Carl the Ranger, like me, loves dogs. Which often makes it hard for him to do what oft-times he must when a stray dog goes unclaimed by its owner. There are few options open most of the time. The SPCA is far away, and has too many dogs already. There is a limited market locally for a pre-owned dog even if it is house-trained and socially respectable, which so few strays are. Nonetheless Carl tries with any dog that has some hope of making a good pet or companion for someone. If he can, he will find a new owner for a suitable dog, but frequently the dog is not salvageable due to having been raised by a bad owner. I think the bad owners should be made to do the disposal deed. When a particularly nice young dog has been neglected and ruined by uncaring careless people, I think it is them we should be rounding up and putting in the pound.
Occasionally I accompany Carl to help with the despatch of a dog that looks as if it may be difficult for him to handle alone. The method of choice involves a fast moving projectile of lead between the eyes. The dogs always know something bad is going to happen despite the gentle talking and handling, and the kind voice tones. They are inevitably trembling and afraid. I see that doing the deed affects Carl the same way as me, and that is one of the reasons I like him. He does all he can to ensure the end is quick and humane.
The other day I accidentally let one small dog escape. We were at the landfill of course, by the animal pit. The little Bichon-Frise cross panicked and pulled out of the collar I had tied around his neck. He ran like the proverbial and was gone. I later heard he was adopted at a local farm. It was an accident, and I can’t expect to get away with doing it again, but inside I was cheering the little bugger on as he ran. He was a cutie and I was convinced that given time someone would have taken him. Many a time I have been tempted to adopt one of the nicer pups that pass through the pound, but each time I remind myself of the great responsibility that comes with being the caretaker of a dog. Also of the great financial and emotional burden they can be. If I was not a biker, I think I would succumb, but it would not be responsible for me to own a dog when I intend to be off on a bike as much as I can be. Besides, I could not possibly rescue every dog that deserves a better home than fate has dealt it.
However, today I very nearly fell. Carl asked me this evening to accompany him to help pick up a couple of stray pups that someone had reported as having been abandoned on their doorstep. Here they are:
Surely someone will take them?