Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cruel and Unusual

I was stunned when I came across something on Life with Dogs today.

It described a situation that made my blood run cold, and then very, very hot.

Because somewhere in New York, there is a woman who decided that because her son was not keeping up with his homework that she would dump his dog, a pit bull, off at a high-kill New York shelter as punishment.

She was willing to kill his dog to make a point.  To teach him a lesson.

First and foremost, I should say that I have not been able to find anything stating whether Jewel, the poor dog, was rescued by anyone.  One of the articles that I found after a hasty internet search said that she was scheduled to be euthanized today.  I really, really hope that she was able to escape that fate, that maybe she'll once again be able to be happy someday, despite the fact that she was wrested away from her best friend.  Because I'm sure that she was best friends with "her" boy.  Otherwise taking her away wouldn't have been the mother's threat of choice.

(Happy update:  After checking the shelter's website, I see that Jewel DID get adopted.  Hooray! That does not change the rest of my post, though.)

To say that I was filled with hatred and loathing for this woman is an understatement.  I don't know her entire situation.  I don't know what her son is like.  I don't know any of that.  But I say that what she did went totally beyond what is acceptable.

Like I said, I don't know their specific situation, so because I don't know their situation, I'm going to talk about MY situation.  When I was a child, and then later a young teenager.

I've talked about my childhood dog before, a Pekingese that I named Wicket.  He was EVERYTHING to me.  I was attending a school that, to put it mildly, didn't want me.  I was ostracized by many of my peers, and mocked by the others.  While I did eventually make friends (after several years)  it was only after I systematically killed off all of the parts of me that I felt were socially unacceptable.  I was shy...?  I became brassy and loud.  I was studious..?  Not anymore!  Homework sucks!  I started acting out more and more, in fears that if I did not, I would turn invisible and no one would ever even know that I was there. I was desperately unhappy, and felt trapped.  At that age, it is impossible to see beyond the middle and high school years.  I had no idea that things would get much better when I finally put those years behind me.

Wicket was my lifeline.  I really, really don't know how I would have coped if it weren't for him.  He was my one support - the friend that I could always count on.  He didn't care that I wouldn't win any popularity contests, that I was made fun of for just about everything.  He was just there for me.  When I was giddy with girlish enthusiasm about something, he was there, wagging his tail, just happy to be beside me.  When I was in tears because of something nasty someone had said (which happened more often than not) he was there, licking away my tears, snorting in my face, playing with my hair, all in desperate attempts to make me smile again.  He delighted in me, and I in him, and it was the child-dog friendship that all of the truly good dog stories are written about.

Thank God my parents never used the life of my dog as a bargaining tool.  I would have turned into a very different person had they done so.  I don't even want to think about it.  I can't think about it.

I don't even understand where this woman was coming from.  I'm not sure that I WANT to.  There are some people who don't deserve my empathy, so I'm not going to give it.

I've made some posts about kindness in the past.  And this brings around another side to my philosophy on kindness.  That is, those that are incapable of showing it are undeserving of receiving it.


  1. Unspeakably horrible. Ameliorated by the adoption rescue -- but what a horror.

  2. I can't even imagine the kind of person who would do something like this ... and I don't want to. So glad that the poor dog was adopted, but how sad for the poor boy and how potentially disastrous for this poor dog!

  3. Speechless. That poor, poor boy and dog.

    I can completely relate to what you went through as a girl and school. I went through much of the same myself. If it wasn't for the dogs our family had, I would have never made through any of or be alive to talk about it.

  4. Ouch, that is really a bas story. Glad the dog was adopted. I'm scared for the kid and the mother, because they must have problems to end with such solutions...
    For the rest of your post, I agree with you. Pets are the most supportive friends.

  5. As if I needed a reason to not like people more.

    So, my mother at one point decided to get me a dog. Decided I needed a source of responsibility. I thought she was full of it. While I am not sure I needed responsibility, it was for damn sure I needed a friend.

    I don't know if the dog understood any of the crap I was telling her night after night, but she sure listened. And that's what I needed. She became a solid fixture in a world I had no chance of understanding.

    Let me tell you how bad it would have been had my mother pulled a stunt like that.

    This is crappy on a variety of levels. People don't seem to realize that getting a pet is a promise. You are saying you will harbor and provide for the animal. You're making a promise to whom you get the animal off of and the animal itself. The animal, unfortunately, can't choose for itself, so society is trusting you here.

    That lady broke the promise to the animal. She went back on the obligation she willingly signed into. So I think she's a horrible person for that. And people do that with human children as well, so we're not relegated to just animals that experience this particular problem.

    The other part to this is the purposefully breaking of a bond between her child and the canine. It is quite possible that the dog didn't care much for the kid and that from the canine's perspective this wasn't that big of a deal. Guessing the relationship with the parent(s) wasn't particularly great either. However, if that wasn't the case and the kid and canine were close, why would you put the emotional trauma on the kid? You think that will make them improve..? How? There's a breakdown in the logic I don't quite get.

    And well, if it isn't obvious that taking a dog that did nothing wrong from it's current hopefully somewhat comfortable situation and shoving 'em on death row is asinine, there's something wrong in your brain.

  6. Ho-ly shit. That's ridiculous. She's worse than my mother. My mother did give my dog away, but not to a kill shelter. That's another story for another day though. What kind of lesson did she REALLY teach the boy? Ugh...there is so much I want to say.

  7. This is appalling... what is wrong with that woman? She shouldn't be allowed to have a dog, or a child.