A thin little dog in great despair showed up earlier this week at the home of a longtime rescuer.
He had obviously been abandoned — a terribly cruel fate for any unwanted animal, and one which happens way too often.
When the rescuer got near the poor dog to pick him up and get him to a veterinarian, prior to taking him in as a foster pet, she realized he had "the worst odor you can imagine. Then I saw the reason. His collar was imbedded in his neck," she told me in this very sad phone call.
"He was obviously in great pain," she said.
Because the rescuer had recently had surgery and her incision wasn't completely healed, she feared picking up the little dog.
"I felt I couldn't risk it. I didn't know what all he had going on and whether he might even be scared enough to bite me. Normally this would not have even entered my mind but after my recent surgery and giving it some thought, something told me not to risk it," she said.
Instead, she called Animal Control at 479-2122 and asked that an officer come and get the little dog.
"The officer, Roy Womack, soon arrived at our home and the minute he looked at the dog he said he would immediately take him to a veterinarian. I gave him one of our crates and he put the dog in it to carry him to at vet. I was so relieved to know the pitiful little dog would not be suffering any longer," she said, following the ordeal.
"We all need to spread the word and plead with pet owners who are moving and can no longer keep a pet or [are] having other problems in their lives, not to abandon an innocent pet.”
The end result of this is usually that the pet suffers either from being hit by a vehicle and terribly injured or killed, or from starvation or from getting attacked by other animals.
If you cannot keep a pet, please call Animal Control at the municipal Cleveland Animal Shelter on Hill St. at 479-2122. You can either take the pet to the shelter on weekdays, 11 a.m. to 5 pm., or on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, or ask for an animal control officer to come and get the pet. Also, prior to a call for help to the shelter, try calling respected rescuers or breed-specific rescuers for help," she urged.
"Make sure the rescuers will get the pet veterinary care and screen all potential adopters," she said.
She also pleaded with pet owners to keep pets indoors, but if that is not possible to make sure they have "a nice, warm doghouse with straw inside, set up off the ground on top of two bricks on each corner.
“They need plentiful water in containers that are set about two inches dug out below ground level to keep water from freezing quickly, as it does in this winter weather.
“Then ask neighbors or family members to check the water often to make sure it hasn't frozen if you are gone from home. Keeping quality pet food fresh for them is also vital. We hear too many stories about poor dogs kept on a chain without attention and minus fresh water, a warm doghouse and good, nourishing food provided daily," she added.
"And finally, before you adopt a cute kitten or puppy or a charming adult dog or cat, please think ahead. What if you have to move? What if you are too busy to care for the pet? What if your children who desperately wanted a pet soon grow disinterested in it? Will you keep be willing to keep this pet in your home with you where all pets should be kept as family members? Will you be able to afford veterinary care at the rate of about $600 a year in order to provide needed exams, vaccinations, heartworm preventives, grooming and unexpected physical ailments?
“This are all things that must be considered before adopted an innocent pet," emphasized the dedicated rescuer.
Paws up this week to: Drs. Brian and Kenneth Beard; Peggy Pesterfield; Terry Rogers; Terry and Olive Templin; Diane Mayfield; and all who rescued a pet with the assurance of providing a wonderful, long life in a forever home.
To reach the Cleveland Municipal Animal Shelter, 360 Hill St., call 479-2122. Call me with your pet and wildlife stories, or write to P.O. Box 4864, Cleveland TN 37320.