I didn’t see the abandoned dog on Tuesday night although the food was gone Wednesday morning. So last night I kept milling about the yard discreetly after putting her food out to make sure she got her dinner and not some other roaming dog or critter.
As it happens, I didn’t see her come to the bowl but at one point I came around a bush and there she was eating. We surprised each other. It was the closest I’ve seen her and I could see all her bones were visible.
She started walking away. I could tell she was hesitant to leave the food but not trusting enough to stay, even though we were on opposite sides of the fence. She stopped in the road at one point and I thought it might be a good opportunity. So I made myself small and talked to her sweetly and in an encouraging manner. She looked at me me briefly before walking away to disappear in the overgrown brush at the trailer.
But it was in that moment – that look from her – that I understood something I hadn’t before. It isn’t simply that she is afraid of people. This dog does not know love. She has never known it and so, does not recognize it before her nor does she have any expectation that it exists in the world.
Dogs exist because humans made them into pets. They live for the opportunity to give and receive love from their people. To deprive a dog of that is cruel – but to deprive a dog of knowing that love exists – that is the worst kind of cruelty.
As I lay in bed last night, I thought of this dog, how skinny she looks and who knows what else she might be suffering from, and I became afraid. I feared she could die without ever knowing that there is love in this world for her. I love her. I know most anyone who met her would love her. I wish I could help her see me as someone other than a bothersome woman who likes to interrupt her eating with sweet talk. I hope that over time, she will learn to recognize love. I hope she has at least that much time.
I’m giving her a name because she needs one. I’m going to call her Scout. I’m still trying to find some assistance for her pups and hoping my area no kill shelter has space for them. In the meantime, I’m doubling up on Scout’s food. I was already giving her a supersized portion but now she’ll get two mega-meals every day. I hope something works out for the pups soon. I clearly can’t afford to feed 7 more dogs. And I would hate for them to end up hit by cars as so often happens around here. I will keep you updated.
All paws crossed for good luck.