When you’re dealing with the subject of animals, shelters and killings, there are bound to be tears in the room — but to make some cry two days after the event, well, that takes talent.
The keynote address on the first day of BlogPaws was given by Mike Arms of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in California. Now, being new to this whole community, I didn’t know who he was, how important he is to the animal welfare community and I really didn’t know what a powerful presentation he puts on.
To make a very long story short, he randomly called up Dr. V, aka @pawcurious on twitter. And, at that point I didn’t know who she was either, because I only knew of her twitter — which doesn’t have pictures of her.
*If you don’t want to cry your eyes out stop reading now*
She was asked to read a letter Arms had received. It started out, “Yes, I gas dogs and cats for a living.” I think that was all the crowd had to hear before a) being happy he didn’t pick them and b) before the whole room was in tears.
The writer goes on to say he hates his job and graphically explain what he has to do. But, also expalins how they break the rules and try to make the last night before they are killed fun. [Tears are streaming down my face as I type this,and I really don’t know how Dr. V read the majority of this letter infront of the whole BlogPaws crowd.]
He stopped her halfway through, and after just reading the full letter, I ‘m really happy he did, because I don’t think any of us would’ve wanted to cry that much in public.
Fast forward a little more than 48 hours later when I arrived home just after midnight Monday morning from Denver. I couldn’t wait to see Toby. He pounced on me and jumped around and immediately brought me his Kong so we could play. I was sitting on the floor playing with him and started to cry. All I could think of was that letter and those poor dogs who never had the chance to play with toys, or sleep under a handmade blanket while trying to push their human off their pillow, or go to the dog park and run.
I was sick to my stomach and immediately grabbed Toby and just held him for about 2 minutes – it would’ve been longer but he was being such a wiggle worm because all he wanted to do was play, which made me want to cry even more.
It also made me feel guilty, because I know there are tons of dogs in shelters, and Toby…is….a….pet-store puppy. Many of you know, I tried to the adoption route and I kept getting very, very allergic, to the point here I started allergy shots just so I could have a dog. And then, I happen to see Toby and things got complicated because it was everything I didn’t want.
As I continued to throw his Kong for him, I just kept thinking about those dogs that never got to do this, but then I also thought of the girl who as I was holding Toby debating whether or not to go against everything I believed in, whined, “Mommmmyyyyyyy! I WANT that dog!” and then threw a temper tantrum. (To this day we joke what Toby’s life would’ve been like had she taken him home)
I also thought about all those pet store pups that end up in a shelter, because someone sees Paris Hilton with a tiny dog in a purse on the red carpet and thinks they can get a dog and do the same without knowing what it takes to really own a dog.
Needless to say Toby, after that Toby got more hugs, treats and snuggles than he knew what to do with because I couldn’t imagine Toby having to go through what those unfortunate dogs in the letter had to.