24 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Can I offer the closure to a somewhat random story?

    A little bit back I posted about finding an older dog wandering the neighborhood and how I was eventually able to locate the owners and return him home. I mentioned the dog looked a little unkempt…not well-groomed, longer nails, no teeth…but that he was also visibly a very old guy. In my attempts to find his home, I stopped by my regular animal hospital to have him scanned for a chip (which he did not have.)

    What I didn’t mention was everyone’s reaction to this dog, and it’s been on my mind since. Everyone basically told me that I should not bother finding the owner and that I should instead either keep him or turn him into a rescue. Because he wasn’t well-groomed and because he was intact and not chipped, that was evidence enough that his owners were unfit.

    When I did locate the owner’s house, they were not home at the time (I left a note on their door and they came and got him as soon as they saw it.) There was another dog in the yard…a much younger dog…who looked to be in very good condition. So I wasn’t satisfied that these owners were clearly neglectful. When the owner came home, I learned the little old guy was a recent adoption…basically a hospice case. So if I had followed everyone’s urgings, I would have stolen a senior dog who was lucky enough to find a home despite his age and issues.

    So I guess the moral is don’t be quick to make assumptions and judge people when you don’t know the story. But even then, I kept thinking…what if the dog *wasn’t* a recent rescue? Yeah, he wasn’t in the absolute best shape, and it’s not how I would have kept one of my pets. But the dog was by no means *suffering*. He wasn’t malnourished, he was wiggly-butt friendly once he warmed up to you, and he was *old*, so clearly the owners were doing something right. He had a nice big fenced yard and a doggy friend that he was overjoyed to reunite with (and because I’ve seen this house before, I knew the dogs were mostly kept inside). And yeah, he wasn’t neutered or chipped…but does that mean the owners didn’t deserve him back? Can we blame overpopulation for ‘making’ us kill homeless pets while encouraging people to *steal* owned dogs because we don’t agree with how they’re kept? Yes, obviously the story would be very different if the dog had untreated injuries or was underweight or had nails so long he couldn’t walk. But none of those things were the case.

    Sorry for ranting a bit, I just needed a place to vent because I really can’t stop thinking about it. It’s doubly disturbing because I think once upon a time I would have been one of the people encouraging the finder not to return the dog…I was very quick to judge, quick to label people bad owners on little evidence, and quick to talk about the evils of the ‘irresponsible’ public.

    1. There could have been another explanation! While the economy is picking up, there are, still, people out of work! The dog could have wandered off from a home in this situation. If that had been the case, maybe the people couldn’t afford the high price of grooming, etc, but loved the dog & wasn’t about to dump him in a “high-kill” shelter as, so, many do! I email rescues for animals in these shelters. You wouldn’t believe how many dogs are dumped due to getting older & many other unacceptable reasons…..TO ME!!!! Older dogs are hard to place, even though they are wonderful, loving, family dogs or dogs suitable to a senior! I live on $600 a month & nothing would give me reason to dump my cat no matter what! I certainly wouldn’t dump him in a shelter of any kind. And this dog that was found may have had health issues that kept these people from bothering it with the toenail trimming, etc. You, just, never know. Had the dog belonged to an elderly person, they would be devastated not to get their dog back!

      1. That was one of my thoughts…he was an old dog, so what if he had bad hips and arthritis, and the owners didn’t want to cause pain or stress him by clipping his nails or grooming his rear end? This dog wasn’t terribly matted or anything, just scruffy. But unless a dog is sparkling clean and perfectly groomed, people will slap on the abused and neglected label based entirely on that.

    2. I too used to be quick to judge owners who lost their pets. I think we tend to invest so many emotions into these situations because the animal is basically defenseless and dependent upon humans for care but these feelings can cloud our judgment. While I don’t deny that there are irresponsible owners, just as there are irresponsible parents, drivers, etc., I do believe they represent a very small percentage overall. I think most people are trying to do right by their pets. We all have the opportunity to grow and learn and for that I’m thankful.

      1. If our oldest dog got loose, and was found, I’m sure many people would decide that we’re bad owners because his teeth are gross, and he’s rather wobbly and has lost a lot of muscle tone, so he looks (well, he IS) a little feeble. However, because he’s a greyhound, he’s always looked a little or a lot thin to lots of people unfamiliar with the breed. In his prime he weighed 78-80 lbs and now, at 14 1/4 yrs, he’s 68lbs, so yes, his ribs and hip bones are easily seen, but he’s not malnourished. Greyhounds have a real problem with the enamel on their teeth, and need their teeth cleaned every few years unless their owners are religious about brushing every day – and then they might get away with having the vet do it every four years. Sadly, three years ago, we thought he had bone cancer, and another dog had bladder cancer (ending with the final kindness), so we spent more than our budget on care that didn’t involve his teeth. Then two years ago, when we’d built up some money, another dog needed that for her serious medical issues and demise. Because we had dogs that were basically a year apart in age, they basically got sick and needed assistance in that same order as they aged, and last year, the oldest (before this one) needed a chunk of money for her care and journey over the bridge. Our biggest problem is that we’d lost two previous greyhounds under anesthesia, so we did keep putting off his dental cleaning with everything else going on. And now, we really don’t expect him to be with us for a whole lot longer, so we’ve decided, since he eats well, and his bloodwork is within normal limits, we’re not going to spend the $800-$1000 on his teeth, as we just started spending ‘his’ budgeted money on old age issues of various kinds. We just want him to age as well as can be expected and pulling most of his teeth (which is what the vet thinks would need to be done if we did have his teeth cleaned) isn’t what we feel will benefit him as much as arthritis meds, and laser treatments to keep him comfortable. We’ve hung on to ‘his’ special couch (which I hate and will get rid of right after he leaves us), and we know he’s as happy as he can be (even though he’s love to run and go on long walks, those are impossible now) with daily mini-romps in the big back yard, and special treats and attention. He’s very well-loved, although you do NOT want to have him breathe on you! :-)

    1. Something is wrong with this – my guess is there is more to the story than a nonfunctional air conditioner. How tragic for the pups and for their owners. I hope it isn’t dismissed as a tragic accident. Too many things don’t add up – other ac units in the house, overnight temperature 80 degrees, telling the owners the dogs had run away . . . RIP pups.

      1. I have to think that at the very least, the dogs were in that room without AC for longer than just one night. Either that or it was a very poorly constructed room with no ventilation.

  2. Politician’s son was responsible for care of the dogs at the AZ boarding facility at the time of their deaths:

    As the owners of 20 dogs wait for answers as to why their pets died at a Gilbert boarding service, Fox 10 News has learned that the son and daughter-in-law of US Senator Jeff Flake were tasked with caring for the dogs while the boarding house’s owners were out of town.

    County deputy doesn’t appear to be taking the investigation seriously:

    On Saturday, an MCSO deputy told dog owners, “that something stupid happened I totally agree with you. That it is a crime? I do not agree with you.”

    1. Shirley, all the dogs were in the room loose. Big dogs, little dogs, all loose. The county deputy may not be taking this seriously but Sheriff Joe Arpio is and he will conduct a full investigation and whoever is responsible for this will be held accountable.

      1. I hope you are right. Whenever the family member of a prominent politician is involved in a criminal investigation, it makes me suspicious as to how hard anyone is really trying to get justice. It’s already so difficult to get cases involving animals to be taken seriously and this just adds another layer.

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