Make the Time to Care

I walked to work this morning as I have been the past two weeks. When I rounded the corner near an elementary school, a large skinny black lab, obviously a stray, ran up to me. He made like he was continuing on the other way…but then stopped and started following me closely. He was friendly, fixed, was once someone’s dog. I walked steadily as he trotted nearby. This was fine by me….perhaps he would lose interest and run off…

He didn’t. We walked together until I came up to the large community hospital. Decision time. Do I call animal control or keep walking?

I couldn’t keep walking. There was a busy main road to cross up ahead, then onto the college campus. I stopped. He stopped and sat down by my side. Quickly I got my cell out, called hubby for the animal control number. The dispatcher didn’t come onto shift until 8 am. So we waited, together, on a grassy coridor on the backside of the hospital. I got through to the dispatcher. Then we waited some more.

My backpack was on the ground. I alternately sat, knelt, or otherwise stayed near the dog I called, “Buddy.” He was getting nervous. I prayed hard he would stay nearby. He was awfully scrawny. He would have a chance of being adopted if he had no serious illness.

He stuck by me for 45 minutes until the officer came with two dogs already in his truck. All that time, about 100 cars at least passed me there on the street corner. No one stopped…or even slowed and yelled out to see if I were ok. One gentleman (if he could still keep that distinction) is a VP at our university. He knew who I was…but kept driving his little sports car. I guess it was a weird sight to see a woman in a pink cape dress, headscarf, and backpack standing with a skin-and-bones dog right by her side. Jeff left work and waited with me for the last 10 minutes….but still….

No one seemed to care.

If I had had the opportunity to ask the officer (who was the nicer one I’ve dealt with in this town), I would say, “Do the same people call you to pick up strays? Are they the ones who make the time to care?”

Its d— hard to report stray animals, especially ones who are obviously doomed to the gas chamber. Yet…it is a mercy to grant them a quick death than to let them be starved or hit by a truck. If we had a home with a yard, I would not have blinked twice before taking this particular dog home long enough to get him healthy and find a forever home for him.

I had a dream just before waking up this morning. In it, Jeff and I stopped along a highway to pick up a beagle and a border collie, even though we could not keep them in the apartment.

When I saw “Buddy” running towards me…I knew….I had to make the time to care.

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3 Responses to “Make the Time to Care”


  1. 1 Pearl September 22, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I’m glad you cared. As it happens I got a phone call early this morning from a friend, saying, ‘I’ve found three stray dogs in a carpark! What do I do?’ We called the Dog Warden, who I think is the British version of Animal Control.

    I got my dog from a rescue centre, and it makes me so sad that someone dumped her, as far as we can tell because she had an injured leg and presumably they didn’t want to pay for treatment for her. She had also clearly been mistreated in other ways. I always stop to check on wandering dogs, and have a godson who thinks I’m the most fantastic godmother because I once turned up at his house with a fantastic present: a little dog that I’d found (yes, I checked with the Dog Warden first to make sure it wasn’t lost, and yes, I knew his parents were on the lookout for a pup and called them to see if they wanted him before I just appeared!).

    I can’t imagine a situation in which I’d put Mildred out on the streets. She’s the light of my life, the silliest, happiest, daftest, most playful dog I’ve ever encountered. I don’t understand what on earth her previous owners were thinking, and it gives me cold shivers to think how close she was to being put to sleep.

  2. 2 amberpeace September 23, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Once, my car broke down. It was downtown, so small streets where people could plainly see me. It was Sunday. Almost everyone driving by me was going to one of the downtown churchs.
    One Hour. Not. One. Person. Stopped.

    Isn’t that sad?

  3. 3 alana September 23, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Yesterday I was on my way to the library, and there was a MAN lying down in the grass by the road, face down. I pulled over and got out to check on him. Turns out he was with the water company and was on his belly reading a water meter. But he thanked me for my concern….

    I hope Buddy finds a good forever home and gets to take many joyful car rides with his head sticking out of the window. (That’s my very favorite thing about dogs…is seeing how happy they are when riding in a car…)


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