By Shiela K. Haynes, Editor
One morning last summer, I gathered up my laptop and a few pads of paper, grabbed my coffee cup, and gave a quick pat and a kind word to my super-sweet, 95-pound golden retriever as I headed off to work.
Sadie is as perfect as a canine companion can be in every sense. She loves and protects us. And, more importantly, she loves and protects our grandkids.
As I was driving into town that morning – we live off one of the county roads east of town – I saw a small white car stopped ahead just before a bend in the road. I slowed down, not sure what was going on, but they quickly got underway as I approached.
Then I saw it.
The couple in the car had just dumped a golden retriever on the side of the road at 8 am on a weekday morning. You could immediately see how confused the dog was as the car bolted away down the road. She was a large dog with a bright copper coat very similar to our Sadie.
I was immediately flooded with thoughts on how I should proceed, but I didn’t have to think long. Because the dog took off running after that little white car. The little car had a good head start, but I was amazed at the dog’s speed. The dog hard-sprinted after the vehicle for over a quarter of a mile and the little white car was still in her sights.
I was seized by panic as we approached Highway 11. There were cars and trucks on the road, more than usual due to the time of day. The dog showed no signs of slowing and was actually closing the gap a bit.
The little car stopped at the corner and turned west onto the highway. The dog was still in hot pursuit. My heart was in my throat as the dog shot straight onto the highway still chasing the little white car. By this point, the dog had pursued its owners for over half a mile.
For whatever reason, the little white car finally pulled onto the shoulder and slowly began to back up. The passenger door opened, and the dog hopped into the back seat.
I have no idea how this all turned out. Do the owners of the little white car still have their golden? Or did they wait a few days and find another country lane where they could dispose of her?
Pet ownership is a responsibility and a commitment. It is a promise made. It requires forethought before bringing a pet into your home. It requires relationship building to establish boundaries, so a new puppy grows into a well-behaved friend. It requires keeping the water bowl filled with fresh water and regular feedings. It requires trips to the vet to maintain good health.
Being a pet owner is not always easy. Sometimes there are things that must be worked through. But dumping an animal is not only cruel and unethical, it is a criminal offense in the State of Texas and can carry misdemeanor to felony charges.
There are not enough shelters in place to house all the unwanted animals. And many end up euthanized as a result. It is a sad situation for those who care about such things.
Not much can be done for the unloved and unwanted animals already here, but stopping the flow is easily remedied – if everyone who owns a pet would have it spayed or neutered.
As part of the commitment to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats, Wood County Commissioners last year set aside funds to provide financial support to help pay for spay/neuter services. The program is administered through APET and available to all county residents. For more information, call 903-760-SNAP.