Monday, June 16, 2008

My Mom called the other day. She was very excited, and not in a good way. She called to tell me she had two newfs in her garage, one black, one brown, no collars, no tags. What should she do? She had called the dog warden, who told her to call the police. What on earth the police would do with two newfs was beyond her, so she called me. I told her to keep them in the garage and make sure they had plenty of water (which, of course, she didn't need me to tell her as she had already done just that)and I'd be over her house ASAP (she lives almost an hour away, depending on traffic). When I arrived, she had already gotten in touch with the local vet, who thought she knew who they might belong to. She told Mom a family lived about 1/2 mile away who had newfs which fit the description, she'd try to get hold of them and call my Mom back.
When I saw these two, my heart sank. Both were very friendly and cheerful dogs, both had been trimmed (all over, their coat was short), both matted, especially the brown. I couldn't even tell the sex due to the amount of matting, I could tell by the head the brown was a female, but the black I wasn't so sure. Had a narrower head than most males, but had male eyes, those deep, soulful eyes. They both were emaciated, the black about 90 lbs and the brown about 80. They were tall and long-legged, but very thin. The brown had obvious hip problems, and her entire spine was visible. Neither knew any commands, both very hungry. The brown ate all the cat food, and I had brought some of our food, which they gobbled right up. I would have thought they were abandoned but for the trimming and the very cheerful, friendly disposition. They also smelled. They smelled really bad, talk about wet dog! Wet dog times 10 is more like it. They were obviously outdoor dogs.
Finally, after lunch a lady calls. "You have my dogs, I hear." Uh, you want to tell me who you are and describe the dogs? Yup, they were hers. We chatted a bit, and the more I found out, the more upset I got. She has more than two newfs, all intact. She's breeding them, the brown had already had a litter. She wanted to recoup what she paid for the dogs, and make enough to build a new kennel, because the one she had wasn't containing the dogs. She said one of her kids must have left the kennel door unlatched when feeding this morning. Then she said I could just let them loose, they'd find their way back home, they run away every day. Uh, aren't you afraid they might get hit by a car? The road they are on is not the same dead-end road they live on, and cars fly by here pretty fast. I told her I'd bring them home, but if they showed up again at my parents house, they would not be able to bring them home.
So I asked the two if they wanted to go for a ride. They jumped to their feet and into the back of the wagon. They didn't like it when I closed the door, though. I drove them home, and that was when I saw the apalling conditions they lived in. Perhaps there was another pen they are kept in, if so I did not see one, all I saw was a 10' x 6' pen with a gravel floor. For four newfs. No one left the pen unlatched, no one had put them in the pen at all. I had to struggle to get it open, and the latch was way above my head. The food dish was outside the pen, as well as half a bag of Pedigree dog food closed up lying on the ground next to the dish. All dogs were thin, and one was pregnant. None looked older than two years. Poop everywhere. It broke my heart to have to put these dogs into that tiny pen, but I also couldn't leave them out. She had told me her neighbors are ticked at her because her dogs are always running loose. I cried all the way home.
She probably doesn't think she is doing anything wrong. This was how people kept dogs 20 years ago. But here she is breeding and selling dogs with no testing, no regard for the displasia she is passing along, and who knows what else, her only concern was to make a few bucks. I wanted to vomit.
I went home and hugged my two beautiful, happy, healthy newfs.