Keeping Them in the Family



Pictured are Violet and Havoc. Both were surrendered to a local animal shelter by their owner due to a move. Each dog that enters the shelter system has a "cage card" that provides minimal details about each dog. Reasons for intake are usually just a few words: Move, Responsibility, Too Many, Illness.


When I arrived to the shelter to pull Havoc, one of the kennel staff intercepted me and asked me if I had seen "the very scared girl" in the next row over. She escorted me to the cage so that I could see her. She was hunched in the corner and shaking uncontrollably. The employee mentioned that she came from the same home as Havoc. The shelter doesn't always place dogs from the same family in the same kennel.


I immediately leashed Violet and coaxed her out of her cage. We walked outside as I wanted to determine her level of fear and get a sense of her temperament. We walked down a walkway in the outdoor dog runs and to my surprise, Havoc was in a dog run. When I walked Violet toward Havoc, he cried and stuck his paw outward to try and touch Violet. This was heart-wrenching to witness. I decided to rescue both dogs. There was no way I was going to leave one behind from the same family.


Fast forward many months. I received an email from a person who claimed to be Havoc's owner. She wanted to know when she could come see him and that she had been trying to find him. She even included that she was shaking uncontrollably since seeing his picture on Facebook. I informed her that Havoc was surrendered by his owner and that she must have the wrong dog. She claimed that her ex-boyfriend stole her dogs when she tried to break up with him. The first thought was, "Why did it take you so long to find them?". I asked her to provide the details, pictures, and proof of ownership. I also added that I need to contact the shelter and determine what I was allowed to do. The next question I asked her was, "What were the things you did to find them?" That seemed like a good place to start. She responded, "I set up a name alert on Petfinder." "That's it?", I questioned.


The conversations that took place between the former owner and myself went on for weeks. I began to realize that most people who are urgently looking for their stolen dogs would at the very least, contact the police and file a report, they would contact the microchip company, and at the VERY least, go the the local shelter and look for them right away. The owner lives 15 minutes from the shelter. They were there for so long that Violet was sent to have spay surgery. Violet was surrendered while she was still lactating. The owner admitted that she had bred her twice.


Finally, I had enough and informed her that I have to go by facts and that her name was on the owner surrender form and that she made no attempt to seriously look for Havoc and Violet. Just last week, the owner asked if she could volunteer at the rescue because she wanted to know more about the breed. She wanted to volunteer (I don't accept volunteers) at a rescue where her dogs are housed? She wants me to trust her around my dogs and educate her about the breed? See, anyone can be a backyard breeder and it doesn't require the breeder to know anything. You don't have to have outstanding morals or look out for the interest of the dog. It's disgusting.


I want to believe that everyone tells the truth. I am constantly reminded that trust should never come easy and if a person can breed a dog and sell the pups AND still be able to emotionally dump that dog at a shelter, this person doesn't deserve any animal.


I'm so grateful I was able to get both Havoc and Violet. Their kennels are next to each other (no visible barrier) and they enjoy running outside together. To know them so well now and to think of them entering the back door of the shelter and being separated, makes me very upset. To know that Violet was lactating when she was dumped, makes me furious.


-Amber Marks

©2020 Amber Marks



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