All Dogs Go to Heaven? Not in My Neighborhood, Motherfucker!

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“Don’t worry, I’m still alive,” she says, to the collective groaning of the handful of those who feel obligated to continue supporting her “writing” and maybe the one person out there who’s letting out a good ole Homer Simpson “Woohoo!” because YAY MORE WORDS! And more words are exactly what I planned to share today- words made of letters haphazardly thrown together in hope that what I say makes some shred of sense and is interesting enough to keep you from giving up on me as much as I have. But just like the last time I was at a loss for what to write about, something happened. Except this something has me in an entirely different state of disbelief.

xena

This is Xena, our 12 year old, diabetic, blind, heart worm positive dog that we rescued back in March. We found her, severely emaciated, wandering around the school yard just a block from our house one night, eating snow. We took her in, fed her, and got her to the vet first thing in the morning. It wasn’t until a week later that the missing pet flyers were put up. We inquired with the vet on what we should do- clearly this was textbook neglect. “All I can safely say,” she told us, “is that she didn’t get like this overnight.” And that was enough for us. I couldn’t sit idly by while she continued to wither away to nothing, and in her condition, a shelter would probably put her down. It’s been a long road, but I like to think she’s happy now.

Now that she’s recovered from her spay surgery, I took her for a long overdue walk. Her normally lazy demeanor turned into that of a young pup, trotting, tail a’wagging as she took in all the nostalgic smells of our block. It was a lovely way to start the day. When we were within a few houses of home, a neighbor asked if I’d seen his dog, which had gotten loose. I hadn’t, but offered to help him look, just as a woman drove by, saying they saw him down by the schoolyard, where where we’d found Xena. Off he went to retrieve his pooch.

Initially I was relieved when I heard the neighbor scolding his dog for getting out- he made it home safe, so that’s good. But then came the crying. There is no sound more heartbreaking than that of a frightened animal in pain. I ran to the slider door and found myself paralyzed. Here was my neighbor with what appeared to be a very large wooden broom handle, raising it above his head and bringing it down. Yeeow! Again. And again. And again. And again. When he finally turned around I shut my eyes tight, willing the scene out of my mind, trying to block out the pitiful whimpering. THUD! My eyes shot open to see him going at it again. THUD! THUD! THUD! I was shaking so badly I thought I would faint. The neighbor between our houses ran out the back door, stopped short of his gate, and went back inside.

Then just as soon as it had started, it was over.

I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. I wanted to hop the two fences to that sick bastard’s house and beat him with that fat wooden pole- see how he liked it. But most of all, I wanted to save that poor dog. I dialed 911. Hung up. Fear fueled my anxiety, the beast hardly containable. Is this an emergency? Do I call animal control? What about the shelter? Should I just go over there? Oh god, what do I do?! After scouring the internet, I settled on the non-emergency dispatch. The woman took my information, and what felt like eons later, a female officer with animal control called me.

I told her what happened, desperately fighting back the tears that kept choking me up. In a very kind voice, she thanked me for reporting this. She wanted me to know that there was a good possibility that there wouldn’t be much that they could do, unless the dog showed clear signs of neglect. I knew this, but it still felt like a knife to my heart. Never had I wished for such a thing, but I did then. If only I’d recorded it. What the fuck was I thinking?! We live in an age where you can’t take a shit without someone wanted to capture the moment, and I couldn’t even get a single photo to save this poor animal.

After another trillion years, she finally arrived, and I watched from my craft room window as she approached the door. Knock knock. Again. That pole coming down on that poor animal, trapped inside, afraid, but hopefully alive. Again. And again. No answer. That sackless coward. She wrote up some papers, put them in the door, and off she went. Nothing that can be done about it. These kinds of cases are incredibly hard, because the animals don’t have a voice. They can’t tell us…

What a sick, awful truth that is. And what an even sicker, more awful world when a very large, grown man, uses a very large wooden stick to beat senseless a small, defenseless animal, on the other side of the fence, to “protect” himself, I’m sure. And for what? For running away. For trying to escape exactly the abuse being doled out presently. For trying to find a better life.

If I could, I would walk over, unlatch the gate, and carry you home with me. I would nurse your wounds and give you a safe place to lay your head. I would tell you what a good boy you are, and take you for walks. But I cannot do these things. I cannot prove the horrors you’ve suffered. I cannot take you away. I cannot save you today. But I will keep vigil over your yard. I will keep you in every thought. I will capture the evidence, should he dare hurt you again. I will hope night and day that it doesn’t come to that. But I have no other options. I am helpless as you. I have a voice, but only my word. But I will fight to the ends of the earth to save you, and all the others.

Because you have no voice, and you can’t tell us…

(If you notice or have suspicions of neglect or abuse, PLEASE speak up. More information on animal cruelty and how to report it can be found on the ASPCA’s website.)

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