Last Friday, while Georgia Power contractors were replacing meters in our neighborhood, one of them asked me about dog that he thought looked starved and abandoned. He told me there was no power going to the house when he replaced the meter.
He told me about it because he thought I looked like someone who cared about animals and would do something about it. He was right.
I knew exactly which house he was talking about. We'd been wondering just a day or two before if the people had moved, leaving a lot of junk behind them.
I got on the phone and called one of the neighbors who lived closer to it. (I'm not that close.) He said he thought they had moved out except that one of the teenagers was still living there, or so he thought. I decided to go see the dog for myself. I rang the doorbell, and when no one answered, I walked to the side to look over the fence.
Yes, the dog was there. As you can see, he was very thin and shaggy looking. I came home, called my vet and looked for a rescue who could help him. However, it's late on a Friday afternoon, and my vet's office is the only one I can reach. I get information on how to feed him so that he won't get sick, then I head back over with a small amount of dogfood, a water bowl and a bottle of water.
He's quite hungry. I'll admit that I've been intimidated by this dog in the past. He barked wildly at anyone passing on the street, many times looking like he would leap right over the fence. Needless to say, I certainly didn't want to get too close to him, but I also needed to feed him. I put the dish on top of some junk in the backyard, and he grabbed it to carry it off and eat.
I went back with a slightly larger portion a few hours later. Keith suggested I try a paper plate since the dog had run off with the container I'd used. Well, the paper plate was a bad idea. The dog grabbed it, sending dogfood flying all over the place. The next time I fed him, I used a disposable plastic sandwich container. This time the dog took it gently from my hand. That's how I fed him for the next few meals. I took him the food in a sandwich container, and he took it from my hand.
On Saturday morning I spoke to a different rescue group who were adopting animals at Petsmart. The woman in charge there told me to contact animal control. My county's animal control is actively working with rescues, and she told me that several of the officers would do what they could to help get a purebred German Shepherd rescued. Honestly, I felt very uncomfortable contacting them. I'm sure it's because in the past going to the pound meant the animal would probably be euthanized, but I decided to call.
I had a very interesting chat with the a.c. officer who called me back. She did go put an abandonment notice on the house, and I continued to feed the dog. This was Saturday afternoon and Sunday. On Monday morning I started contacting people again. I found a rescue group who could pay for his vetting, but they needed a foster home. I knew I couldn't be his foster home, and the rescue basically agreed with me. He would need someone who was more familiar and comfortable with German Shepherds. Our April, who passed away in 1999 or 2000 was part German Shepherd, but she was a petite 45 - 50 pounds. This guy is a full sized one, and he'd be like letting a pony into the house, not to mention both of us were unsure of how we would be around him. I'm working on getting him a foster home, contacting some other people and groups, and I go over to feed him.
He's gone. The notice from Animal Control is gone, the dog's gone, and some of the junk is gone. I come home, call a friend who does lab rescue, and she agrees that the owner probably picked him up, but she says call Animal Control just in case. It wasn't them. So, after leaving the dog for probably two weeks, according to some of the other neighbors, they got him when they were about to get cited for negligence.
I know in the past the dog had been cared for, so part of me hopes that this was just a bad time for them, and now they'll care for him again. What I'm afraid of is that they'll just abandon him somewhere else. There's nothing I can do about that.
I wish I'd known about him earlier. Apparently this had been going on for awhile, and when they moved out, I think the dog had been in bad enough shape that he wasn't barking anymore. The folks I spoke to across the street didn't know he was still there as no one had heard him barking in some time.
Well, I did my best, and I know that I can't save them all, but that doesn't stop me from feeling sad about the whole situation.