The Dogs of Campbell Town
Part of Living Large in our Little House is treasuring and hanging on to the good in our lives and Campbell Town just wouldn’t be the same without our any four of our canine kids. We call them the “Fearsome Four,” only because having that many hairy bodies crammed into The Little House is a little scary.
However, no matter how many tumble dogs (you know, those big hairballs that seem to produce themselves) I have to sweep, or how many times we trip over The Fearsome Four, they are as much a part of Campbell Town and The Little House as we are.
They are well…family.
It’s easy to pretend we’re insulated here in Campbell Town. Our nearest neighbor is a relative who lives ¼ mile down the road. Unless we have hunters lurking about the woods, I feel we’re pretty safe from the outside world.
That is until I read stories such as the one I read in The Springfield News-Leader last night about two dogs that were tossed off a highway overpass like they were pieces of garbage.
I have to wonder what kind of people would do that to a living being that could have brought their home so much unconditional love. One dog, a pit bull, died when it landed on the rocks below. The other dog, his rescuers dubbed him “Dover,” is recovering from a broken leg and having lost part of his tongue, which he bit off, presumably when he landed.
In the late 1990s, just before I rescued myself from a gray corporate cube in which I had become much too comfortably numb, Dale and I had the television on during dinner, as we usually do, and was sickened to watch a piece of video the local station had obtained of a dog being burned alive. As it turns out, the video was of Scruffy, a Yorkshire Terrier. He had been stolen from his owners and tortured to death. The four men who did it videotaped the whole event. By the time the case went to trial, I was covering the cops and courts beat for the local daily and wrote about the case. Thanks to a creative prosecutor, who charged the men with arson rather than animal cruelty, the men all ended up with a felony on their records.
In my research for my stories, I learned that sociopaths, or people who cannot feel empathy for the suffering of other living beings, often begin killing sprees on animals. All of the serial killers are known to have tortured and killed pets. I learned that Luke Woodham, one of the school shooters of the 1990s even killed his own dog – one by all accounts he had professed to love – just to make sure he could go through with the murder of his mother and classmates.
Since that time, I’ve researched and wrote a story on puppy mills (including visits to a couple) entitled “Disposable Pets,” and wrote “Moment in the Sun,” an article about the rescue of 13 of the poor dogs that survived Michael Vick’s house of horrors.
We took in one of our four after she wandered up to our house on a blistering hot day. We later learned from our vet that she had given birth, he estimated, not more than a week before. Of course, we never learned of the fate of her puppies, but because she never tried to leave us to go back to them, we assumed someone must have done something with her puppies before dumping her in our neighborhood.
Molly, one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met, was passed to me while the woman held her out as if the little wiener dog were a stinky bag of trash, “We don’t like dogs that lick,” she said, crinkling her nose. Another of our sweet dogs was dumped on the side of the road right in front of us in a city where there is a Breed Specific Ban. The people that literally left her in the dust as they sped away would had to have known that if she wasn’t killed by a car or starved to death, she would be picked up by Animal Control and immediately killed because she happened to belong to a breed they deemed “dangerous.”
I even talked one family into giving up one of our dogs because they left her chained in the backyard all day. Because she barked out of loneliness, one of the members of the family (including the 4-year-old) would routinely go out and kick her (do people really think hurting babies or animals will make them quiet?) When I went to pick her up, she barked at me and one of the kids hit her in the head, knocking her off of the couch.
Still, I continue to be shocked at the stories such as the one I read last night. It never ceases to amaze me at the cruelty and depths of darkness some people have within their souls. It’s enough to make me want to fence off Campbell Town into a fortress, go inside The Little House and tune out the outside world.
But I can’t bury my head and do nothing just because my dogs are safe. The Dogs of Campbell Town are part of the love, happiness and peace they add to our lives here. They make living large even larger and because of that, I want to see people who hurt animals locked up. I want to see people who run dog fighting rings and host dog fights on their rural property lose it and watch all of their worldly goods go to auction with the proceeds benefiting the victims – the dogs that survived.
On some level very deep, though, I also have to feel sorry for people who don’t have the capacity to allow what unconditional love an animal can bring into their hearts. What sad, tormented lives they must lead.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France
In today’s comments, tell us about the animals in your lives!