The only way to find out who had abandoned the dog was to follow it on its quest to return home.
That’s what Maxine was doing. She first tried to stop the creature, a wet, cold, straggly retriever mix that was unceremoniously dumped from a moving car on a remote road, on one of the iciest winter mornings of the year. Maxine, well-fed and healthy, was making her way from her country family to her city family.
The young dog, a male, might once have had a beautiful coat, clear eyes, and a steady gait. Now he was a trembling, weak, and unwanted beast. He immediately started to walk back in the direction in which the black car had disappeared. Maxine sniffed and nudged. She could smell blood and pain. The retriever was so traumatized that he ignored her and blindly plowed through the snow and ice.
It took several hours. Maxine was uncertain how the puppy survived. His pace was slow, and Maxine found her paws grow painfully frigid and her bones ache from the cold.
The black car was parked outside a small bungalow. All the curtains were drawn; the sidewalks uncleared of snow. The dog made its way to the front door, scratched at it, and when there was no response, he curled up into a ball, pressed hard against the traces of warm air leaking from under the door.
It took Maxine a half hour to get to Bernard’s, and he was horrified when he opened the door to a shivering, ice-covered bitch, but Maxine had no time for tender care. Andrew was there too, eating as usual, but at her relentless insistence they both got their coats and got into Bernard’s taxi. Maxine guided them to the bungalow.
“He chews up the carpet and the walls. He shits on the floor.” said the man who answered the doorbell, as he used his knees to prevent the animal from entering the house. “Sure I disciplined him, he doesn’t learn. I have to work, I can’t watch him every fucking minute. Stupid fucking thing could of just fell asleep and died out there, problem solved.” Bernard stared at him. Andrew draped a wool blanket over the puppy. The man said, “Report me? What for? What proof? Fuck off.”
Maxine lunged at the man, teeth bared, grabbing him firmly between the legs. His cry of shock and pain was muffled by the layers of powder snow accumulated on the porch, in the yard, and in the street. Andrew picked up the blanket-wrapped dog in his arms and carried him to the car.
Now the man was curled up into a ball on the threshold to the house.
“My dog? It wasn’t her,” said Bernard through clenched teeth, speaking loudly all the same, in order to be heard over the shouted threats. “Report me? What for? What proof? Fuck off. If you can.”
Andrew started the car, and when the heated air flooded the interior, the dog, exhausted, fell asleep.
- Support your local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or an equivalent organization in your area. This allows them to promote animal care education, hire qualified staff, gives them the means to pursue animal cruelty offenders, to pressure authorities to make meaningful laws, and to enforce those laws.
- I support the BCSPCA. Please Google to find an agency near you.