Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dogs Enslaved By Clueless People

I just spent the better part of my morning on the floor of a hallway talking nonstop to a terrified dog while a maintenance crew worked in her kitchen. I succeeded in calming her enough that she didn’t tremble, but not enough that she’d let me near her, though she’d met me before.

How miserable life must be for a pooch who can hardly be with her own shadow. She’s as emotionally trapped as Jasmine, a dog whose “guardians” trapped her physically.

I read of Jasmine’s plight on Daley’s Dog Years, a blog written by a journalist about her life with a senior pooch. (She provides all sorts of wonderful information for dog people—especially, of course, for those with elderly canines. She also discusses Degenerative Myelopathy. If you hear those two deadly words from your vet, be sure to read Daley’s Dog Years BEFORE you allow your vet to talk you into taking extreme measures.)

Jasmine was house-trained and was once an inside dog who enjoyed playing at the dog park. Now, at 14, she’s arthritic and deaf and tied to her doghouse outside, where she is fed and given water by neighbors while her family lives 40 miles away. Jasmine is alone most of the time, except for a feral cat who visits.

Did you get all that? Yup, Jasmine gets no exercise, no walks, no conversation, no interaction, nada nada nada.

Then a group called Old Dog Haven in Washington got wind of her. They work only with senior dogs, placing them in what they call a “Final Refuge”: a loving home where elderly pooches can spend the remaining portion of their lives, whether it’s a few months or a few years. The nonprofit even covers the medical expenses of the dogs they place.

Old Dog Haven posted an urgent message on Facebook regarding Jasmine and someone responded—someone who already had one old dog, 16-year-old Jazzy (on the left in the pic). After meeting Jasmine on her property, he took her home to see if the old girls could accept each other.

The result? I think the photos say it all (Jasmine’s on the right, though now she’s more frequently called Sweet Pea).

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