On Monday, September 12, we had to go to work and leave Nutmeg and Nora in their crate during the day. I planned to come home at lunch time and let them out. I can imagine how much they cried when we left.
The rescue organization gave me the name of the dogs’ vet, so I called them to see if I could obtain their records for their new vet. Since HIPAA laws don’t apply to dogs, this was surprisingly easy. I was surprised that the person who answered the phone at Chagrin Animal Clinic seemed to be familiar with this pair. They must have a lot of patients, I thought. Why would these two stand out?
After receiving a nine-page fax from the vet, I scanned their records quickly and found the following alert, dated 8/4/11: “Owner had called asking prices of euthanasia. These are 2 1/2 year old dogs. Recommend Rescue Village, Rosie’s Rescue, Cairn Terrier Rescue, PetFinder.com. We will not euthanize healthy young dogs.”
The records contained the name and address of the owner, so I put my investigative powers to work and Googled them. It turns out that the owner died in mid July, so just about two weeks after her death, the husband wanted her dogs put to death. She must have had an illness that made it difficult for her to care for the dogs, because as I mentioned earlier, the rescue organization said they had been in a kennel for two months.
What was the owner’s husband thinking? Did he think the dogs couldn’t live without his wife? Were they just costing too much in the kennel? Why didn’t it occur to him to place them with a rescue organization? Was he is such a state of grief that he wasn’t thinking clearly? Thanks to Chagrin Animal Clinic and The Animal Rescue Center, these dogs are still alive.
At lunchtime, I went home and looked at those dogs with new eyes. They’ve been through a lot. Who knows what their life was like before they were put into the kennel? Perhaps the husband wasn’t very nice to them. They do seem to be much more cautious around Jim than they are with me.
So, just as our family has been through a recent loss of our pets, Nutmeg and Nora have been through the recent loss of their owner. It’s going to take them a little while to learn that they don’t need to flinch from our hands when we touch them, that our hands will never hurt them. I hope that our gentle ways with them will help them to be kinder to each other, too. But, I have a feeling that just kindness alone won’t be enough to undo some of the damage that’s been done, so I think some dog research is in order. . .