Oped: Dog's death serves as tragic reminder
A dog lay dead along route 30. She was a beautiful dog, some sort of Pit Bull breed. She was a mother and obviously had puppies recently. She was once someone’s pet, hopefully loved … at least for a while, then something happened. She served her purpose, grew into adulthood and was no longer that cute little puppy that was once so adored. She gave birth to a litter of new puppies, maybe something more valuable to her owner. Suddenly, perhaps, she became more of a liability than an asset, so she was dumped along a back country road.
I was on my way to work and saw her running along the road that housed an industrial complex with construction companies, radio stations, and across the bridge over route 30, a farm that sells tan bark, which is the direction she was heading when I saw her. Although I was already late for work, I stopped my SUV and called out to her. She turned and looked at me with fear in her eyes, or maybe it was confusion. She wouldn’t come to me and continued to run off, but I thought, at least she’s not out along route 30, hopefully she’ll be OK.
Five hours later, I was heading home from work when I caught a glimpse of something along the road. I thought, no, please don’t be the dog I saw a few hours earlier. I got off the next exit circled around and headed back east again. There she was, lying lifeless along the road, the dog I feared I would recognize. My heart was broken. This poor confused dog suffered a painful, lonely death along a dark highway this cold December night.
She could have simply slipped away from her owner, but no, my thoughts leaned toward abandonment because she wasn’t wearing a collar and was pretty far from a residential area. In addition, a dog who has recently had puppies doesn’t tend to stray too far away from their young. How can people be so cruel? We live in such a self-righteous, entitlement-driven society that considers everything not desired disposable.
If you think that dumping a dog or cat along the road is the answer to your problems, then you are an irresponsible jerk who should never be given the opportunity to own a pet again.
The holiday season is upon us and if you are considering having Santa leave a new puppy or kitten under the Christmas tree, please consider the long-term responsibilities associated with pet ownership. Don’t pass off 100 percent of the care for the pet onto the children, be a responsible adult and set a mature example of pet care for them, after all, Santa had to get your permission to bring the pet into your home in the first place.
There’s more to owning a pet than just providing food and water. Have you considered the cost of veterinary care, including vaccines and health issues? It’s also up to you to love your pet. The unconditional love you get in return will be multiplied beyond your dreams. And please get your pet spayed or neutered, which leads to my final concern.
There are so many beautiful pets living day-to-day in overcrowded shelters just waiting for a new, loving, forever home. As sad as shelter life could be looked upon, the survival rate is far better than being dumped along the road to fend for themselves. Buying a pet from a breeder means one more shelter pet being euthanized because they are not wanted, including purebred rescue dogs and cats, bunnies and birds.
With only a few days until Christmas, I wish I could have saved the dog I saw that evening, and I’m upset that I couldn’t. But, maybe this letter she influenced me to write will inspire awareness to help save other pets over the coming holidays.
— Bob Rudy is a resident of Lancaster County. He is a part-time college instructor, part-time on-air radio personality and board member of Pet Guardians at www.petguardians.org<http://www.petguardians.org.