Saturday, February 7, 2009

A strange quiet

Submitted by Janell Matthies, UAN emergency services manager

I’m sitting on a very cold slab of concrete between boxes and boxes and boxes of PetSmart Charities supplies. It’s the only (relatively) quiet place I can find to get some work done. We have many people here, trying to get the dogs situated, processed, documented, fed, cleaned, warm, etc. HSUS, PetSmart Charities and UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers are hard at work getting these poor dogs cared for. With over 300 animals in the temporary shelter, the work is never done.

These guys have the usual (and I almost cringe at that word, because it makes it sound normal for animals to be in this condition) maladies for puppy mill dogs. Extreme matting, loss of fur, horrible ear and eye infections, lacerations, open wounds, and the list goes on and on. Many of the dogs are so matted in the back they are unable to eliminate, something volunteers are hard at work to rectify. Seems like such a strange thing to be a priority.

Almost every dog has visible ribs, vertebrae, hip bones. The tartar on their teeth is the worst I’ve seen (the vets feel the same way). Most have tartar all the way across their teeth, so you can’t even see the individual teeth, just a big block of grey/green tartar. The rehabilitation on these dogs will be extensive, but luckily none of this is permanent (even though it was ALL preventable).

Some seem to be happy and accepting of our attention, but so many of them are just quiet. It’s a strange quiet. As we examine them they don’t struggle or look at us. They seem to just accept their fate, that we are going to do whatever we are going to do.

Many of the volunteers have noticed this and started spending individual time with certain dogs. They wrap them in a blanket and carry them around for a few hours, try and get them to eat something, just giving them special one-on-one attention. After this special treatment, many of the dogs begin to actually look at us. Some even wag their tail a little. I think they were/are depressed, just existing. They all have heavy chains around their necks (yes, even the Chihuahua puppies) with a USDA number on it. They look like auction animals or livestock, not pets or companions. The dogs are torn between being terrified of us and curiosity.

We are all still very weary after Friday's 18-hour day, sore and creaky, but still moving. These guys really, really, really need us. I am so grateful to Wayne County Animal Control for their diligent work over the past year. Somebody is going to absolutely LOVE each one of these dogs and these dogs are going to LOVE them back. Thank goodness they are in our care.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that look or lack there of in their eyes just heart breaking. I remember that from Parkersburg WV. When that look disappeared, I knew that my little gal knew she was home for good. My hubby kind of discribed it as a dead zone look. Now she is shiney eyed and sparkly all the time. The little guys you just rescued will get it too. Thank you so much for once again coming to the rescue. Hug one for me. Oh Poooh hug a bunch of them for me. Lots of love, Mcguyver girl Becky from Parkersburg


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.