Those of us who love our dogs and treat them like members of our families will never understand what causes some people to cruelly abuse their pets. Thankfully, there are others with the compassion to take in the mistreated dogs no one else wants...
by Jessica Demarest
My friends work with a rescue organization in Richmond, Virginia called S.O.S. As many organizations do, S.O.S. rescues animals from shelters and finds them loving homes. I was lucky enough to work a little bit with S.O.S. While there are many stories to be told of people adopting their pets, there is one dog that stands out for me.
In the fall of 1997, there was a huge flea market where S.O.S. was setting up tables to sell "flea market stuff" and show animals that needed homes. There was one dog there, Hobbs, whose story of why he needed a home amazed me.
Hobbs was beautiful. He had soft brown and red fur and was sweeter than sugar. This dog had a great deal of energy and would pull (he was very strong!) whoever had his leash on walks around the flea market. The unbelievable part was that less than a month before he had been found in someone's backyard -- with one of his front legs sawed off up to his torso. He had been found in that condition more than 24 hours after his leg was cut off. At the flea market, he still had a ugly scab on his wound. It was incredible that Hobbs survived, but even more so that within a month he was strong enough and coordinated enough to be pulling people around on three legs.
All day, lots of people asked questions about what had happened to Hobbs, but they didn't show much interest in adopting him. Around three o'clock, a couple asked about him. Hobbs was lying on his side, in the shade, soaking up as much affection as anyone was willing to give him. The couple started petting him. Then they took him for a walk around the flea market. After about 45 minutes, they agreed to safe-house Hobbs until the adoption outing the following week. They were interested in adopting him, but they were afraid their first dog, Daisy, wouldn't like him. They were also concerned about the medical attention Hobbs might require and wanted their vet to look him over.
By ten the next morning, they called to say Hobbs had stolen their hearts and they wanted to keep him no matter what their vet said.
I will never understand how anyone could have sawed any dog's leg off. If someone else had told me the story, I would have been disgusted, but I also would have assumed the dog was ill-tempered or somehow provoked the person who mutilated it. Yet, I watched Hobbs interact with at least a hundred strangers and fifteen dogs. He never growled or snapped. Nothing. Ill-tempered he was not.
I thank that couple for being able to see past Hobbs' disabilities and providing him with a fantastic home. I thank my friends, Kelly and Cindy, for inviting me to help them at the flea market where I met this dog. After someone abused Hobbs nearly to the point of death, he was still loving and gentle (strong, but gentle). I don't think I would be so forgiving.
Copyright © 1998 by Jessica Demarest.