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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Harry Didn't Have To Die Today.

Harry, happy and healthy, in better times with me. 

Harry was a 9 pound "toy" Miniature Schnauzer. He lived in my rescue, Sheila's Schnauzies, for six years. Last year, incredibly (I thought at the time) a lady in Liberty, Missouri wanted to adopt him as a companion for her other toy Miniature Schnauzer. Both dogs had issues with biting and snapping and she assured me Harry would be no problem to deal with, she was very used to that. Okay fine.

Apparently she was getting ready to leave on a vacation in early October and she contacted a local rescuer, telling her she needed to get rid of Harry THAT day.  Well, things don't usually happen quite that fast in rescue - foster homes and transport must be arranged, all kinds of things. Anyway she wasn't willing to deal with the rescuer's suggestions and tried to give Harry to a family with kids in Kansas. Well,  obviously that didn't end well. After 30 minutes the family called wanting to get rid of him. She picked him back up, and her next stop was apparently to the Liberty, MO animal shelter, where she dumped him on October 17.

Harry,  in a photo that was included with the email - obviously terrified, uncared for, and his tail down. He NEVER held his tail down. 

Fast forward to today.  Another rescuer who became aware of the situation did her job, putting the email word out about Harry. We frequently crosspost rescue dogs in hopes that someone, somewhere, could help them.  I received a frantic phone call from my volunteer, Sheryl, who lives in Iowa, just before lunchtime. She had received the email about Harry and immediately recognized him.

I hung up and called the Liberty animal shelter and had to leave a message. They called me back in about 30 minutes with some very sad news.  Harry had been euthanized just this morning. I missed saving his little life by a couple of hours. I was just absolutely sick with grief.  How could this have happened! We had an agreement with the adopter that if for any reason she didn't want Harry, she must contact us and we would take him back.

I managed to contact her by phone shortly after, and let her know Harry was dead.  She had absolutely no reaction, no remorse, no nothing. I asked her WHY she had not called us and her response was, "I wasn't gonna send him back to you guys." I asked her why in the world not, and her reply was "We don't need to discuss this - we aren't going to talk about this" and hung up on me. And that was that.

I have written so, so many times about the fact that there are two kinds of people where animals are concerned - those that view them as property, and those who view them as souls.  I am obviously from the latter category, and this adopter is obviously from the former. I just don't get it. She spoke to two different rescue groups, and had help offered; she had a contract agreement to contact me, and didn't; instead she chose to sentence him to death by dumping him at a high-kill public shelter.  She damn well knew better.

Nothing will ever help me get over this. All I can do is to learn a big freaking lesson from it - don't trust people where animals are concerned.  Or as Reagan said, "Trust - but verify."  Anyone who adopts a dog from me in the future will agree to a vet reference, a background check, employment verification, and who knows, maybe a credit check.  Hey, they have to be able to afford to maintain the dog and with this lady, it was apparently an issue. If she was leaving on vacation, and had the choice of boarding one dog or two... maybe finances were a factor, I don't know.

I can never thank the rescuers who got involved enough for their efforts.  Everybody tried, everybody pulled together to save him - I found out one of the KC rescuers actually had an adoption placement for Harry and they were going to pick him up today!! Sadly, we were all just a hair too late. Nobody's fault.

Right now I am beyond anger, somewhere in the land of rage... and when I am there, the best thing is for me to be quiet and calm down and get my focus back. So for the next few days I will be holing up and caring for my furkids, and trying to remember some happy moments with Harry.   But watch out - after that, there will be action.  As in legal, if I can raise the funds.  And definitely tightening up our adoption process and contracts.

Hug your furkid if you have one. Help a shelter pet if you don't. Do it in Harry's name, and I thank you.

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