Crazy Dog Lady Chronicles




Several weeks ago, while taking Abbi to one of her many vet appointments since she came to live with us, I couldn’t help but notice a man signing the release to have the dog that was with him killed. (Note: I only use the term ‘euthanize’ when it is done to relieve the suffering of an animal).

The dog seemed timid, but I could tell she was young. I couldn’t help but notice she had recently had pups, very recently.

He came to the counter and shaking, signed the form. He had tears in his eyes. I wasn’t going to ask but was glad when another woman there with her dog did.

The man said that the dog had wandered up to his farm a couple of months prior. They soon realized the dog was pregnant. He and his wife had taken her in, named her Blair and taken care of her puppies. The litter was barely weaned, but he said he felt he had no choice but to “put her down” because she was chasing and killing his chickens.

As he was led to the back, I paced the waiting room and worried about this poor dog, her only crimes being abandoned and then following her instincts with poultry.

We were led to a room fairly quickly and I barely heard what the vet had to say about Abbi’s latest medical issue.

“Are y’all really going to put that healthy dog down?” I asked.

“Are you interested?”

I wasn’t. We have six, I reminded her, but I would be willing to try to find her a home. The vet tech came back in and led me to the room where the man and Blair were sitting. I explained to him I work with rescues and I would try to find her a home, but I was going to need at least the weekend.

He said Blair had issues with confinement and had been kicked out of the rescue because she wouldn’t stay in the run (just like Abbi) and they had been unsuccessful in finding another home, even after running an ad in the local paper.

There was some interest on my Facebook page, but none of the possible homes worked out. A friend thought she found a foster, but we discussed Blair’s issues with confinement and given they lived in a rental with no fence, we thought better of it.

I asked the people for more time, I had their contact info, but had no idea where they lived. By this time, I had already told them Blair would need to be vetted (deemed healthy) and spayed before a rescue would take her. They agreed to have this done and on the last day I spoke with them, they said Blair was at the vet getting spayed. They also agreed to keep her until June 10 when we could move her to a temporary foster.

A few days later, I finally found a rescue led by a woman here in Arkansas who said she would help, she just needed to take a photo and some video of Blair.

The couple with Blair then quit returning my calls.

“They probably think you’re a whack-a-do” Dale told me bluntly, “Approaching him in the vet’s office like you did.”

I guess I never saw it that way, I just saw something I didn’t think was right and I tried to make a change.

It’s now been several weeks and the people never returned my calls or emails, not even on the 10th when they knew we had a home out of town that would take her.

In the weeks I was investing significant time into finding someplace where this dog could have a second chance; I became emotionally involved in the outcome and was quite heartbroken when it didn’t work out.

Should I have just taken Blair home that day? Should I have made sure I went and got her on that first deadline, instead of asking those people to hold her for another two weeks? I know it wasn’t realistic of me to think I could bring yet another dog home. We’re overwhelmed financially and space-wise. Mentally, I really just cannot handle one more dog.

Does Blair deserve an R.I.P? I hope not, but I cannot be for certain. I wish I could post a happy ending for Blair. That was my goal. I only hope these people found a way to work with Blair and didn’t do what I stopped him from doing in the first place.

I can only hope.

This whole saga reminds me of why I prefer dealing with my dogs instead of people on most days.

This experience has me re-thinking how involved I should become in these instances. What do you think I should have done? Have you ever stepped in to help someone or an animal and it didn’t work out?

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33 Responses

  1. mat says:

    As others have pointed out, Kerri, you made the right call.
    The household I grew up in had a proclivity for “broken things”. People, animals, whatever. At one point, we had 62 cats, a couple of birds, some fish, and an iguana. In a 1200 square-foot twin. No outdoor pets. Thank the heavens for the basement.
    That was the definition of insanity. To this day, my wife still can’t believe there were ever that many animals in my childhood home, but I remember counting food bowls after scooping the 23rd litterbox. Today, I think the numbers at my mother’s house swing from high teens to high twenties (cats only these days) and I still think that’s crazy. But when you compare it to the high point…..
    We don’t have pets at our house these days…pretty much because of all that mess.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, my, Mat. Believe me ONE dog does not a mess typically create and every boy needs a dog. 🙂

      • mat says:

        Yeah, we talked about a dog before we had our son…but we honestly like not having to clean up after pets. I feel that I’ve been there and done that, at least for now.
        Our next-door neighbors have 3 dogs of varying size and obnoxiousness. They care for them well, but we live on a 10th of an acre and…that smell. As it gets humid here, that smell finds it’s way into our house too.

  2. How heart-wrenching. We’ve been thinking about getting another dog (shhh, don’t tell my kids) but the truth is our one shelter dog doesn’t play well with others. It would be so hard to turn away an animal that needed a home. Growing up we rescued all sorts of strays. At one time we had 9 cats and one dog. I hope you find out that Blair is okay. Poor dog.

    • Kerri says:

      I’ve had dogs that didn’t play well with others that did just fine with another dog once they were introduced. I think it could work out. 😉

  3. Irene says:

    What a heart-wrenching post. You did all you could do and you surely gave Blair’s owners the opportunity to think about their decision. Sorry it worked out this way.
    Hugs, Irene

  4. Claudia says:

    It’s easier said than done, but please don’t feel at all guilty.

    You did your best to help and that’s all any of us can ever do. I suspect Blair’s temporary caregivers gave up on her — maybe they’re on a limited budget, and couldn’t afford to get her vetted and spayed but were too proud to say so — before the deadline and were too ashamed to let you know. It’s too bad and it’d be easy to judge, but it’s not a black and white situation — after all, they did find homes for her puppies and clearly didn’t take putting Blair down lightly.

    My heart goes out to everyone involved in a situation like this.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Claudia. But if economics were at play, they certainly didn’t care much about Blair’s life, or as much as I thought they did. I still believe some other factor was at play. 🙁

  5. Merr says:

    I completely understand the feelings you describe. Being there, in the moment, the feelings must have been intensified. I believe that loving energy you expressed for Blair was felt by her, truly.

  6. Heather L. says:

    Sorry you didn’t get closure on this particular situation, but you did put alot of effort into it. No, I don’t think you should have taken this dog home.

  7. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    As you may know I work in animal welfare too, here in Greece. Over the years I’ve learned that you become as involved… as your present state of mind, energy level and family situation will allow you to. Otherwise it’s a short crossover to madness. Sometimes we have to husband our resources and pick our battles. Sometimes helping an animal means helping OTHERS to help.

    I totally agree that with animal rescue it’s not the animals that are hard to deal with but the people. We all have our individual lives, agendas, motivations, problems. Many times I’ve had to really cut through the crap to stay focused on the animal that we are trying to help. It’s a really tough situation because sometimes people know that we are mad for animals and practice emotional blackmail on us.

    In this case, you did your best and came really close. The OTHERS lost faith. That’s sad but you can’t lose faith nor question your handling of the matter. You just don’t KNOW how it would have all worked out.

    Bravo Kerri for your work and compassion. Today’s story was a sad one but tomorrow’s could be a happy one. The point is we’re in for the long haul and there will be many stories ahead.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Vida. I should note that a really good friend worked very hard on this with me and volunteered to take in Blair on June 10 although she was quite overwhelmed with two other strays and life as well. I think we both did the best we could and the more I think about it, the more I know that is a true statement. You’re right, Vida, it was the other people who lost faith (maybe) or had life overwhelm them. And you’re also right that there will be many stories ahead for both of us. I saw something the other day on Facebook. It said, “Working in animal rescue: The fine line between compassion and loosing your mind.” True.

      • Vida says:

        That fine line is sometimes gossamer thin and stretched to breaking point… what keeps me from the edge is the knowledge that in order to help more animals down the road I MUST conserve my self and sanity. It is a discipline I constantly have to practice. Love the quote, so true.

  8. Alexandra says:

    This post was heartbreaking, as Sheryl said. Heart-wrenching, in fact. It made me think of the way my husband always intervenes when he sees abuse of women on the street, say, something we all should do but most people don’t.

    • Kerri says:

      It’s always a fine line to know when to stick our noses in, isn’t it, Alexandra. Particularly in those instances. As the police routinely learn on domestic disturbance calls, the women who are being abused often times turn on the police in such matters. It’s a strange world we live in, but I think it could be better if more people did involve themselves.

  9. Jenni Meyer says:

    Kerri, You tried to save her, and did all that you could. When you feel down about it just remember Ms. Molly, you saved her life and brought us together. She is doing wonderfully and is a pure joy. She’s happy and healthy, and YOU and Alyson made a difference in her life. I will be forever grateful…blessings.

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Jenni. But Alyson is really the person to thank for your Ms. Molly. I simply reposted her story and was the connection that put you with Alyson and then with Molly. I’m so happy she’s worked out for you. I always find it so sad when I dog’s owner dies and leaves a pet’s life in limbo.

  10. Lindsay says:

    Ug. That is a terrible situation. I think you did the right thing. It took a lot of courage to stand up and say something when most people would have just walked away. We already have a lot of animals as well and my husband is not fond of me “dragging something else home” as sometimes happens. It can add a stressful element to a marriage when you already have a lot going on and limited finances like we do. Please don’t give up your rescuer’s heart. I think it’s wonderful that you have made a home for 6 dogs. That’s 6 less that will die in a shelter; that will live out their lives happily being loved.
    Last winter we found a spaniel mix out on the farm we are now living on. It was snowing and he was of course collarless. We drove around for hours knocking on doors, trying to find his home and even put up fliers around town. He was an older dog and also deaf. After a month with no luck we finally decided to try and find him a home. With 4 kids and 2 other dogs my plate was already full. We ended up finding him a great home through craigslist with a mentally disabled man that lived with his parents. It kind of seemed that he came into our lives for a reason; so we could bring some happiness into that young man’s life. We run into a lot of wandering strays being out in the countryside but still relatively close to town. It is always a hard choice when you see them. Whether or not to stop and pick them up? Will they wander back home on their own? Will my husband be mad lol? Never and easy decision. I hope you can find some peace in your yours. I think you did the best you could.

    • Kerri says:

      What a wonderful, wonderful story about the deaf dog and the disabled man, Lindsay. I believe that dog wandered into your life for a purpose. I always believe that. We get a lot of strays out here too and a lot of people shoot them to keep them from starving to death or getting infected with rabies, heart worm or other dreadful diseases. It sounds cruel and we’ve never done it (of course). I found a home for a Beagle a neighbor found a couple of years ago and I had no idea getting Blair placed would be so difficult. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

  11. Robbie says:

    How sad! 🙁 Kerri I think that you did all that you could for the poor dog… I too often feel that the more people I meet the more I love my pets! (cats and dog) Hugs to you and I hope you can have some closure to this awful experience. My heart goes out to you. (hugs) Truth be told, I don’t like people much, they can be very cruel and manipulating. It is so hard to deal with the “what ifs” . If I only kind of thing. You did what you could, and I feel that is a lot more than many would have done. At least you had the courage to try and help !

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Robbie. My husband is always saying, “we can’t save them all.” Yet, I’ve never been able to turn my back on the ones that cross our paths either.

  12. Carol says:

    I volunteer with Boxer Rescue of Los Angeles. We often have owner turn ins that are anxious to give up their dog, then find a friend/family member who will take the dog and then they drop off the face of the earth. Meanwhile, we are looking to pick up the dog, etc…with no response. Hopefully, this is what happened to Blair. It is unfortunate that they did not return your calls, but sometimes people are so thoughtless. And you can’t take them all in, its just a fact of life. You did the right thing and tried to help both the dog and owner.

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Carol, for those words. I do hope that’s what happened, they just found a way to live with Blair or maybe they found someone on their own.

  13. Oh, boy. I’m so sorry that all you have left is a weird, sad unknowing about what happened to Blair. I don’t know how to answer your questions. All of us do what we feel we can in the moment. You did what felt right, and I’m sure the disappointment and heartbreak is tough … not to mention the frustration of spending all that time and energy for naught. I’m sorry. All hail Blair, where ever she is.

  14. Oh Kerri! I think it is wonderful you tried to help this dog. You did all you could and you did nothing wrong. Maybe they found another home for the dog, had a medical emergency, or something else happened and they just couldn’t call you back. Who knows? All I know is you made the effort to help and for that you deserve kudos!

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Brette, the man did have medical issues, which was one of the problems. Our VA hospital is in Little Rock, 3 hours away and because Blair couldn’t be confined, nor could she be left out with the chickens, the wife couldn’t accompany her husband on his visits to the hospital. Maybe something did happen to him, I hope not.

  15. Sheryl says:

    Oh, how heartbreaking. I’m so sad reading this. I suppose I would have stepped in, too, but please don’t feel guilty for not taking her (although I know you do). There’s just so much one can do, and you are helping so many other dogs. If you keep saying yes, they will take over your house!

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Sheryl. I’m very sad too. I know I did right by the dogs I already have (not to mention my marriage) for not bringing her home, but I do feel terrible.