I Should Have Lied

2 02 2012

On Monday afternoon, on a rural road we found a dog.  She was in a dangerous spot so I slowed down to pass her.  At which point she started following my mini-van.  I drove slowly up the next hill afraid a car was going to come over the crest and crush her.  She trotted along after us.  Finally, at the top of the hill I got out.

She walked up to me wagging her tail, head low and agreed to drop the nasty bone covered in pine needles she was carrying.  Then she happily jumped in the back of my van.

PJ named her Hey, which got changed to Hay Bale.  I started calling her Hailey and PJ changed that to Bailey.

An older, female wheaten terrier, the back 50% of Bailey’s body was covered in mats.  Not the worst I have ever seen, but I worked in animal shelters for many years, so my bar is really high (or is that low?)  Regardless, it was bad enough to be considered neglect and was certainly causing her discomfort.

On Monday night I began letting people know I found the dog.  A mid-sized, well-behaved, non-shedding dog is usually a hot commodity.  I also started contacting breed rescue groups so that as soon as the dog became legally ours, we could move her on to her forever home.

Tuesday morning I filed “found” reports with the local humane society and animal control agencies.  I had already taken her to be scanned for a microchip at a veterinarian’s office.  I arranged to have her professionally groomed on Wednesday.

Wednesday morning I dropped her off at the groomers.  Although they were booked for the day they agreed to fit her in because of her conditions.  She had been at the groomers for about an hour when I got a call from the Humane Society.  The owner was there looking for his dog.  They put him on the phone with me so we could speak directly.

He was a mumbly old man and hard to understand.  We started with some niceties and then I asked, “Can you tell me why she is so matted?”

“Matted?’

“Yes, the whole back half of her body is matted.”

“She’s a farm dog.”

“Well, even if she is a farm dog it is not okay for her to be matted like this.”

“Mumble, mumble.  Where can I pick her up?”

“It is actually against the law for her fur to be so bad because it is painful.”

“Mumble, where are you?”

“I took her to the groomer’s this morning to get her shaved.  So I don’t have her right now.”

“What groomer is she at?”

“Well, I want her to be groomed, so I will just meet you somewhere after she is done.”

“I am trying to get out of town.  Where do you live?”

“It doesn’t matter where I live.  The dog isn’t at my house.  I am sorry you are trying to get out of town.  She will be done at 3:00.”

“Okay.  I am trying to leave town.”

“Well she is at a groomer south of town, so it will be easy for us to meet as soon as she is done.”

“Okay.”

An hour later I got another call.

“This is the groomers.  The owners of the dog you brought in are here and they want to pick her up.”

Damn, damn, damn.

The groomer put me on the phone with the wife.

Her voice dripped sugar as she told me how grateful she was that I had picked her dog up.

Then she outright lied to me about the dog only getting out once every three months.  I had actually seen the dog on the same road a week ago, but assumed she lived around there.  When I saw her the second time and she started following me, I thought maybe she had been dumped.  Especially when I saw the condition of the fur.

I asked her to please let the groomer finish her fur.  I told her I would be happy to pay for it.  As we continued to chat, I guess she handed the phone back to the groomer.  And I didn’t know it.  So I thought we had come to an agreement.  But apparently we hadn’t.  Because they took the dog without letting the groomer finish.

As soon as they left the shop, the groomer called me back.  She apologized and said she did everything she could to convince them to let her finish, but they simply wouldn’t.

I understand that animals play different roles in different people’s lives.  Not every dog sleeps on the bed with his owner.  And I accept this.  Lots of dogs are pretty happy living lives that I would never subject one of my pets too.  HOWEVER, it is not acceptable for people to neglect their animals.  I actually do not know the animal statutes in Missouri, maybe it is legal to neglect grooming – in Oregon it is not.  What is unconscionable is the dog was already at the groomers.  I was paying for the shave and these folks still would not take care of their dog.

However, they were willing to drive all over the south-side of town looking for their dog.  There are multiple groomers located close together so this probably wasn’t THAT hard.

So, what’s the take home of this story?  I should have lied.  I should have said, “I am at work.  I can drop the dog back off at your house at 4 pm, or I can drop her off at the humane society.”

I hope they end up in nursing homes with matted hair.  And caretakers who are in a hurry to get out of town.

Sorry, Hay Bale, I tried.

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7 responses

2 02 2012
Amy

Kerry, you have a heart of gold and this story absolutely breaks my heart. Maybe you will find Hay Bale again and this time, figure out a way to ensure she doesn’t go back to these horrible people. I know you did everything you could … and that’s what counts!

2 02 2012
Erin

Weird.
Thanks for all the work you did to do the right thing, and sorry it didn’t have a perfect outcome.
Weird.

2 02 2012
Amber Stine

You certainly did the best you could for poor Hay Bale. Unfortunately, I’ve been around many dog owners like Hay Bale’s and I don’t think there is any reasoning with them. I grew up on a farm, and all of my uncles, cousins, etc…. were also farmers. We all had filthy farm dogs with matted hair and lots of fleas and ticks (yeah, I know how awful that is now but didn’t know it when I was a child). In that world I lived in, it was unheard of to spend money on a dog for vet care and laughable to spend money for grooming. If the dogs were serisouly injured or extremely sick, they would be shot to be put out of their misery, if an adult got around to it before the poor dog left to hide and die alone. Based on my childhood experience, some of these adults really cared about their dogs, at least in some wierd sort of capacity. The dogs would happily ride in the back of pick-up trucks, enjoy yummy table scraps and fresh cow’s milk, follow people around as they worked, and enjoy some daily attention from the dirty children, myself included, who were already so dirty and covered in flea, tick, and chigger bites that we didn’t mind petting the dogs as they were. Yes, I think Hale Bale is a neglected dog and her owner’s behavior/attitude is wrong. I also know that if anyone had tried to step in and help our dogs, the adults would have been offended by “stupid city folk” and would have shown some hostility about another person interferring with their “property.” It’s a shame, but some people cannot be reasoned with. Perhaps you will find Hay Bale once again and then lie in order to protect her . . . that’s what I would do.
Amber

2 02 2012
Amanda

Oh wahhhhhhhh KERRY!!! Now I am all upset and going to have nightmares and worry about this sweet dog. grrr. You must be so upset. I would be agonizing over this if it happened to me. I’m so sorry! And how sad it is it if you DO find her again and keep her, they’ll probably just get another dog to mistreat. I hate this. 😦

3 02 2012
tamara b

I was going to type something about them being old and the possibility of them not realizing how yucky their dog was but then I started reading your next post while I waited for the comment to show up. And since I learned to lie in this post, I thought I’d share that I think I’m dying of cancer and could really use a good laugh. Will you video your zumba and send it to me?

Your lying friend,
Tamara B

4 02 2012
Cazadora

Pobre de Hay Bale. Sucky people.

12 02 2012
claudia

Oh.

That’s really sad.

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