16, 2010
This dog was no prize. She was old, deaf, didn't see very well. She hobbled. She was way too skinny, had patchy fur. She soiled herself all the time probably from loss of bowel control given her age. She was stand-offish. I spent almost half and hour with her and in that whole time, I couldn't get her to pay any attention to me except when I had a treat in my hand which she sniffed and turned her nose up at.
It would be very easy to toss dogs like her away (someone certainly did). I ask myself if my compassion for an animal is based on what I get from the animal or what I give to the animal. If it's based on what I get from the animal, then is it truly compassion or is it self indulgence? When we assess a dog, formally or informally, do we assess the dog's worth or the dog's worth to us?
It would have been a miracle if the owner had shown up and claimed her, saved her from being euthanized. Maybe it was time for her to be euthanized anyway. Who knows what underlying medical issues she may have had to result in her looking so raggedly - or was that the result of neglect, neglect right up to the end?
I wanted to take this dog home for a week. My intentions were not pure. I think I mostly just wanted to assuage my own guilt at participating in her abandonment by not merely being just another bystander.
I wanted to take this dog home for a week because even though she was not a dog that immediately warmed the heart and even though she was a dog in the last stages of physical decline, she was also not a dog that deserved to be abandoned and left in a cage for the final few days of her life away from all that was familiar. She deserved a week at least, a last few days of something akin to a home before she was delivered to the other side of life.
I don't know what I was thinking, though. Rocky never would have tolerated her. And with Stella's health the way it is, there was no way I was going to impose a new dog on her, especially one that was going to require so much time and work.
So it didn't happen and now she's gone.