This week, I will tell you the story of some dogs who came into my hands from little more than a puppy mill. Even as I wrote this, I could feel my anger surfacing at the lack of love and caring these little innocent creatures endured at the hands of their previous owners.
A NEW LIFE FOR THREE LITTLE DOGS
I answered an ad in the paper, one toy poodle female, one male Shih Tzu, and two Shih Tzu females for sale. At first I thought I was talking on the phone to a responsible dog breeder who loved her dogs and cared for them properly. I asked her many questions and she seemed to give good answers. One question was, "do the Shih Tzu girls have good bites, good teeth alignment for a Shih Tzu." Oh yes, she says, excellent bites on them. And the toy poodle girl is the same age as them, only a year old. I did not want the male, but she said if I bought the three females, I could have him for free. Because he was already five, I knew I would be turning around and finding him a home, but went for it, hook, line, and sinker.
I sent the lady, one half the money down to hold them for me, until I could get to the city.
We ended up agreeing to meet in Smokey Lake half way between her place and mine.
Well it was pouring rain that day, coming down in buckets. I arrived early at the parking lot, where we were to meet. Here comes her truck, a crew cab, you know with a back seat in it.
She has her adult daughter with her, but you know, those poor dogs could have been in kennels in the back seat, but no, in the pouring rain, they were crammed, four of them, in one lousy kennel in the back of that truck. They were soaked, laying in two inches of water, shivering, frightened and cold. They were miserable.
I was wild, but kept my tongue. This woman jumps in the back, opens the cage and drags out the wee poodle girl first, by the scruff of the neck, and hands her to me. I lifted her lip to check her teeth, she was at least three yrs old, not one year old. And terrified of human contact. Just remembering, I am already getting choked up. Obviously, I was dealing with a puppy mill. Obviously, there was something wrong with this shivering creature, and she was dumping her. Holding her gently, I put her into my car, when already I wanted to say, give my money back, you cruel unspeakable person, you. Then she dragged out, the one who turned out to be Katie, again dangling her over the truck box to me by the scruff of the neck. Like the poodle, she was in good flesh, had been fed, like the poodle she was petrified of humans. I lift her lip to check her age by her teeth. She is only about 1 and a half years old, but never have I seen a worse bite on a Shih Tzu, as you may know they can be bad. And missing teeth already, because the top and bottom teeth were so misaligned, they knock each other out. And a double row of teeth because the baby teeth, had never fallen out or been pulled, as the adult teeth came in.
I had said nothing about the poodle being older than she had told me, but now I said to her, "I asked you if these Shih Tzus had good teeth, and you said yes". She shrugged and said, no "Shih Tzu has good teeth, so I never lied really". Meanwhile, she is dangling the other girl over the truck box. Again, frightened, struggling to escape, I examine her. Well, they are full sisters, so of course, bad bite. I am shaking now with anger, but over the years, I have had to learn to control my outbursts, and now manage to do so. I place her in the car with the other two.
Now is when, I lost my temper. This woman drags out the free male Shih Tzu, bragging about what a great breeder he is, how many pups he's had. All that rain could never wash the stink from a dog forced to live in his own pee and crap. Except for poor teeth, at least the females, had good body conformation, this poor creature was the most ill build, poor quality Shih Tzu, I have ever seen in my life. And now for the worse part........................................
All these dogs had had a hatchet grooming job, done on them. But they had failed to leave the hair on his tail. As any breeder should know, a curled tail breed, who gets the tail hair cut off, may begin to chew the end of his naked tail. And he had ate his own tail end, off..............
Just raw, bone left. I lost it. First, I started on being lied to, then I started on, why they couldn't have been carried in the back seat out of the rain. Then I started on that poor miserable creatures condition of his tail. The adult daughter gets out of the truck, starting to pull this loud mouthed indignant act, and I came totally unglued. The daughter sees that I am foaming at the mouth, and promptly gets back in the truck. The woman says, give me the other half of the money or I take them all back home, and you can kiss your one half payment down, goodbye.
I am not letting her get her hands on those girls in my car, ever again. As for the male, I told her to keep him. Because, chances are he's never going to quit chewing his tail now that he has started and I had agreed to take him, only because I would find him a good home? Who is going to adopt him? I had asked and he was not housetrained.
Once on the road, a few miles later, I come to my senses. I must take the male, I can have him examined at a small town vet clinic on the way home. Though I know that the vet will probably say, to just put him down. Even that is far better than, the suffering he is enduring now. I pull over and grab the cell phone. I know I have her cell number and her home number. I know she can't have traveled more than a few miles either. I will even now PAY something for him, just to get him and see he doesn't have to suffer anymore. Well, for the first time ever, I never took the person I was going to meet, their cell phone number with me. The numbers are back at my place, in Bonnyville. I have never forgiven myself for not taking him in the first place.
The next week, his ad comes out in the Edmonton paper, top quality Shih Tzu male for sale, $250.00 I have a friend in the city phone, the creep of a human being, never mentions his tail. Three weeks later, the ad comes out, $150.00. Three weeks later, free male Shih Tzu.
He was filthy, he was not housetrained, and his poor tail was savaged. He is dead, no doubt, as no one would have taken him. I pray, his suffering is over anyway possible.
Calista, the 7 pound girl poodle, was bred and produced me one pup by ceasarian. The vet said, he does not know how she even got pregnant, as her uterus was improperly formed. The woman must have kept her for at least three years, she never got pregnant, so she sells her to me as a one year old. Calista now lives in Sakatoon, Sask. with an elderly couple and is spoiled rotton. Very good home. I had horse friends from this womans home town, who worked very hard, asking questions of everyone in her vicinity, and even going to her place on the pretense of buying a pup, who finally were able to fill me in on Krissy and Katies life there. They were purchased at a few weeks old, promptly thrown into an old barn type building with not even a single window for much needed sunlight. They were fed, but thats it. Period. Fed, never loved or handled.
My vet thinks that the lack of sunlight, ( all animals must have sunlight to grow and develop properly) is the reason they never shed their baby teeth, causing an already poor bite (common to Shih Tzus) to be even worse. Because they had lived in the dark so long, the sun hurt and irritated their eyes for close to a month at their new home with me. I am now told that their very bones may be prone to easily breaking and disease because they grew up without sunlight.
They have been here for approx. 1 and a half years now. In that dark, stinking barn, they developed no social skills, but especially Krissie, have learned a lot. They must have slept or nested higher up in a manger or something, as they are only happy if living off the floor, on top of a kennel, on a shelf in the porch, even jumping from the rim of the bath tub, into the bathroom sink, and sleeping happily there. Also, no matter how many toys they have, no matter how many chew bones, they have, they only play with their water and food dish. Obviously that is all they had to amuse themselves. They collect toys and bones, and hoard them, but spill their dishes every day, in order to play with them. Krissie will now let my friends pet her and scratch her, but little Katie gets instantly stressed around anyone but me.
I don't know how you feel, but as far as I'm concerned these sweethearts have earned their right into heaven, that wicked, uncaring woman has earned her way into hell.
Krissy and Katie will someday hopefully be ready for adoption, together as a pair. If not they will live their lives out right here on the farm, here in the house and with a dog door that leads outside to Freedom, Sunshine, Happiness and room to play.