Coffee heat rising

Dog Adoption: A near miss

So M’hijito and his buddy drove to the wealthy northside suburbs halfway to Alaska, there to view the golden retriever said Buddy had heard about. They were pretty excited about the possibility of M’hijito finding the Dawg of His Dreams. He has wanted a dog for a long time but was waiting until the muddy back yard was desert-landscaped and his life was in order so he could care properly for a pet.

What they found was a harassed and weepy woman with a pair of four-year-old twins, a fourteen-year-old daughter, a McMansion way too big for one freshly impoverished divorcée to keep up when she’s not practicing medicine, and two large out-of-control dogs, one the alleged golden and the other something that looked like an American bulldog.

At the outset, M’hijito suspected the “golden” was a mix, probably containing some pit bull. The woman said she had the dog’s papers in a file but couldn’t find them (aren’t you glad she’s not your doctor!). Asked if she had vaccination records, she repeated the story and then said the reason she didn’t have a county rabies tag for the dog was that the dog ate its collar.

Ah. A new variant on “the dog ate my homework.” Good, very good.

Both dogs had been kept outdoors. Period. Neither was house-trained or even allowed inside the house. Neither was obedience-trained. The bulldog, M’hijito said, was completely berserk and hopelessly out of control. The retriever would not come to call, did not heel, and, though friendly and affable, clearly was not socialized to live with humans.

You understand what “never allowed to come inside” means… This summer we had day after day after searing day of 116-degree-plus heat. I would go outside at 10 o’clock at night and find the thermometer on the back porch resting at 100 degrees. Temperatures rarely dropped below 90 at any hour of the day or night between early June and the end of August.

Leaving a domestic dog, particularly one bred to swim in icy lakes, outside in that kind of extreme heat comes under the heading of “abuse.” And then…

Yes. And then the woman admitted that the 14-year-old whose pet this dog was supposed to be sat around the house all summer while her parents put in 12- to 14-hour workdays. The mother would come home in the evening to find the dogs outside with no water, because the kid couldn’t get off her duff long enough to turn on the hose and fill up a dog dish.

Considering that this child was 12 at the time Daddy brought the retriever home for her, I believe we’ve arrived at “criminal neglect.”

M’hijito is convinced that the dog is no purebred golden retriever. He thinks she has some pit bull in her. From the picture, it’s hard to tell. I’d say she’s a golden, but maybe an individual that a breeder would label “pet” quality. She may be the product of a puppy mill.

Something’s not quite right, that’s for sure…  She looks too thin for a two-year-old dog—at 18 months, a golden starts to fill out. Her coat’s not great, though some goldens are less furry than others. And that slight crustiness around the eyes doesn’t bode well. Likely she’s showing the stress from two years of neglect that rises to the level of abuse. There’s also the possibility that, having been left outdoors in our dust storms, she’s picked up valley fever. Compare this dog with the ones on the rescue site, and she looks like one of the “before” photos.

At any rate, M’hijito decided to decline the opportunity, and so Buddy took the dog home. Mrs. Buddy was none too thrilled, she being heavily gravid with her own twins and already responsible for two other large dogs. So the dog ended up at M’hijito’s house overnight, while Mr. Buddy worked on Mrs. Buddy. By the following morning she had caved, and so they came by his house to retrieve the retriever.


7 thoughts on “Dog Adoption: A near miss”

  1. From the picture (is that her) I wouldn’t guess pitbull at all, maybe just not the best bred golden. Either way, thank goodness that poor dog is out of the desert heat! How anyone could be so neglectful is beyond my imagination, it’s downright abuse. I hope the poor bulldog finds a loving home as well. I have two shelter rescues whose manners leave much to be desired, but I love them just the same.

  2. Yes. It’s so disturbing to see how people treat animals. These morons were not uneducated troglodytes, either. The young men went to one of the fanciest parts of the Valley, and the divorcing parents were both doctors!

    They should be arrested.

    Imagine. If they treat their dogs like that, how do they treat the kids?

  3. So pleased that this one has a happy ending. Here in the UK (where we are dog crazy), people get sent to jail for animal cruelty and neglect. Every year many more are banned from keeping animals for life. Not sure what the law on this is in the US, but perhaps the perpetrators should/could be reported to the appropriate authorities?

  4. I’m with Miss M, I don’t see any pitbull in what we can see of the photos. I have to say that some breeds can tolerate our desert heat if provided for properly, which it sounds that these people did not. How awful that the dogs would not have water much of the day, that is cruelty and can lead to death. We have four dogs and some days I make them come in because I think it’s too hot. However, we do have three of the large kiddie pools filled with water which they jump in throughout the day to cool off, we provide plenty of shaded areas and buckets of water in various areas on our 3.5 acres. I’ve also trained them to appreciate being sprayed down with the water hose. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Buddy can socialize the pooch and give her a better home. I think they will need to crate train her in order to get her housebroken at her age and hopefully someone is home during the day that will help to expedite the training.

    • @ Mrs. A: Yes, overall agreed. It’s going to be quite a job, and it’ll take someone who’s there a lot. Mrs. Buddy is about to give birth to twins. I’ve raised a rambunctious German shepherd puppy with ONE small child around…and wouldn’t deliberately choose to do that again. I can’t imagine trying to deal with a dog that needs special care and training while coping with twin infants. Augh!

      These folks were not on a small farm…they were in McMansion Hell out in north-north Scottsdale. As we know, developers in the Phoenix area blade the desert before erecting their piles. No natural shade is left. No grass grows, either, because in those unirrigated reaches not even the wealthy can afford to water it. Lots are generally small: many of these developments have 3,500-square-foot monsters set elbow-to-elbow-to-elbow. Lovely spots. And pretty clearly these folks weren’t spending any time spraying down their dogs, since they couldn’t even be bothered to set out enough water for the animals to drink.

      This summer was SO freaking hot that xeric plants adapted to live in the desert fell over dead, even if they were in the shade. I lost all my lavender plants and all my salvia, most of which was under shade trees — yesterday I talked to a woman at the Desert Botanical Garden who said the DBG also lost most of its salvia and lavender. A dog is not xeric.

      If you have a farm with a barn and trees and maybe even a grassy area, it might be a different story, certainly if you have a horse trough (or kiddy pool) with plenty of water. Whether the dog is in or out depends on the dog’s job. If it’s there to keep you “safe” (uhmmm…), logically it should be at your side most of the time, given the risk of violence from home invaders and burglars in a garden spot like Phoenix. If its job is to chase off coyotes and herd the sheep, then claro que it needs to be in the barnyard and outbuildings. By the same token, if its job is to be a child’s pet, it needs to be in the house with the kid.

  5. Oh those poor dogs, she looks very much like one of many rescue dogs we had to try and place in homes back in the day. Agreed with Miss M, I don’t see any pitbull in her at all, just a dash of mutt to go with the golden. My dogs were all rescues, too, and they had terrible manners for a good while but it wore off after they figured out they were here to stay. 🙂

  6. Miss Molly is a rescue – I got her at about the same age as the girl above.

    It took a while for her to figure out that this was her forever home and to stop hiding whenever anyone but me came into the house.

    I was lucky, the no-kill shelter that took her in (with all her 8 pups) worked hard to get her used to walking on lead. She is mostly Aussie Shepherd, too. That breed is very easy to housebreak. But she is still crated when I am at work.

    Best of luck to the Buddys – hopefully she will work out well for them.

    As far as the former owners – there is, I believe, a special circle of Hades for those who abuse animals.

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