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.