Interview At The Dog
As a journalist, I decided to go to the dog
pound, and interview some of the "inmates". I wanted to
know what it was like in there from their perspective.
What follows is not for the faint of heart.
I entered the building, and one of the workers accompanied
me to the holding area. This is where dogs are kept before they
are allowed up for adoption, IF they are allowed up for
adoption. If the dogs are found to be aggressive in any way,
euthanasia is employed. Fortunately, if "fortunately" is the
word to be used hereâ€¦ this is a Canadian establishment, and
they use lethal injection, not a gas chamber.
The pound worker led me past a big steel door that says
"Employees Only". "What is in there?" I asked. From the look he
gave me, I knew that this is where dogs go in, and never
We moved on to a row of kennels. The dogs were barking
loudly, there was the acrid smell of urine and feces, and a
feeling of despair seemed to permeate the room.
"Go ahead," the worker said. "They're all yours."
I looked into the
first kennel, and saw only the back of a medium sized dog who
was curled up in the corner of his kennel, shivering. He was
mostly white, with some black spots. "Hello?" I said. "May I
come in?" He lifted his head, as though it weighed more than he
could bear. When he looked at me, I could see he was a Pitbull.
His eyes were gentle, but filled with grief.
"Enter," was all he said.
I stepped in, closing the gate behind me. He put his head
back down, facing away from me. I crouched down a few feet
"My name is Pete. Petey my Master called me," he said, still
not looking at me.
"Why are you here Pete?" I asked.
"I am here because Master cannot afford to move to another
province. I am here because someone with power said I am
vicious, and a killer. Someone who never met me. Master took me
for a walk one day, and some lady started to scream when she
saw me. I got frightened, and barked at her. The dog police
came, and they took me away. I have been with Master for 10
years. The last time I saw him, he just held me and cried. He
kept telling me he was sorry. I worry for him. Whatever will he
do without me?" Pete shivered even more.
A tear slid down my face. I am supposed to remain objective,
but this was wrong! So wrong.
"Thank you Pete." I said. He said nothing as I got up and
left his kennel.
The kennel next to
Pete's held a very young looking dog. Pure Border Collie by my
guess. He stood on his hind legs, looking at me through the
"Hello. My name's Popper. He tilted his head. "Are you here
to take me home?"
"No, I'm sorry," I replied. "But I would like to talk with
"Sure. What would you like to talk about?"
"Popper, how did you come to be in this place?" I asked.
Popper dropped down from the gate, with a perplexed look on
his face. He walked to the back of the kennel, then back to the
front. I noticed he had one blue eye, and one brown. He was
quite beautiful. His black and white coat was shiny and
"I am not certain WHY I am here. I think maybe my family
will come back for me. They bought me when I was only 6 weeks
old. I remember they said how smart Border Collies are, and how
it would be so easy to train me. They were very excited at
first. The little ones played with me all the time. But the
trouble with little Masters is, they refuse to stay in a group.
I constantly had to nip their heels to keep them together." He
looked confused. "Why won't they stay in a group?" he sighed.
"So I did what I thought I should do. I am not
quite sure why the little ones screamed when I did my job, but
they did, and the Masters got very angry at me. They also got
angry when I had to relieve myself, and did so in the house. I
am not sure where they expected me to go. All they said was
that I was the smartest breed in the world, and I should just
KNOW better. Then they left me in the yard for a month or so. I
got bored a lot, and I dug holes in the grass. The next thing I
knew, the Masters brought me here."
Popper jumped back up on the gate, his white paws protruding
through the links. He looked at me with his lovely eyes, and
asked "Will you please let them know I want to come home?
Please tell them I promise I will be good?"
"I will Popper," I said.
My heart was
breaking. I was beginning to regret coming here, but their
stories had to be told. I moved along. The next dog I saw
looked to be easily 100 lbs., a Rottweiler. He was handsome
indeed, except for the scars on his face and back. He tilted
his head, and looked me right in the eyes.
"Hello. Who are you?" he asked.
"I am a reporter," I replied. "May I speak with you for a
"Most certainly. My name is Spartan. You can come in, I
won't bite," he said.
"Thank you Spartan. I will."
I entered his kennel, reached out and stroked his giant
head. He made a loud grumbling noise, and closed his eyes.
"Spartan, why are you here?"
Before he could answer my question, he was suddenly in the
grip of a nasty coughing spasm. It sounded painful.
"Please excuse me," he said when it passed. "Kennel cough.
It seems all of us who come in here get it. "Why am I here?
Well, about two years ago, I was born in the backyard of some
person I can't even recall. I had 11 brothers and sisters. I
recall a day when a big man came and gave that person some
money, and took me away from my mother. They had to chain her
up, as she was very angry that he took me. They chained her and
beat her. I came to know the man by the name of Jim. I
overheard him telling his friends that I would grow up to be
big and mean like my mother. But as I grew older, all I wanted
to do was play and be friends with everyone. Jim said I needed
to be taught how to be
mean, so he chained me up in the yard. No more house for me, he
said, I was too spoiled. When people came by to visit, I was so
happy to see them. I wanted them to come and play. But that
made Jim angry, so he beat me with sticks and chains. When he
came near, I would roll onto my back so he would know I wasn't
a bad dog. That made him beat me more." Spartan's eyes clouded
with grief. "Then he brought me here."
I reached out and stroked Spartan's massive gentle head once
more. "I am so sorry Spartan. Some people are just plain evil."
I gave him a kiss and left his kennel.
As I walked away, Spartan called out, "What will happen to
me, nice lady?"
I shook my head. "I can't say Spartan. Maybe someone kind
will come and get you. We can only hope."
I walked a little
further down. I could see a shape moving at the back of the
next kennel. "Hello?" I called out. Suddenly the shape lunged
at the gate in a fury, barking and gnashing its teeth. I
stumbled backwards, and crashed into an adjacent kennel. The
other dogs began barking loudly and jumping at their gates.
"Don't go near her," a small female voice came from behind
me. "She's mad."
I gathered myself back together, and saw a little Jack
Russell Terrier behind me.
"Thanks for the warning," I was still trembling. Across the
way, the other dog, apparently a Husky and German Shepherd
cross, was glaring at me, lips curled back revealing brown
stained teeth. Her ribs and hips showed through her dull,
matted grey coat. The little dog invited me into her kennel,
and I gladly went in.
"Who are you?"
"My name is Patsy." The little brown and white dog held a
paw up to the gate in greeting.
"My owner surrendered me. She said she wanted a cute little
dog like the one on the TV show, Frasier. She didn't bother to
look into the type of dog I am." Patsy heaved a sigh.
"I suppose she expected me to just lie about and only need a
short walk each day, just like Eddie, but my energy was so high
that I needed to run and play." She glanced at her
surroundings. "Now I am here. I suppose it could be worse. I
could be likeâ€¦her." Patsy looked towards the still growling
dog across the way.
"What happened to make her so vicious?" I asked.
"From what we could gather," she replied. "she was found
tied in a back yard. She only had a three foot chain. Some days
there was no water. Rarely was there any food. One day a nice
neighbor came by and brought her some meat. By then it was too
late. She was already mad. She broke off her chain, and bit the
poor man badly. We know she will be going behind the steel
door. I am sad to say, I think it will be best. Perhaps then
she will know some peace."
Just then, the door at the end of the building opened, and a
woman stepped inside. All the dogs began to bark wildly, then
one by one, they went quiet.
I whispered to Patsy, "Who is that? Why have all the dogs
Patsy breathed deeply through her little nose, and closed
her eyes. "SHE is a Rescuer. Can't you smell it?" she
"Smell what?" I was confused.
"Compassion. Love. Sorrow. It emanates from her pores. She
is here for one of us, but nobody knows who just yet." Patsy
The Rescuer moved from kennel to kennel, looking at each
dog. I sat quietly watching. I could see tears in her eyes as
she made eye contact with each one. She stopped at Spartan's
cage and spoke quietly to him.
"No more beatings my man. No more. You are coming with me.
From here on in, it's all going to get better."
The Rescuer produced a leash, opened the kennel door, and
took Spartan away. As he walked beside her, his little stubby
tail wagged with delight.
Patsy sighed again. I could see the disappointment in her
eyes, and it grieved me. They all had the same look, as they
watched The Rescuer depart.
"I am so sorry Patsy," I said in a whisper. "But you are a
little dog, and everyone loves little dogs. I am convinced you
will be rescued soon." Patsy's brown eyes twinkled at me, a
little bit of hope returning.
I had heard and seen enough. I needed to tell people how it
was for these unfortunate creatures. They were all here through
no fault of their own. I stood to leave. I passed by many other
dogs I did not interview, looking at each one, wishing I could
take them all home with me and give them the love they
I stood by the door taking one last glance back, when it
opened, and one of the pound workers came in. His face was
drawn and sad. He walked by without a word, and stopped at
Pete's kennel. I heard him take a deep breath, then he paused,
and opened the kennel door.
The words were muffled, but I am sure I heard him say "I'm
sorry old boy."
He came out, with Petey in tow. The old dog's head hung down
in resignation, and they both disappeared behind the big steel