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Sam and Me
There are so many needy animals up for adoption that it is really hard to believe that so many people patronize the pet shops. We humans as a race have done a rotten job caring for the animals that we claim to love. We let so many unwanted ones be born, and then simply have them put to sleep when they become inconvenient or dump them on the side of the road.
If you are thinking of getting a new animal companion, I must suggest as strongly as possible that you think of getting one of the animals for adoption to care for. After all, you will still have all the benefits of caring for a pet, and in addition will be making an important difference in the life of an animal.
There are many more animals for adoption then there are animals for sale. Fortunately, if those animals are small, furry, and cute, there is a much greater chance that someone will take them home.
The situation is much different for adult animals, or critters who have had a hard time of it. Even traditional pets, such as cats and dogs, become much less popular once they grow up. Here is one of my adopted animal stories.
I live on 28 acres and have a small herd of mini goats. On one trip into Knoxville, taking a kid into the Large Animal Vet school at UT, I stopped at Sam’s Club to wander around while the vets were neutering the kid. This is in a very busy part of town, with lots of traffic.
And as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, a dog, who was obviously in really bad shape, came up to the door as if looking for help.
Now the last thing I needed was another dog. I already had two at home, one of which absolutely hated any other animal that came into his domain, even though he was a stray at one time who adopted us. So I went into the store and bought dog cookies. When I came out, the dog was gone.
I hate to admit this, but I was relieved. That was, until I looked over into the adjacent mall parking lot and there he was, this time following an older couple, that was walking laps around the lot.
I drove over to the other lot, all the while having mixed feelings about becoming involved in this poor dog’s life. When I got out of the Explorer, he immediately came right over, and so did the man and woman. We talked about him for a bit, while I was feeding him dog cookies.
They were debating on whether or not to take him home and I was encouraging them to do just that. But in the end, they decided not to and walked on.
Now what? I couldn’t just drive off at this point, I had already looked into his eyes. With a little help, he got into the back of the Explorer and having every intention to take him to the animal shelter, we drove over to UT to pick up the goat on the way.
The girls there, the residents and students, took one look and decided to take care of his wounds, which were many. Here he was, surrounded by strangers, hurt and starving, never offering to snarl or snap. He laid on the gurney with his head in the crook of my arm, and closed his eyes and went to sleep. He never moved when they gave him a shot of Novacaine or something like it, so they could clean and stitch some of his wounds.
He never opened his eyes until it was time to go. I got the direction to the no-kill animal shelter and headed out. When I arrived, they were still closed and one of the volunteers told me through the window, that they couldn’t take him anyway, because I had just picked him up,
I needed to have had him for at least 10 days. She told me how to get to the city shelter. So off I went again. It had just started to rain when we arrived at the city animal shelter, I left him in the vehicle and went inside. I talked to a very busy, overworked woman, they were cleaning out cages at the time. I just had to ask, what were the chances of him being adopted. The woman smiled and said, they were good at this time, as long as he wasn’t an all black dog.
I started out the door in the rain with the leash she had given me, about the same time as the tears started to fall. As I opened the door, I looked in at a totally black dog sleeping on the passenger seat, not one spot of white on him, no tan, no other color, just black. I sat there for about 15 minutes, trying to think of what I could do next. I was envisioning the uproar when I got home with another dog. But then, I made up my mind, jumped out the door, ran into the building, gave her back her leash and said thanks, but I just can’t do it.
Well, that was over 5 years ago, August 2001, and Sam, I bet you can figure out how he got his name, is sawing logs a few feet away from me in his normal position, on his back with his feet up in the air. The doctor at UT volunteered to neuter him for me the next week, just because they all fell for him too, and because I had gotten him off the street.
Yes, Wicket, named after the cute little Ewok in StarWars, what a misnomer, still hates him for coming into his house, but we manage to maintain some peace. After about a month or two of recovering, I realized I should have named him Tigger, because he just bounces all over. If you know the Tigger song, that says “bouncy, bouncy bouncy”, that is him. And even though, the vets thought he was about 9 months old at the time I picked him up, he took quite a growth spurt, that took him from a starving 30 pounds to almost 80 pounds and gained about 3 to 4 inches in height. He really is quite a dog. And he is no longer solid black, there is a tiny thin line around his lips now, of gray. Like a little skinny mustache.
I wish everyone had a Sam story. There would be so many fewer dogs euthanized every year at the shelters. And most every area has a place that will help you as far as shots and neutering goes. Adopting an animal is truly the best way. If everybody did that, it would put the puppy mills out of business and save a lot of animals from having totally miserable lives.
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