Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lifetime of love recklessly abandoned

Sage and Whiskey are
available for adoption at YHS
It's not uncommon for Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) employees to hear someone visiting our Lost & Found Pet Center say, "I could never do your job. I love animals too much." Or "How can you do this job?" I am gratified by the response I hear from our compassionate employees: "How could you not?"

YHS employees struggle every day with the comments and actions of some of our patrons. For instance, an employee, in tears, handed me this note one recent morning. The note was handwritten on a scrap of paper. It was found attached to our front gate. It said, "Tan dog - Whiskey. Other dog - Sage. They are sisters about 13 years old. We lost our home. Please take good care of them. They are great with children. Like to run. We will miss them so very much."

After I read the note, the employee, still in tears, told me she found two leashes tied to the front gate - but the dogs had chewed through them and were gone. It was difficult not to contemplate how dangerous the Prescott Lakes Parkway would be for two terrified 13-year-old dogs abandoned in a strange place during the predawn hours, trying desperately to find their runaway owners.

I understand these are difficult times, and I am not unsympathetic or unaffected by them. But I do know that losing a home is a process, a process that allows ample time to get one's affairs in order. Thirteen years - only to be tied to a fence and made to watch their beloved guardians walk back to the car and drive away.

When was the decision made to abandon the pets (a class 6 felony in the state of Arizona by the way)? Was it while the family was packing the car to leave town? "Honey, what about the dogs?"

Did the author of the note know the dogs were "good with kids" because they served as nanny dogs helping to raise his children for 13 years? The very children made to sit in the back seat as they watched their pets tied to a fence and heard their cries of distress as they drove away.

We often hear how we must be prepared to respond to fires, floods and earthquakes. In fact, following Katrina, a federal law was enacted that requires pet owners and first responders to include pets in all disaster response plans. Preparing for a disaster takes planning.

The same is true for a financial disaster. In fact, we have an advantage in financial disasters because they don't happen as suddenly and often provide enough time to make arrangements for our pets. Abandoning a pet at an animal shelter should be a last resort after talking to family, friends and neighbors. Financial setbacks are often temporary and with proper planning you can arrange to have your pets returned after you've recovered.

Sadly, Whiskey and Sage were given no more thought than it took to tie them to a fence with a hope and a prayer coyotes wouldn't devour them before dawn. Fortunately, both were ultimately rescued from the road and are now safely at YHS.

Sage and Whiskey are closely bonded. Calm and mature, Sage still loves jovial activity and will run beside you with her tail wagging, then settle down and lean in for affection. Whiskey is a delightful dog who can prance and be silly, too. Both dogs are sociable with people, other dogs, and are fabulous companions with superb leash training. Both are available for adoption today and qualify for our Seniors for Seniors program, which means if you are 59 years of age or older you can adopt these wonderful dogs for free!

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.