So there’s this dog in a backyard.
His name is Hercules and lives up to his name. He’s ninety pounds of gorgeous pit bull terrier, and can be a total menace to barricades. He’s good at recognizing where he’s supposed to be, but if he gets excited, he can crash through a fence or a gate like a panzer.
Like most dogs, Hercules just wants to belong. He hasn’t been trained at all, even to heel or sit, and doesn’t so much know about human-canine protocols that we’ve developed so much as is just winging it. When I first met Herc, he would bark whenever someone paid even the merest attention to him. But that chased people off, and he got that. In short time he learned to be quiet (if still excited) and take pets and attention as it came.
He also has a penchant for chewing. A giant ten-pound dried ox bone will last him a couple of days, but anything smaller or softer has its minutes numbered, let alone hours. As a result of being stir crazy he’s destroyed everything in his backyard.
Hercules was abandoned by his owner in this backyard. The owner was evicted from his own place, sofa-surfed at his girlfriend’s and then both he and girlfriend moved to a no-dogs place leaving Herc in the backyard. The remaining occupants are full-time workers and students and don’t have time or resources to manage a ninty-pound pit-bull terrier tank dog, but in the interim they’ve been pitching in for kibble to keep him fed, and they clean the yard when they can spare the moment. And for over a month now, they’ve been calling rescue centers and shelters to try to rehome him. (prior owner and girlfriend do not return phone calls.)
It’s not a good situation and one that cannot continue. The problem is that big pit bull junkyard dogs are hard enough to rehome, let alone one that is five-years old untrained (and unneutered*) male that likes to chew things and smash through fences like a bulldozer. He’s going to take two metric tonnes of love and attention and treats and consistent training to get him to a place where he can walk in public, let alone hang out with the other dogs at the dog park.
No shelter takes dogs like Herc. I knew this before making the calls myself. But I called them anyway to get the no. So many rejections.
And time in his backyard has run out. It’s the end of the line. This week Hercules the pit-bull will be surrendered to the county animal control. Within a short amount of time, he will be assessed as unadoptable, and triaged to the front of the kill line. Short of some miracle of probability and compassion, Hercules will be euthanized.
I’m the one making the calls, and my heart is breaking.
* We know Hercules veterinary history is lacking in recent years, but dunno if he got puppy vaccinations. I assume not. He seems to be in good health, though.