It’s been a very difficult summer so far, a depressing one. We’ve had several euthanasias lately to end suffering-it’s hard to take. It angers me to think that most of these owners don’t think twice about their dog or cat getting euthanized. We are the ones who cry the tears, hold them as they slip away and can’t sleep at night because we’re thinking about it. It infuriates me. I wish the owner would have to hold that animal as they are killed, but then some of them it wouldn’t even faze, trust me. Not everyone is like that, don’t get me wrong. We’ve ended the suffering of some pets of owners who just truly didn’t have the financial means to get it done. They were very grateful that Chain of Hope was there for them and their beloved pet. However, I have been in far too many yards talking to owners about the condition of their animal. There are so many times when someone has signed a dog over to me that they’ve had for 8 or 10 yrs. The dog has suffered, most often from advanced heart worm disease. I’ve had owners that just mumble “bye boy” or something and turn and go in the house. There is so little emotion regarding the dog that it still amazes me. Those of us that have had to euthanize our own dogs over the years have to be literally picked up off the floor from grief. Some of these people don’t even touch the dog, pat it, nothing. It’s sad, but it’s a whole different outlook on animals out there and Chain of Hope is trying to change that mentality. It’s a slow, slow, frustrating process, but we are dedicated to it. Education, education, education. We are the only group in town that is out there every day, knocking on doors, talking with owners, educating them about spay/neuter and the care of their animal. We are providing resources, encouragement, and information. The only way to get this done is to be out there every day like Chain of Hope is, in the trenches, covering neighborhoods. It’s a huge job, but we will not quit. Our faithful dedicated volunteers are out in the horrible heat and humidity, carrying water buckets and dog houses, hanging fly bags, spraying fly spray. We are mighty women. Hey-where’s the guys???
We’ve known about Capone for a couple of years now. He’s a male pit bull, mostly white with some brown. I had brought him in for neuter and vax way back when. He lived in a backyard in Northeast, on a tie-out cable (used to be a heavy chain until we came along), 24/7. He was a sweet boy, but very lonely. He was tied up in a fenced yard and the gate was padlocked. So every time we just wanted to run by and spray him down and check his water or whatever, we had to go to the door and wait until they came out with their key, etc. The people were Spanish speaking, so it was hard to communicate sometimes, unless their daughter was home. Capone had a big scar on his leg when we first met him and from what I could gather, he’d been hit by a car at one time. I didn’t really get if they’d gotten him medical help or not-who knows?
Capone was often thin and I would de-worm him now and then. The lady told me that the rats back there eat his food. How disgusting. I of course told her that wasn’t good and he was going to get sick, but she didn’t say anything. We would get on them about him and then they’d step up a little. It was always just a very sad yard to go to, but I know Capone enjoyed our visits and the pig ears (keep them coming-we’re low again!!!).
I put him on the outreach list last week because we hadn’t been by in a while and I knew his ears would be bloody from the flies. When the girls came back with their outreach report, they said that Capone looked pretty bad. They said he was really thin and he had wounds or something on him. His ears were bloody and he was crawling with fleas! The girls said you could look down at the white dog and see a black movement of fleas moving in mass! Poor Capone. The girls put a Frontline on him and told the people to give him a bath the next day. There was a dead rat laying there, which our volunteers bagged up and got away from Capone’s area. When the volunteers told me everything, I decided that we needed to tell the people that I would take Capone to the vet, Chain of Hope would pay for it and I also told them that there was a possibility of euthanasia. We got our trusty Spanish translator, Ingrid, on it and she took care of everything-including writing up the permission paper in Spanish for them to sign.
I had Shirley go get Capone and bring him to Chain of Hope. I took him from there to the Humane Society of Greater KC. Capone was in pretty bad shape. He was strongly heart worm positive. The vet felt that he had some bone or joint disease. His back end was very weak. He probably had arthritis set in in the leg that had never healed properly. He was very thin. He had numerous what looked like rat bites on him. It was beyond sad. It was inhumane to keep a dog this way.
While in the back of the Humane Society, Capone appeared to be dog aggressive. Who could blame him? He’d lived a solitary life on his chain and was unsocialized with other dogs. I had a very difficult decision to make. I could fix him up best I could and take him back or I could euthanize him. It made me sick to my stomach. We already have 6 pits in our program, of which 3 are dog aggressive. There is no way we could take on another one, not to mention his numerous health problems. His back legs were pretty bad. There are so many pit bulls with no issues at all and we can’t even place them in a timely manner. We’ve had all of our pits in our program for months and months. Capone had so many strikes against him and there just aren’t enough places to put them. This is the reality that we face on a daily basis, as I know many other rescue groups do too-no where for them to go.
I decided that Capone had been forced to live a terrible life in this difficult world long enough and I knew I absolutely would not take him back. The only other option was euthanasia. I sat with him for over an hour, giving him lots of love and the girls fed him good stuff. I loved on him as the vet ended his life. All I could think of and picture was that he had wings and he was flying away from this earth. We love you, Capone-you’re now free.