Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The Rant at the Shelter
I was afraid to touch any of them as I thought I remember there being some sort of rule about sticking your hands through the fence. There were little buckets hung on the doors that said doggie treats, I remember feeling appalled at the thought. The building is in an L-shape. As we reached the half way point, a very old female basset hound took all of might and pulled herself up and over to the door, her tailed wagged every so slightly. Across from her two pitbulls sat together just staring into space. And as we turn the corner into the L, it was obvious the dogs in this section had banded together even though they were all in separated cages. The leader of the group barked and jumped with enthusiasm until my husband went over to greet him and his bark became more of a warning. We turned to walk away and the dog kept barking, I turned to him as he vented his feelings to me. Angry. The boy was angry. And we were just another pair of worthless people who were letting him sit there. We were like all the rest. His 'words' burned into my brain. The minute we crossed the threshold, this group of dogs all fell silent.
We passed the first set of dogs again to leave. Each dog's face etched in my head. Each dog at different stages of hope or lack of hope, confusion and/or anger. It was overwhelming to say the least. I wanted to spend hours just sitting with them and letting them tell me how they were feeling and what I could do to help. And I walked out of there feeling like the cause to this problem, just by being human. The facility was the least humane building I've ever seen, like a jail.
We were silent for most of the ride home, neither of us knew what to say. When we got closer to home, the tears began to fall until I was sobbing, "I couldn't do anything." I was feeling so guilty for not touching any of them and my heart was broken by the old basset girl who gave everything she had to say hi and I did nothing. "I did nothing!" I cried out. We pulled in the drive and sat there with my face in my hands and heard that dog rant in my head and realized I did do something, I listened.
I heard him. I didn't try to stop him, turn my back on him or try to dominate him. I just softly looked into his eyes with my head lowered and took in everything he was telling me. And I understood. I understood what it meant to be wronged by another living being.
When he finished, I nodded, silently thanked him and walked away. That's when all the dogs fell silent. At the time I felt like there was nothing I could do for him, until I realized when I got home I gave him what he needed at that moment...someone to listen.