4 days ago
Monday, January 11, 2016
If you are like me, you cringe when the Humane Society commercials come on the TV. They are effective however and do get the message across. This is an older post of mine from 2009 that keeps getting hits and is in the same vein as those dreaded commercials. Sorry but this will help to explain my next post.
The dog stopped his plodding on the dirt road and whined at his predicament. The itching was more than he could ignore. Reluctantly, he raised his hind leg to dig at his shoulder. The digging changed his problem from one of intense itching to intense pain. His whine rose to a howl as the itching and pain swirled together in an agonizing frenzy. Blood oozed down his side with the trickle setting off more itching.
He looked down at his feet, his naked feet for there was no hair, just swollen, pink, bloody, skin. The hair had been gone for a while, only a few bristles remained. Each step caused the skin on the misshapen feet to crack and bleed. He licked his foot but that caused pain also, so he quit. Hunger and thirst fought toe to toe for his attention but pain always won.
He remembered how happy he had been that day to go for a ride. The back of the pickup truck was a favorite place. It offered a wonderful mixture of exciting smells in the wind that lifted his ears and caressed his face. Dog would normally bound from side to side of the truck bed in excitement. He didn't that day for his feet hurt. His skin had been itching a lot lately but the thrill of the ride helped take his mind off it. After a very long time, the truck stopped and his two legged keeper lowered the tail gate and motioned for him to get out which was OK for he had to pee.
He searched briefly to find a suitable spot. His leg was hiked when the door slammed and the motor roared to life. He cut his stream short and went to jump back in the truck. The gate was now up and the truck drove quickly off in the opposite direction, throwing dirt in his face. Stunned for only a second, he barked and ran after the truck which slowly became a speck, then it disappeared. Totally confused, he returned back to where they had stopped and waited. It got dark and while he was hungry, he dare not move for fear that when Two Legs came back, he wouldn't find him. So he waited.
Before the second dark approached, Dog thought that maybe Two Legs couldn't find him so he started down the road in the direction the truck had taken. He drank the ditch water to ease his thirst, but hunger was really gnawing at him. His nose tested the air for any trace of food.
Ditch water and the rare road kill kept him alive but each day his skin shrank closer on the now protruding bones and the itching had intensified mightily. Traffic was rare and the few vehicles sped by him unaware or uncaring. None belonged to Two Legs. He saw game but was too slow and unskilled to catch it. Each failed chase wore him down more.
As days passed, the constant heat eventually dried up the ditch water. The skies stayed clear and the sun boiling hot. He wasn't sure how many darks had passed, he lost count.
He sank in the dust at the edge of the road, wincing as the soft dirt felt like sandpaper to his skin. The blazing sun burned his almost naked body but he was just too weak to go further. His head lay quiet in the dirt, his breath blew little puffs of dust as he thought back to happier times and wondered what he had done wrong. It must have been something really really bad. Turkey Vultures circled with interest from high above. Their supper was coming.
That was when I found him. I thought he was dead till I saw a hind leg feebly attempting to scratch. I pulled over and went back to see if my eyes had played tricks. He was alive but was in deplorable shape. I wrapped him in a towel for his skin was oozing and he reeked. He was amazingly light for a medium sized dog. He did not resist nor help my efforts. He could care less what I was doing. Color and breed were not distinguishable.
He spent a week at the vets with IVs, worming, antibiotics, dippings and regular meals. When I picked him up, he was a different dog. His skin was still bare but it was whole and the red of the Demodectic (Red) Mange had faded to gray. Thank goodness for Mitaban which in those days removed the death sentence from Red Mange. He had put on a bit of weight and his almond eyes showed interest. He was still a ratty looking dog but I knew he had turned the corner. He had a long way to go yet , but he had cheated the buzzards.
I called him Ratty due to his appearance but told him that Ratty was short for Radcliffe so he wouldn't get a complex. Several months with diligent care, he morphed into a fine looking, sweet natured, red nose pit bull/cross.
Not my picture but looks just like Ratty.
He and Chris, the teenage boy who worked for me, instantly bonded. When Ratty recovered, Chris became his proud new owner. Chris's family moved out of state a year later and we lost contact, but I know Ratty had the best of homes. He was adored by a caring family.
Sadly Ratty's story is not unusual. Why people do not turn sick or unwanted dogs into the Humane Society or a no kill shelter, I will never understand. Dropping a dog off on the side of the road is the cruelest torture. Domestic dogs can not catch their food. They need a human with a gun or a couple of buddy dogs to catch food on the run. Even a wolf needs a pack. Domestic dogs use to kibble in a dish, have no clue.
Sadly not all dog stories end well. I am grateful this one did. Please support your Humane Society and local shelters. Think adoption or donation and thank you.
at 4:57 AM Posted by Arkansas Patti