Sunday, January 29, 2012

Introducing Mae

Mae at the pound.

I was not looking for a new foster dog when I visited Chicago Animal Care and Control three weeks ago. We had come to evaluate Mr. Marbles to see if we could place him with CBBR. Visiting the hundreds of sad dogs at CACC always makes me cry, but I get a little tougher each time. We walked up and down the aisles of one of the "back wards" at CACC, where the dogs can only be saved by a rescue--they are not "on the adoption floor" where the public can even meet them. The overwhelming majority of these dogs are pit bulls or bully mixes. Not surprising, since pitties are more likely than other kinds of dogs to be owned by neglectful, abusive, or irresponsible people.

Day 1 in a proper home.
Anyway, we were looking for Marbles, but in the process I saw a little red brindle pittie curled up on her kennel bed. She looked at me as I walked by handing out treats to the inmates. She got up slowly and quietly and checked me out. There was just something about her--she was so unassuming and mellow. I took her for a walk in the yard, where she behaved like a true lady even among lots of other rowdy dogs. She was fearless and calm. My kinda girl. Too bad I was about to leave town for a week for a conference. After asking at the desk whether the puppy could be held for me until I got back, I learned that this little puppy was "on the list." She had been treated for pneumonia and still had a cold, and had very crooked front legs. It was now or never. We made some phone calls, and a great CBBR volunteered to "babysit" the puppy until I got back to town. I marched back to Mae's kennel and scooped her up.

As it turns out, Mae's crooked legs were caused by hypertrophic osteodystrophy--a painful growth defect in her ankle bones. This was compounded by a total lack of exercise after literally growing up in a cage at the pound for two months. After three weeks of running around like a normal dog, Mae's legs are almost completely straight. The pain in her ankles has decreased, and she's finally growing. (We thought she was about 14 weeks old until we looked at her teeth. She's at least seven months old, just very small.) Mae is a delightful little dog. She loves children, dogs, and cats, and walks on her leash like she's been doing it for years. She knows sit and down, is crate trained, and is doing great with her housetraining. She is going to make someone very happy.

Mae feeling great at home with foster sis.

Lesson: Most dogs end up at the pound because their humans are shitty. Everyday, thousands of OUTSTANDING dogs like Mae sit in cages, staring at nothing, just hoping someone will see their potential and make room in their lives for another life. It's true that the problem is overwhelming. But you can do nothing, or you can do SOMETHING. It's up to you. If you want to understand the depth of need, contact us and we'll tour you around a local pound. If you or someone you know would like to adopt Mae, or you'd like to become a foster parent for another desperate and worthy death row dog, contact

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