Thursday, July 31, 2008
Coco, a sweet and beautiful pitbull, was brought to the ASPCA by her owners last week after giving birth to a litter of puppies. She had been having seizures during the pregnancy and was immediately placed in the ICU. The puppies were in good health and, since it was too dangerous to leave them with their mother for fear she would have another seizure and crush them, the doctors gave them the "all clear" to go home with the owners. The moment Coco was placed in her ICU cage without her puppies she began to make these awful noises that can only be described as screams. I was happy that my shift was almost over as the screams were making it difficult to think straight.
When I arrived at the ASPCA early Monday morning after being on vacation for a week I was surprised to find Coco still in the ICU and still being very vocal. When Coco's doctor came in later that morning I inquired about her seizures and was happy to learn that she hadn't had any since giving birth. I also learned that the owners "friend" was scheduled to come pick her up later that day. While her screaming and howling continued at a fairly constant rate, it was clear that her noises were a demand for attention. I managed to find some time to take Coco out for a walk and she jumped all over me, happily licking my face. Before I left for the day, I crawled in her cage with her and let her sprawl across my lap while I rubbed her ears and scratched her rump. I kissed her on the head and got up to leave hoping that, for the sake of my coworkers ears, Coco's owner would arrive soon to take her home.
Thursday was my next shift and I was absolutely astounded to walk through the door of ICU only to have Coco come running to greet me. The night shift techs, now familiar enough with Coco, had let her out to roam the ICU while they cleaned her cage. She was still waiting patiently for her owners or her owners' "friend" to come rescue her and take her back to her puppies. But the plain truth was that they were not coming back to get her. They wanted the puppies and had no use for an adult female dog who may possibly have seizures for the rest of her life (for the record, she still hasn't had a seizure since giving birth and there is no reason to believe that she will). The owners got exactly what they wanted and so they abandoned her. Instead of being at home where she could care for and nurse her puppies, Coco has been living in the chilly windowless ICU at the ASPCA. Instead of lying on a comfy dog bed in someone's living room, she is sitting in a metal cage with only a few layers of brown paper to sleep on.
I try to shower love and attention on as many of the owner-less animals as I can but I'm there to do a job and I just don't always have the time. That people would have the audacity to just dump an animal like that, that they can be so callous to think that it won't affect the animal appalls me. Coco, having such a sweet personality and good temperament, will hopefully be up for adoption soon and be given a better life than her first one. At the ASPCA, we call it the "forever home". It may sound like a sappy and sentimental name but it's what these animals deserve. It breaks my heart to see the love and devotion that an animal is still willing to give after being thrown away, or abused or neglected. I hope Coco gets her chance. I hope all the animals at the ASPCA get their chance. I have to believe they will, it's the only way I can keep doing my job.