Thursday, August 30, 2007

Beyond Thunderdome

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lucy's fine. She's entertaining herself by rolling around on the carpet. If she were less busy, she'd thank you for your concern. This is not a sad post.

Yes, there's knitting content coming. Yes, there's house news. I'll get to it this weekend.

You know what's more important? That we stop and take a minute to acknowledge and be thankful for groups like BadRap.

Several years ago, one of my co-workers sent out an e-mail asking for help. I probably still have it somewhere in my archives. The gist of it was, "Please help! There's a sweet dog at the shelter, and she doesn't have much time. I'll find another home for her if someone will just get her out of the shelter!"

I'm a sucker, so of course I called him. "Tim, how much time are we talking about?"

"You'd have to decide by the end of today. She's only got a few hours. Do you have time to drive up there right now?"

"Well, I'm at work, so it might be kind of tough. What kind of dog?"

"Lab-pit mix. C'mon. Nobody will miss you. Meet me in the parking lot!"

We drove twenty-five miles up to the Martinez animal shelter. I knew the moment I saw that gaping smile that I couldn't let her take that long, last walk. I called Accountant Boy when I got back to my desk.

"You're not really asking me in a way that lets me say 'no', are you?"

"Awwwwww honey! We can't let her DIE!" It came out of my mouth as a distinctly Lucy Ricardo wail. That's how she got her name, by the way.

"Do I have time to at least meet this dog before we bring it home?" It turned out that he didn't. I ended up adopting a dog that he'd never seen before.

Still, I was concerned. The Engineer and Big Guy had both owned pit bulls, and both dogs had been more than a little cat-aggressive. There'd been tragedies. "We'll save her, but Tim, you MUST find someplace else for her. We won't risk Buddy's safety. We made him a promise. We're giving you a chance to find her a permanent home."

As everyone other than the two of us knew, we were her last chance. As the weeks went by, it became apparent that Tim wasn't going to find another sucker to take a hyperactive, burly black pitbull off our hands. Problem was, every time we tried to bring her in from the back yard, she went after Buddy. She had a lot of territory issues, and God knows what else from her life before meeting us. "She's a good dog, and she's trying so hard, but we CAN'T KEEP HER!" Much weeping and hand wringing followed. "Maybe there's some pitbull rescue that can take her."

Enter BadRap. We called them, hoping they'd just, I don't know, sweep in and take her somewhere else. Naive, sure, but we didn't know any better. We didn't know how overtaxed their extensive volunteer and foster care system was, didn't think that if Lucy was already in a good home, she was infinitely better off than the dogs that they were still valiantly trying to pluck from the shelters. As much as they wanted to help, they didn't have a foster home for her.

"Are you sure you can't keep her? She sounds like a real sweetheart."

"We tried to introduce her to our cat, and she tried to EAT HIM! It was HORRIBLE!"

"How did you introduce them?"

"We had her on a leash, and we let him out of the bedroom, and..." We basically described the second half of 'Beyond Thunderdome'. Two pets enter, one pet leaves. "...yeah, I guess I can see where that'd go wrong..."

There was laughter on the other end of the line. I was then gently and good-naturedly informed that we hadn't done the introductions right at all, and that we should give it another try, this time with a crate and a little more control. We followed her recommendations, and you know the rest of the story.

So since then, I've been a big cheerleader for BadRap. It gives me great pleasure to link to this news article. Look at how, even in the middle of such horror, there can be good.


turtlegirl76 said...

Awww, what a great story. You had me worried there for a minute. I thought this was going to be a goodbye post to Lucy. *phew*

Batty said...

What a great story! And those two, curled up on the couch in identical poses... it's just too cute.