Thursday, February 08, 2007

Walser's Story


Yesterday after I got some sleep I went to go pick up this guy from the shelter. He's an older one--severely matted and dirty, gnarly teeth. He had hair knots so big they looked like oven mitts hanging off his ears. Several of his teeth are broken, as if he chewed on rocks or even a cage. There was flea dirt so thick it looked like he had rolled in potting soil.


I looked at his deep brown eyes and it occurred to me that he was once a puppy too, as tiny and precious as the ones squirbling in the whelping box in the other room. I wondered what had happened to him between then and now. At what point had he stopped being precious and cute and become something to stick out in the back yard and ignore. This kind of neglect doesn't happen in a couple of months. Trust me, I know. I haven't trimmed Ruthie's hair in six months because the little twat always tries to bite me when I groom her, and I can't find my muzzle. She's a little scruffy, but not like this. I know he had been ignored for years.


He had a nice life once. I can tell. I know he's been groomed before. Dogs that haven't freak out when you turn on the clippers. He just stood quietly and turned his head, as if to say, "hurry up already, this crap itches". He knows what toys are, judging by the way he rounded up all the tennis balls and squeaky toys in a 50 ft radius. And he's seen a couch before because this is where he curled up after the third bath and rub down. He's housetrained--waiting politely for me to open the door for him. He's happy to be clean. Happy to know there are cushie things all over the house where he can take naps. He's a good boy.


I know it's possible that he had just somehow gotten away from his family. That maybe they really did love him and are wondering where he is. I really hope that's the case. But I know it's not. I know that more likely, at some point between being a tiny cute puppy and now, he was just put outside til he finally got so covered in piss and dirt and parasites that he never got to go back in. And he became the old dog. The one nobody cares about.


This is what I don't get about people: everyone knows that the blue jeans you've washed and worn a hundred times are so much more comfortable than the ones straight from the store. Old relationships are a thousand times more comfortable than brand new ones--no awkward silences. Why, then, do we worship puppies and completely neglect the old guys like him? People say they want puppies so they can "see it grow up" or "have more time with it". I call that total bullshit when I see on a weekly basis what happens once the "New" wears off.
It's why finding adoptive families for the babies in the next room is going to cause me untold amounts of handwringing--because I don't want someone who thinks they're cute now. I want someone who's going to think they're cute seven years from now and there's just no way to know.

I think old dogs rock. I really do. I wish more people could see how awesome they are.


6 comments:

angie said...

*stabs self*

Babs said...

aw... I've been a lurker for awhile, but I have to say that this post really touched me! I really admire all the work that you do, and I bet you'll find a great home for the pups. Just wanted to say, "you go girl"

Stinkydog said...

thanks, Babs!

Angie, stop stabbing yourself, Rosie is not that bad...

turtlegardens said...

Old dogs are like fine wine - they get better with age. You told his story beautifully. I hope he find a soft cushion, slow walks an d a loving mom to share his autumn years. Yvette www.turtlegardens.org

Opie's Girl said...

I want him. :(

Stinkydog said...

he's very good: totally housetrained and does *exactly* what you tell him to do. I love that in a dog.