“PIC to animal control.”
I bite my lip. Don’t answer it, Inder. Let some other officer take this call. Don’t fucking answer—
“Go ahead, PIC.” I withdraw my errant thumb from the radio button. –Darnit, Inder.
“Abandoned house on map-score 76X has two pit bulls in the backyard. Seems like they haven’t been fed for a very very–” He sighs. “—Just hurry, Please.”
I pull over to the side of the road. 76X is not my map-patrol area but suddenly I feel like the only one who can respond to the Public Interest Call (Police call).”
“As I pull up to a yellow house with knee high weeds in the yard and knock on the door trying to avoid the splinters, the police officer peeks around the corner.
“Oh it’s you, Inder.” He adjusts his cap. “This is bad.” He walks me around the house.
I look into the backyard and immediately look away. I take three deep breaths and look again.
A brown and white pit bull is struggling to get up. He keeps falling back into a small pit his body has dug up from trying to wiggle around in an effort to get off the ground. His tail is wagging slowly at the sight of a human. There is so much pain in his eyes and just a glimmer of hope.
As I open the gate and rush towards him a swarm of flies settled on his bleeding ears fly away. I pull out my canvas bowl and fill it with water. He drinks it as fast as he can. His gums and tongue are white as chalk. He gaaks and throws up the first water he’s had in weeks.
I do a quick capillary refill test. I’ve counted to 1009 and his gums haven’t regained any colour yet. I say my first prayer in the week.
He struggles to get up again. I place my arm under him and help him up. 25-30 pounds, max. My hand easily encircles his non-existent waist. His pelvis is protruding and I can clearly see one side of his ball and socket joint. Then he stands up fully and I see it—
–A wound the size if a golf ball on the side he’s been sitting on. The sharpness of the hip bones have broken through the skin on that side and it is swarming with maggots.
His front legs almost give way and I catch him on his way down. I want to take him in the truck and feed him and get him out of the suffocating heat. But I also need to make my cruelty case water-tight. I say my second prayer of the week and apologize to him. I’m sorry on behalf of humanity that someone did this to you. I must bring that person to justice. I must take pictures of you and these filthy surroundings to be able to prosecute the person.
That brings me to the second dog. She has two 25-pound cast iron weights tied to her collar. She’s just marginally stronger than the first dog. She’s a mama who’s had puppies recently. I say a prayer for the puppies, knowing all to well that they must’ve been sold for drug money or bait-dogs.
A few more pictures later, I load both of them in the truck and call emergency code to the Vet-staff. The entire shelter is now in Code-red mode.
As soon as the truck is put in neutral and I pull the hand-break, a team of vet-techs descends on the truck. The dogs are unloaded and taken in. The Vet rushes past me as I am dusting my uniform ordering ice and water from a vet-tech and I.V fluids from another.
I sit down on the curb and curl into a ball, finally the tears come- but only behind the aviator sun-glasses.
After my shift was over later today, I walked into the emergency clinic fully expecting the empty gurneys. But there they were, sedated to lower their blood pressure and being given their third bottle of blood.
I remember my ACO cruelty training class. When a dog’s body fat is so low that even I.V fluids are rejected, the very last hope they have is blood-transfusions.
These two dogs are on their last chance and I am sitting on a desk writing this blog and praying that I see them again tomorrow.
My gentle touch on the dog’s head before loading him and promising him to bring the person who did this to him to justice is haunting me. Too many times and too-easily do the perpetrators of evil fall through the cracks. Too many times neighbours see cruelty and look the other way. This happened over several months or years and EVERYBODY looked the other way.
Too many times humans fail these dogs. I hope I don’t fail them. I can’t…I won’t…