Thursday, August 27, 2009


I arrived at Claudia's house at 9:15.  She was running late and was totally stressed out.  She said she had been trying to get ready but had several interruptions and phone calls.  Vikki had called and said she wouldn't be able to meet us at the Shelter at 10:00 as planned as she had things to do that prevented her from doing so, and she'd meet us at 11:00 instead.  I looked at Claudia in disbelief and said, "What?  Does she not know what today is?  It was her idea we all meet at 10:00."  Claudia said, "I know.  I tried to tell her we all needed to be there at 10:00 as planned because Jenifer (the trainer) is supposed to meet us there."  We were both very upset at this point as we didn't need anything happening to prevent us from getting this dog.  I could see Claudia was almost sick over this, as I was, so I told her we both had to calm down and take a deep breath.  I asked her if she wanted me to call Vikki, and she said, "You can."

I dialed Vikki's number and she answered.  I said, "Vikki, this is Lori.  Are you not meeting us at 10:00 as planned?"  And she said, "I told Claudia I'd meet you around 11:00."  I told her, "Vikki, we all agreed to meet at 10:00.  They're not going to release the dog to anybody but you.  The trainer is meeting us at 10:00 also, so we all need to be there as she has another appointment afterwards.  You were the one who told us 10:00, remember?"  Vikki got rather short with me and said, "Well, you're preventing me from doing what I need to do before I can leave.  I'll be there at 11:00 or as close to that as I can."  Click.

I hung up the phone and looked at Claudia.  I was ready to flip my lid at this point!  So was Claudia.  After all we've gone through, and the person who was supposed to "rescue" the dog from the Shelter for us was going to be late.  Great.  At this point, Claudia said, "We might as well go ahead and go and hope she's not too late.  I can't believe this.  I told Jenifer to meet us there at 10:00."  I agreed and we both hoped Vikki wouldn't leave all of us waiting too long.  In addition to Jenifer meeting us, Claudia's Dad was also going to be meeting us at the Shelter.

On the way to the Shelter, Claudia called Jenifer and told her that Vikki wouldn't be getting to the Shelter at 10:00 as planned, but would be arriving closer to 11:00.  We arrived to the shelter at 10:00 and found a parking place in the shade.

We weren't there but a couple minutes when Claudia's Dad (David) walked up to our car.  He started telling us about the night before, when he came and fed Buddy.  He said Captain Brawley (who we had met the first night we visited the Shelter to see Buddy) was his escort.  As David started feeding Buddy, Captain Brawley kept cautioning him, telling him the dog was vicious and aggressive and he shouldn't be putting his hands near the bars of his kennel.  David said he told him, "We've been coming and feeding this dog everyday.  Look, he's not aggressive" as he handed him a piece of hotdog through the bars, using his fingers.  As always, Buddy gently took the hotdog pieces from his fingers.  He said Captain Brawley got a little agitated and told him he shouldn't be doing that, that the dog could bite him.  However, David just continued feeding Buddy the hotdogs he had brought for him.

At one point, David told Captain Brawley, "My daughter is coming tomorrow to adopt this dog.  A rescue has stepped in and agreed to adopt him for her."  At this time, Captain Brawley said, "That wasn't cleared through me" and then explained that he had been off sick all week.  David explained that it had already been arranged, that we would all be there tomorrow at 10:00.  Captain Brawley replied, "Well, I'm going to have to check into that!"

David said while he was feeding Buddy, he dropped the wrapper from the hotdogs, and it started to blow towards Buddy's kennel.  David started to grab it, but Captain Brawley told him to stay back, that he'd get it.  He raised his stick to knock the paper away from Buddy's kennel, and Buddy immediately curled his lip, growled, and lunged towards the bars at him.  At this time, Captain Brawley said, "See, I told you--he's aggressive."  At this time, I told David, "He's going to growl at anybody who works in this place as they all have that "stench" on them from it."  Both he and Claudia agreed.  David said he finished feeding Buddy and sat with him for a little while and then went on home.

As we were talking to David, I saw Vikki's car pull up.  I walked over to her car, but she was on her cell phone.  After she got off the phone, she came up to Claudia's car and gave us two contracts, one for Victor and one for Buddy, that we all three had to sign (Claudia, her Dad, and I).  The contract for Buddy was the contract releasing the County from any liability regarding the dog.  We read them and signed them both.

At this time, Vikki went into the Shelter to talk to Greg Beck.  After some time, she came out and told Claudia and I, "He said he's not releasing the dog as long as there's an audience."  We looked at her and said, "What audience?"  Vikki said Mr. Beck didn't like the fact that we had brought additional people with us (Claudia's Dad?), and as long as we were all in the parking lot, he was not going to release the dog to us.  I looked at Claudia and said, "He's not releasing the dog now or never?"  She said, "I don't know."  At this time, David said, "Why's he so concerned about an audience?  What will they be doing that they're so concerned?"  Claudia and I both agreed that was a good question.

A short time later, we saw Jenifer's car pull into the parking lot.  Claudia and I walked over and introduced ourselves.  We told Jenifer what Vikki had said, that Greg wasn't going to release the dog as long as there's an audience.  She said, "Really?  Well, let me go talk to him."

Vikki and Jenifer went into the Shelter and we stayed in the parking lot.  After about ten minutes, we saw Jenifer walk towards the kennels and she was by herself.  She got to the door leading into the inside kennels, where Buddy was, and I told her he was right inside the door, three kennels down.  She looked inside the door, whistled for him, but couldn't see him from where she was standing.  She didn't go into the area as whoever had opened the door wasn't supposed to have left it open, but instead proceeded to the other kennels around the corner.  She walked around the kennels for a short time and then proceeded back to the lobby area.

Jenifer came out of the Shelter and walked over to where Claudia and I were standing.  She said Vikki had gotten into a heated conversation with Greg Beck, and she thought it best that she leave until Vikki was finished with her conversation.  She waited until Vikki came out of the Shelter and then she went in to talk to Greg by herself.

We waited what seemed like forever.  Both Claudia and I were stressed and picking at our fingernails at this point.  Jenifer finally came out of the Shelter and walked over to Claudia's car, where we were waiting.  She said she had talked to Greg at length about the situation.  She had run into some resistance from him at first, as he was a little upset from his previous conversation with Vikki.  Basically, she said she told him this is a high-profile case and he can be the "hero" in this situation and turn it around by just delivering the dog as promised.  They talked for a while, and Greg told Jenifer he would deliver the dog to her house sometime in the afternoon as he didn't have a driver available right now to make the delivery.  She asked him if he could give her a time frame, and he said no.  She asked him, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, but he still refused to give her a time and said he had no driver right now, that it would't be until this afternoon sometime.  He did tell her he'd call her when they were leaving the Shelter.

Jenifer told us that due to the delay in having Buddy delivered, she would need to cancel her afternoon appointments.  She had also been hoping we could get him delivered early enough so we could get him to a groomer for a bath.  At this point, that didn't look likely.

There was nothing more we could do, so we all decided to go to our respective homes and wait.  We thanked Vikki for all she had done in helping us get Buddy rescued and told David goodbye.  Jenifer told us she would call us as soon as she got a call from Greg, indicating they were leaving the Shelter and heading to her house.  We told her we'd be waiting.

On the way to Claudia's house, we stopped and picked up some lunch to go.  After we ate, we were sitting and waiting when Jenifer called.  I talked to her and she said she was hoping Buddy would be delivered before 3:00 so we could get him into the groomer for a bath.  She had called her groomer, and they said they normally close at 2:00, but they would stay open later, if we could get the dog to them by 3:00.  I told her she might consider calling Greg Beck and telling him that, that it might put some fire under his butt to get the dog delivered earlier rather than later.  She said we'd wait a little while and see.

At 2:40, Jenifer called and said, "They just left with Buddy.  Hurry up and book it on over here."  Claudia and I drove to Jenifer's house as quick as we could.  Surprisingly, we got there just as the Animal Control truck pulled up.  We watched as the Animal Control truck pulled into Jenifer's driveway, and then we parked out front of Jenifer's house, a distance away from the truck.  Neither one of us wanted to see the dog being removed from the truck or the tactics that might have to be used.

We watched from a distance, but from where we sat, all we could see is the right side of the Animal Control truck.  Jenifer and the Animal Control officer were on the left side of the truck, out of our view, and Greg Beck was standing near the back of the truck, off a ways, with his arms crossed.  We could see Greg but not Jenifer, the officer, or the dog.  I told Claudia, "That dog is never coming out of that truck with Greg standing there.  He's got "that scent" on him.

We waited for approximately 30 minutes, at which time, Greg Beck walked up to our car and said, "Do you guys have any of that food with you that you've been feeding him?"  I looked at Greg and said, "No, we didn't bring any food with us.  You want us to go to the store and get some hotdogs?"  He said, "Hold on.  I'll let you know."  And he walked back to where he had been standing near the truck.

A few minutes later, I watched as Greg Beck leaned over, patted his thighs with his hands, and said, "Come here, Buddy! Come here, boy!"  I said to Claudia, "What is he doing?  That dog's not going to come to him!  What's he thinking?"  She said, "I don't know."

I got out of the truck and walked up to the fence, near where Greg had been standing.  At this time, he was standing closer to the truck.  I said to him, "Hey Greg.  Why don't you step away from the truck.  He's not going to come out of the truck as long as you're standing near it because you have the shelter smell on you."  Greg looked at me and said, "He's not coming out anyway."   He then stepped further back away from the truck and said, "But I'll stand over here in the shade."

I then looked over and saw Jenifer standing with her hand held out at arm's length, with a leash to Buddy at the end of it.  The leash was pulled tight, and she was just standing there, waiting for him to come to her.  I asked her if she needed us to go get some hotdogs from the store, and she said, "No.  Scared, nervous dogs don't eat, and he's scared and nervous right now."  She continued to hold the leash out to Buddy, waiting for him to come to her.  I went and sat back in the car with Claudia.  I told her what I saw, and we both prayed that Jenifer would be able to get Buddy out of the truck.  Please God, just let her get him out of the truck.  That's all we ask at this point.

After another fifteen to twenty minutes, we saw Jenifer standing near the front of the truck with the Animal Control officer and Greg.  I saw at this time, the officer had taken the come-along out of the truck and she was showing Jenifer how to use the tool.  I turned to Claudia and said, "I don't want to watch this.  I can't stand to see this dog hurt anymore."  She said, "I know" and turned her head to look out her window so she didn't have to watch what was going on either.

After several minutes, I did look up and saw that Jenifer had gotten Buddy removed from the truck and she had him on the come-along.  He was fighting frantically and was starting to "alligator roll", where he rolled over and over onto his belly and then his back.  After rolling several times, Jenifer got him to stand up and she led him/pulled him to the kennel that was on her back patio.  I looked at Claudia and said, "Thank God!  She got him out of the truck.  That's all we wanted."

We sat and waited for the Animal Control truck to leave.  Then Jenifer walked up and asked us to come on back to her back patio area.  We got out of the car and followed her.  On the way back to her patio, Jenifer told us that she had to use the come-along because Buddy bit right through her nylon leash.  She said she didn't want to have to do that, but she had no choice and had to get the dog out of the truck.  She then showed us her hand that was swollen and had several small puncture marks on.  She said Buddy had bitten her several times, but he only bit her with his front teeth, not his back teeth.  She said he could have really hurt her if he wanted to but was only giving her warning bites.

When we got to the back patio, to our right, there was a fenced kennel and Buddy was lying inside of it.  Claudia asked if we should go in to see Buddy, and Jenifer said, "Not right now.  Just leave him be."  I also noticed there were numerous spots of blood on the ground leading to the kennel.  Oh Lord, he must have ripped his mouth open again.  :-(

We all three sat down, and Jenifer asked Claudia, "So, what is it you want for this dog?"  At this time, Claudia explained the whole story to Jenifer about Buddy living on the streets, having the officer from the Humane Society capture him and take him to the Shelter, how we fed him every day at the Shelter, etc.  We talked at length about the dog, and Jenifer said, "Well, I have to be honest with you.  On a scale of 1-10, this dog is probably a 10 as far as the need for rehab.  He is the worst case I've seen.  If he were to go to Cesar's Dog Psychology Center, Cesar would plan on keeping him there for 90 days."  Claudia and I looked at each with other with eyes as big as saucers!  Wow, we had no idea he was that bad.

As we sat there talking to Jenifer, I watched Buddy, and it seemed as if the stress was slowly leaving his body.  He sat up against the wall of his kennel, just watching us and panting as it was very hot out.  He gradually stopped panting, but continued to sit and watch us, which was different than the way he had been at the shelter.  While at the Shelter, Buddy didn't really look at Claudia and I much, not directly anyway.  He mainly looked at the food we held out to him or looked at us as we approached and then looked away.  And he never sat up against the wall of his kennel and just looked at us as he was doing now.  I told Jenifer, "He's looking better already.  He's looking at us, and he's never done that for any length of time.  Not like he is now.  It's like the life is flowing back into him."  Claudia agreed and said he was looking better, that she could see it too.  Jenifer said, "That's good. I'm glad to hear that."

At this time, Buddy had stopped panting and was more relaxed.  Jenifer said, "You can go in and see him now?"  I said, "Will he be okay with that?"  And Jenifer replied, "Oh yeah.  He has good thoughts about you guys.  He'll be fine." 

I opened the gate into Buddy's kennel and slowly walked towards him with my hand held out.  I talked to him softly and he sniffed my hand.  I was able to walk right up to him and pet him for the first time, with no bars between us.  What a relief and a great feeling that was!  I sat down next to him and pet him and talked softly to him.  I scratched him behind his ear, and he really liked that.  I knew this dog wasn't aggressive at all times, and he just proved it.  If he was aggressive, it was for a reason.  I firmly believe that.  Plus, you have to remember--this dog has been in a great deal of pain due to his jaw injury.  He had that injury while he was in the Shelter and never received any medical treatment for it.  Now, I noticed the injury to his jaw was newly opened and was bleeding badly.  It also appeared there was a gaping hole in his jowl area.  He really needed medical attention now.

I told Jenifer that Buddy's jaw looked really bad  and she agreed that he needed medical attention right away. Claudia asked if there was a mobile vet in the area, and Jenifer said she thought so, but she'd get the phone book so we could find out. Claudia started looking through the phone book and found one mobile vet. She called the number listed and spoke to someone, but said they weren't available, nor were they suitable for what we needed. Jenifer then called her vet, Dr. Saldanha of the Arlington Animal Hospital. He indicated he could come out this evening, but it would probably be useless as he wouldn't have any of his tools necessary to give the aide to the dog that he needed. He suggested we sedate the dog and bring him into his office in the morning.

At this time, Claudia went into the kennel and introduced herself to Buddy.  He welcomed her as warmly as he welcomed me.  There weren't any tail-wags yet, but he was at least responsive and accepted the affection we gave him.  This was a great sign, in both our eyes, as it reinforced our belief that this dog wasn't vicious and aggressive unless he had a reason for being so.  As far as his biting Jenifer while he was in the truck, she had indicated that was out of fear and his being in pain.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

I sat with Buddy for a while and just petted and talked him.  I noticed at one point, I turned my hand over and looked at it and it was completely black and my fingernails had dirt under them.  I held my hand up so Claudia and Jenifer could see it and said, "You don't think he's dirty, do you?"  Actually, you could just feel the dirt in his coat.  This poor guy need a bath so bad.  I can only imagine how grimy he must have felt.  Then again, he was probably used to it and didn't know any better.  Some day soon, he'd know differently, and I couldn't wait.

It was getting late at this time, and we still needed to get home to our kids and Jenifer still needed to feed hers.  We thanked her for everything she did for us and Buddy, and she told us we were most welcome, that everything was going to work out fine.  She told me she wanted me to be at her house the next morning, but I was to go to her vet's office first and get some Acepromazine (sedative) from her vet.  Then, we'd tackle the battle of getting Buddy into the car and to the vet.  One more hurdle tackled; one more to go!

It had been a stressful day, but a successful one. Buddy could have his first night out of the Shelter, and he was in a quiet, stress-free environment. Right now, that's all we could ask for.

On the way home, Claudia and I talked about Buddy, and I asked her if she was sure she could afford having Jenifer train him, along with the vet bill that was coming the next day--that we were probably looking at thousands of dollars.  How many thousands, neither of us had any idea yet.  Claudia indicated she had some money in savings and she had just paid off her car and some credit card debt.  I said, "Claudia, this is going to be a lot of money.  You sure you want to do this?"  Her reply to me, with no hesitation, was simply, "It's for a good cause."  I agreed and only wished I was in the financial position to look at it that way.  I'm glad she was because if she wasn't, we would have fought this hard to get this dog out of the shelter, only to run into financial obstacles.  God bless Claudia for having such a big heart.  She was truly Buddy's guardian angel.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Victor with Claudia's Dad, smiling at the camera!

Claudia called me at 8:00 and said she hoped she hadn't woke me up. I told her she didn't. She indicated she had been trying to call me all night but couldn't as my line was busy. I told her I had gotten online and forgot to plug the phone back in (I have internet problems right now and can only use the phone line for one or the other but not both). She said she had called Vikki at 5:00 that morning and woke her up because she was so worried about #60. She asked Vikki if she, as a Rescue, could get #60 out of the Shelter so we could get him medical attention, and she said she could. She agreed to meet us at noon and she'd get him then because the Shelter doesn't release dogs to rescues until noon.

Claudia and I arrived at the shelter as soon as they opened. We checked in at the front desk and waited for our escort. A young, heavy-set guy came out and asked the clerk what she needed. She replied, "They need an escort to #88." He quickly responded, "Oh, that's the mean one, isn't it?" Claudia and I looked at each other with a "For Pete's sake!" look. Seemed everybody was drinking the Kool-aide and believing this dog was extremely vicious and aggressive!

We walked towards Buddy's kennel and on the way, I noticed that #60 was lying in his inside kennel. We got to Buddy's kennel, and he was lying inside, near the bars. We immediately noticed that whoever had cleaned his kennel had done a sloppy job as there was still some feces from the day before near where he was laying. We both looked around at the other kennels and noticed they all were very clean, spotless in fact..... We both also noticed Buddy's water was filthy, with sediment in the bottom of the pan. It broke our hearts to see him treated in such a manner. We told him, "Just hang in there one more day, Buddy. Just one more day, and we'll get you out of here as soon as we can.

While Claudia fed Buddy, I told her I'd go feed #60. I took some dog food and chicken breast to him and he scarfed down both. I also noticed that his dish was empty, and it was full the night before, so he must have eaten during the night, which was good since he couldn't get the hot dogs we had thrown to him. I went back to Buddy's cage and got some more chicken and Claudia asked me if he was eating. I said, "He's chowing! He also ate his food they gave him last night." She said, "That's good." I told her he was still far from being full though as he ate all the dog food I had given him and was still eating some chicken. She indicated he probably had worms or something to be able to eat so much.

Of course, the whole time I was feeding #60, his little body was just a wiggling! His tail wagged the whole time I fed him, which in turn, wiggled his whole body. In spite of the pain he must have felt, he was still a very happy dog as he sat there and ate and smiled at me the whole time, and wiggled of course! Claudia's dad was right. There was no way we could leave this happy little guy there. Every dog should be able to be as happy as he was, at least once in their life!

At one point, Claudia asked our escort if she could take a picture of Buddy. However, he told us, "No. My supervisor wouldn't like that. I don't mind myself, but I don't want to get in any trouble." Claudia said it was okay, she understood (She's so understanding! If it was me, I would have snapped the picture and not asked. He would have had to tell me that I couldn't. However, she didn't want to cause anymore retaliation towards Buddy or have anything happen to get in our way of adopting him, so she asked before taking a photo. She's sooo nice that way! This is also why we have no pictures of Buddy while he was at the shelter.)

We said goodbye to Buddy and told him we'd try to be back later and he just had to hang in there for one more day, that we'd be getting him out tomorrow. We then left the Shelter.

After we got in the car and drove down the road a short way, Claudia's phone rang. I answered it as she was driving and it was Vikki. We agreed to meet her at Denny's and told her we'd be there in about five minutes or so.

We met Vikki in the parking lot and introduced ourselves as this was the first time we had ever met our "hero" (remember--she's the one who saved Buddy from a sure death). We told her about #60, that he was unable to walk, and we were concerned that they'd make him walk out to her car. She said she'd go find out and would be back as soon as she could.

We waited about ten, fifteen minutes, and Vikki pulled up with #60 in the back seat. We were both so excited to see him, we could hardly contain ourselves! I opened the door to Vikki's car, and there he sat, just smiling up at us. This dog was always smiling. It was great! Vikki said he had gotten so excited, he pee'd in the car. However, she had a blanket on the seat, so she had been prepared. We asked her if they had made him walk out to her, and she said, "No, I asked the officer if she could carry him, and she carried him right out to my car." We were both relieved to hear that.

I picked up #60 and put him in the back seat of Claudia's car. We thanked Vikki for all that she had done and what she was still going to do. We told her we'd see her tomorrow, when we went to sign the paperwork to get Buddy. She was going to meet us at the Shelter, as she was who they were releasing him to.

I got in the back seat with #60 so I could sit next to him and keep an eye on him. At this time, I could see how skinny he was. Every rib showed and his spine was clearly visible. I was surprised how heavy he was though when I had lifted him. He was definitely solid.

We headed to the Grand Terrace Emergency Animal Clinic. I was petting #60 and I noticed a little white "V" on the back of his neck. I told Claudia, "How about if we name him "Victor". We were victorious in getting him out of the shelter and he has a little "V" on the back of his neck." She said, "That's a great idea. I like that!" So Victor it was. I patted his little head and told him, "We were victorious in getting you, so your name is Victor. " He, of course, wagged his tail, which in turn, wiggled his little body and smiled at me. He seemed to be in total agreement and liked the idea also.

Victor was really good in the car. He sat next to me, between the two front seats, and was content with the air conditioning blowing in his face. He sat there the whole time and didn't try to get up or move around. What a sport!

We got to the Emergency Clinic, and I carried Victor to the lobby area. Claudia checked in at the front desk, and Victor and I went and had a seat. While we were sitting and waiting for Claudia, a lady came in with a female Golden Retriever. The dog was about eight feet away from us. However, Victor immediately stood up and started barking aggressively at the dog (Oh no! Not another aggressive, vicious dog!). I pulled him back down by his collar and told him, "No, Victor. No." After a few seconds of barking and growling, he laid down at my feet and was quiet. Claudia came and sat down and said, "Oh, a little dog aggression, huh?" I told her, "Well, he's a little defenseless right now, so that's normal. He can't protect himself so he doesn't want any dogs near his space probably." She agreed and said, "Oh, I didn't think of that."

We waited for ten to fifteen minutes, at which time, we were called into an exam room. A vet tech first took Victor to a scale and weighed him. We were shocked to see that he still weighed 46 pounds. The vet tech brought Victor back into the exam room and started checking him out. It was amazing to see the instant bond she formed with the animal and his response to her. She placed Victor's head up against her chest, rubbed him behind his ears, and told him, "It's okay, boy. We're going to fix you right up." Victor just closed his eyes and pushed his head into her chest as if he knew what she was saying.

A short time later, the vet came in and started to examine Victor. He lifted up the skin on his back several times to see if he was dehydrated and then looked at his teeth. He then looked at his paws and said, "They're ulcerated." (Really?!) Claudia explained what had transpired at the shelter and what we had been told about the dog. The vet examined Victor a little further and then said he would need to be taken into the back to have his paws bandaged with antiseptic bandages, given some antibiotics and some pain meds, and we could come back in an hour to pick him up. We thanked him for his time, and he left the room.

A short time later, another vet tech came in. She looked in Victor's ears and told us she'd have his ears cleaned out while he was there and then went to get a cart to put him on. She came back with a stainless steel cart, and I helped her put Victor on it. However, as soon as she started moving the cart out of the room, Victor got scared and tried to jump off of it. At this time, she said, "I'll just pick him up." I said, "Yeah, that might work better." She then picked Victor up and left the room.

We told the front desk we'd be back in an hour, and we left the clinic. We got into Claudia's car and we both looked at each other and said, "You hungry?" Yep, we were both hungry as it was 1:30 by now and we hadn't eaten lunch. We went down the road to the Food Connection and got something to eat. We sat down in a booth, and it was then that we both realized how tired we were as it had been a very stressful week. It felt so good to just sit and do nothing for a while.

We finished our lunch and then went back to the Clinic. We checked in at the front desk and let them know we were there to pick up Victor. By this time, it was almost 3:00. I told Claudia, "I don't think we're going to have time to go see Buddy later. We have to run Victor home still. There's no way we can do both." She agreed that we were running out of time and said she'd call her Dad and ask him to go as he had offered to earlier if we didn't have time to. Claudia called her Dad and told him where we were and what we were doing. She asked him if he'd go feed Buddy, and he said sure, he'd be glad to.

We had to wait about 30-45 minutes before they finally brought out Victor. They brought him out on a cart, and his paws were all bandaged, with green bandages on the bottoms. We were instructed to have his bandages changed every two days, and we could bring him back there to have it done or take him to our own vet. They also sent him home with some pain medication and some antibiotics for the infection.

We put Victor in the car and he once again was content to lie on the blankets on the back seat, facing forward between the two front seats, with the air blowing in his face. We took him to Claudia's Dad's house since he has a separate fenced area in his backyard where the dog could stay while he recovered.

I carried Victor to the back yard (this dog is heavy for being so skinny!) and laid him down on a dog bed that Claudia had brought with her. We then put up a small fence and made an enclosed area for him as the vet had instructed us to limit his movement while his feet were healing. We fed him some dog food and of course, he ate it like it was going out of style. We sat with Victor a while and talked to Claudia's Dad about him. We then said goodbye to him and headed back to Claudia's house as by this time, it was getting late and we both needed to get home to our kids and feed them.

We drove home that night, both greatly relieved that we were able to get Victor out of the Shelter and get him the medical attention he desperately needed. Now if tomorrow would go this smoothly! One battle down; one to go.


On Saturday, July 25, 2009, I arrived at Claudia’s house at about 9:30. She told me, “My Dad is going to adopt #60, (photo above) and I’m going to adopt #90!” I said, “What? Are you kidding? Your Dad’s going to adopt #60?” And she replied, “Yes, he said we just can’t leave him there, and I kind of bonded with #90. He and I established a bond yesterday. I can't leave him there.” I was like, “Okay, whatever.”

Claudia and I arrived at the shelter at 10:00 a.m. There was already a line of cars at the gate, waiting to be let into the parking lot. Brenda came out and opened the gate and we proceeded to the parking lot. It was very busy and crowded as we entered the lobby, so Claudia and I walked straight through and went back to Buddy’s kennel.

We got to Buddy’s outside kennel to once again find it empty. We went back to the door leading to the inside kennels, but it was again locked. I told Claudia I’d go to the front desk and get someone to unlock it for us.

I went to the front desk and asked for an escort to kennel #88. I asked why he was locked in the inside kennel and the clerk at the front counter (a young Hispanic girl) responded, “Because he’s not very nice and we don’t want the public putting their hands in his cage.” This is when I responded, “We’ve been feeding him every day, sticking our fingers in his cage.” This clerk then responded that she would get the vet tech to escort us, and I told her, “Brenda’s right there” as I saw that she was nearby in the room that holds the cats. The clerk walked towards the back, and at one point, I saw Brenda also walk through the door leading to the back. After several minutes, the clerk came back and said, “I’m so sorry for the wait. Lieutenant MaGee is going to come up and escort you back.”

Lieutenant N. MaGee came out and asked who was here to see #88. I walked up and told her I was. Lieutenant MaGee introduced herself and said it was nice to meet me, and I responded in kind. She then escorted us to Buddy’s kennel.

Lieutenant MaGee unlocked the door into the inside kennels and we found Buddy inside kennel #88. However, we immediately noticed that he appeared deeply depressed again, as his whole demeanor was different than the night before. He was lying against the bars but facing away from us and didn’t immediately turn towards us when we walked up. We leaned down and squatted in front of his cage and talked to him. Claudia said to me, “Look, he’s regressed.” I agreed with her and said he must be depressed being locked inside. We also noticed that his mouth was bleeding again, and we wondered what had happened to him the night before as his mouth was almost healed when we had seen him the previous evening. Now, it was once again swollen and bleeding.

We asked Lieutenant MaGee if someone could have been “aggravating” the dog after hours and poking something at him to cause him to bite it and open the injury on his jaw. Since the dog had been deemed “aggressive and vicious”, we were wondering if whoever was feeding him (nobody was bothering to give him fresh water as his water was dirty with sediment at the bottom of the pan) was poking something at him to keep him away from them while they entered his kennel, or something to that affect. Lieutenant MaGee right away responded with, “Ain’t nobody messing with that dog. He’s probably chewing on his water bowl at night or something. Some dogs do that. They chew on their bowls or the bars……..stuff like that.”

At this time, I stood up and noticed that hanging at my eye level was a laminated memo on the outside of Buddy’s kennel. It was a memo from Greg Beck instructing his staff that “This dog is to remain in the inside kennel during the hours the shelter is open for the public." The memo also stated that "All staff should take precaution when feeding or caring for this animal as he is determined to be “vicious and aggressive”. The memo further stated, "The slider door can be raised after hours so that the dog can have access to the outside kennel. These orders are to remain in effect as long as the dog is housed at this shelter.” The memo was dated June 24, 2009. I read the memo and squatted back down by Claudia and told her, “Looks like retaliation tactics to me. They can’t do anything to us, so they retaliate against the dog. No wonder he’s regressing.” She wholeheartedly agreed.

Note: We had been able to visit Buddy every day, twice a day on weekends, for the past seven days without having an escort. We checked in at the front desk, told them “We’re here to see #88” and we were waived through to go on back to his kennel. Buddy had also been able to enter both his inside and outside kennels since he arrived at the shelter on Thursday, July 16. It wasn’t until Friday, July 24th, when we were finally given the decision that we could adopt the dog, that different rules were put in place, and we were no longer allowed to see him without an escort and he was locked in his inside kennel, with no access to his outside kennel during public hours. Kind of late to lock a dog away from public access when he’s had free reign up until this point!

While Lieutenant MaGee stood near us, we fed Buddy some hotdogs and chicken. He ate a little of both and then laid his head in the corner of the kennel, as he had done previously when he was depressed. We petted him as best we could and talked to him for a short time.

While there, we started talking to Lieutenant MaGee, who had taken a great deal of interest in the Bull Mastiff that was in the kennel opposite Buddy. At one point, she said, “I like big dogs. I got over “cute” a long time ago and it no longer affects me. I can’t have this dog, but I’m going to have my girlfriend adopt him so I can go see him.”

We talked with Lieutenant MaGee for quite some time, and Claudia asked her several questions. She explained that she had worked at the shelter for over fifteen years and had worked her way up to Supervisor.

After saying goodbye to Buddy, we walked to kennel #60 to see the black pit bull housed there. As we got to his kennel, we noticed he was lying in his inside kennel. We coaxed him to the outside kennel, and the dog walked gingerly towards us. It was clearly obvious that he was in extreme pain as he was having difficulty walking. I said to Claudia, “Look at his feet” as his front left foot was obviously swollen and had clear yellowish liquid weeping from open wounds on it. Lieutenant MaGee was still with us, and she started explaining to us that “Pitbulls have skin conditions that make them lick their feet a lot. That’s probably what he’s been doing.” I looked at #60’s left rear foot and it was also swollen and inflamed with open wounds on it.

I proceed to feed #60 some Pedigree dog food that we had brought with us, and he ate it like he hadn’t eaten in quite some time. He also devoured two hotdogs. I made the comment that #60 acted like he hasn’t eaten in some time, and Lieutenant MaGee explained that a lot of dogs eat like this because they don’t know when their next meal will be.

At this time, Claudia asked Lieutenant MaGee several questions. She inquired about the vet care that the animals get, how long they can stay at the kennel before they are put down, etc. Lieutenant MaGee explained that when all the dogs come into the shelter, they are given a shot, and in a short amount of time, if they have some kind of infection in their system, the shot will make the infection come out and the dog will start showing symptoms of illness. Claudia asked, “How do the officers know the dogs are sick?” Lieutenant MaGee responded that, “Oh, they look for signs such as redness in their stools, stuff like that.” I immediately asked if the vet had seen this dog, and Lieutenant MaGee said the vet sees all the dogs and examines them. I asked if Buddy had gotten the same shot that #60 had received, and she explained that “all the dogs get that shot, mean or not.” She said “they just poke him in the butt, but they all got the shot.”

At this point in the conversation, Claudia asked how long the dogs were held at the shelter. Lieutenant MaGee then explained that the dogs were in a kennel for three days in order to give the owner a chance to claim them, and then on the fourth day, if no one was interested in adopting them, they were put down. She explained that if the shelter wasn’t full, then some dogs were given more time. She then went on to explain that if no one was interested in adopting #60, then he would receive no medical care as they weren’t going to “waste money on a dog that nobody wanted to adopt”. She saw the appalled looks on mine and Claudia’s faces and then said, “Hey, it’s better than it used to be. Things have changed a lot. Back in 1999, we used to put down 50 dogs a day. I used to walk in in the morning and say, “Come on. Let’s hurry up and get this over with.” She indicated that things weren’t perfect but things had changed. After we both picked our jaws up off the ground, we thanked Lieutenant MaGee for her time and proceeded to the front counter area.

Claudia and I stopped at the front counter and asked when #60 was available for adoption. The young Hispanic clerk told us he would be available for adoption tomorrow, Sunday, July 26th. I advised the clerk that he had injuries to his feet and could hardly walk. She then looked up the vet’s notes in the computer and told us, “The vet has examined the dog and determined that he had probably been thrown from a moving vehicle as his paws and pads were abraded and some of his nails on his feet had been broken off. The vet has indicated the dog would heal on his own and needs no medical attention.” I looked at Claudia and I was appalled and almost sick to my stomach. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. A dog is thrown from a moving vehicle but needs no medical attention—in whose world? What kind of vet makes such a determination? The same one who leaves a dog in his kennel with an obvious open wound to his jaw and says that he doesn’t need medical attention either.

We returned to the Shelter at approximately 5:15. We waited for an escort and an officer (female, blonde, tall, heavy-set) escorted us to Buddy’s kennel. Upon immediately arriving at Buddy’s kennel, I noted that he had defecated quite heavily in his kennel and the odor was horrendous. I asked the officer if she could put Buddy in the outside kennel while we sprayed the inside of the kennel so we could remove the feces. The officer explained that she does not normally work at this particular shelter and has to abide by the rule that the dog was to stay in the inside kennel. We told her we understood, though we felt bad because the dog was lying in his own urine and if he moved two inches further, he’d be lying in his own feces. I told Claudia, “Yeah, they want him to be a total mess when we do get him out of here. Stinky, dirty….yep, they’re making sure of it. They’re not going to make anything easy about this.”

While the officer sat down at the end of row of kennels, Claudia and I fed Buddy and he did appear in better spirits at this time. He ate some chicken, hotdogs, and dog food, and then promptly displayed signs of being tired. We scratched his head and ears as best we could, and after a short time, we said goodbye to him.

The officer came back to Buddy’s kennel, and Claudia asked if they could be sure to move Buddy to the outside kennel to clean his inside kennel so the water spray wouldn’t scare him. The officer said she would ask and indicated it probably would not be a problem to move him to the outside kennel while his inside kennel was cleaned.

We walked out with the officer and told her we’d like to visit the dog in kennel #60 as we were interested in adopting him. We arrived at kennel #60, only to find the dog lying in the inside kennel again. Claudia and I tried to coax him into the outside kennel by offering him a hotdog, but try as he might, the dog was clearly unable to stand. We both noted that #60’s paw pads on his front left foot were red, bleeding, and clearly infected. We directed the officer's attention to his paws and advised her that the dog could no longer stand. She said she would go inside and tell the front desk the dog needed medical attention.

After a short time, she came back out and said, “The vet will be out to see him tomorrow.” I looked at Claudia, and she looked at me, and we both said, “Yeah, right. Vets probably don't come out on Sunday.” Claudia and I visited #60 for a little while longer, but he could not come out of his cage. We both watched as he “belly-crawled” over to his water bowl to get some water. At no time did he ever come out of his inside kennel to get the hotdogs we had placed in his outside kennel. We hoped that someone would pick them up and give them to him later, versus washing them down the drain.

Since it was now closing time, Claudia and I both walked back to the front desk. I wanted to clarify that the vet would be out the next day, so I asked the same clerk I had talked with earlier if the vet would be out tomorrow. She gave me a strange look, as if to say, “The vet never comes here on Sunday, silly!” She then shook her head and said, “No, I don’t think the vet will be in tomorrow.” I explained to her that the officer who had escorted us just told us a vet would be out tomorrow to see #60. I explained to the clerk that the dog in kennel #60 could not even stand and had deteriorated since we had seen him earlier. She then said, “Well the vet saw the dog on Thursday.” At this time, I told her, “The dog can’t even walk! We just watched him have to belly crawl to get to his water.” She replied, “Well, I don’t think the vet comes in on Sunday.” I told her, “This dog can’t wait until Monday to be seen. He can’t even walk and his paws are red and bleeding.” She then replied, “Well, the vet will be in to look at him tomorrow or Monday, but probably Monday.”

At this time, we left frustrated, disappointed, and very much worried about #60. Not only were his paws now bleeding and he couldn’t stand, but the dog was severely emaciated, as if he had not eaten in quite some time. He was obviously sick with parasites.

We both left, sick to our stomachs and feeling quite helpless about the situation. There had to be something we could do for this poor dog. First, the battle to save Buddy. Now, another battle to save this dog. We just hoped we’d be able to adopt him before he got any worse. He was available the next day, but he’d also have to be neutered before the Shelter would release him. That couldn’t be done until Monday, at the earliest. We hoped he’d be able to hang on that long.