Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bargain Dogs

Jake, just before the hand-off from the Humane Society Volunteer
Significant-Pain-in-Various-Areas-of-My-Anatomy Dog

Because I was buying the old house and six acres from the former owners, my name was not in the public record as the owner. I paid all the taxes and insurance and was wholly responsible for anything that broke, quit, went up in smoke, or fell down on and in the property. The deed simply had not been signed over to me yet but I was most definitely the "responsible party".

I went to the Topeka Helping Hands Humane Society shelter to adopt Jake because it was the same place I had adopted the good dog Duke. I thought the fact that I had the same dog I had adopted from them 13 years earlier would speak well on my behalf as potential adopter. Everything went swimmingly until they wanted to call my "landlord" to get permission for me to have Jake - in my own house, on my own property. I explained I did not have a landlord and that I did not need permission to do anything on my own property. But, because my name was not on the deed, they would not give Jake to me without the "landlord's permission".

We all come to points in life where we simply cannot compromise. Sometimes it is a large moral issue and sometimes it is small, insignificant thing - like a worthless puppy no one else wanted. The HHHS insistence on getting permission from a non-existent landlord was such a point for me

In the first place, they knew I had an old dog adopted as a puppy from them. They could verify that much in their records. They had already checked with Dr. J who confirmed Duke was alive and well, a very friendly, happy dog who received regular medical care. Dr. J could have and would have told them I would give Jake a great home. None of that mattered to them. If I did not give permission for them to contact the "landlord" to get permission from him to have a pup on my own property, I could not adopt Jake. On principle alone I could not and would not give permission for them to call the former owners.

I am not proud of the fact, but the insanity of their slavish insistence to their rules enraged me. They had no qualms to put to death tens of thousands of animals yet were willing to deny a puppy a verified safe and loving home over one of their arbitrary rules - one that required needless permission from someone whom I had spoken to twice in 13 years! Even after I patiently explained that I did not have a landlord and did not need to get permission from anyone to do anything on my own property, they refused. I asked if they required permission from other homeowners' mortgage companies and they admitted they did not. Because my name was not on record in Wabaunsee County as the owner, they refused to approve the adoption. My impatience with such insanity exploded. I hate to admit that I was a total and asinine jerk, even telling those selfless volunteers to "shove it" complete with graphic anatomical direction and location. I stormed out there so angry and upset that I was in tears.

I was in such a state that I called my daughter and then called a friend after that, just to try to calm down. I had embarrassed myself for one thing. I had shamed myself for another. Those people worked there as volunteers and everyone, including me, only wanted what was in Jake's best interest. Of any group of nice people, they were the least deserving of some yahoo like me telling them to shove the whole place up their backsides. I understood my frustration but I honestly do not know why this particular incident triggered such a horrible and crass reaction in me. I was actually crying when I left there!

I had given up on Jake, but I knew I had to apologize for my behavior - sincerely apologize. I gathered my flagging courage and called the number, admitting immediately I was the horrible jerk who had made a scene in their lobby earlier that afternoon. I asked to speak to the manager. When she was on the line I apologized, insisting that I normally did not behave so abominably. I thanked her for her service to the animals and the community and asked that she pass on my apologies to everyone else. I explained why I was so incredibly frustrated with their rules, and their willingness to deny a pup a great home over such a needless rule in this instance.  And I admitted that there were other things going on in my life right then that accounted for my terrible behavior. I must say the young woman was most gracious and forgiving. She told me to come in and she would see to it that I adopted Jake. I certainly did not deserve any kindness - or Jake - at that point.

I swallowed my ego entirely for the sake of Jake and went back to the shelter. It gave me an opportunity to apologize to some of the other women there in person. Amazingly, NONE of them seemed happy to see me or care about my apology!  It took another two weeks before I brought Jake home. He was sick from being in the shelter. It took a couple of hundred dollars for Dr. J to get Jake back to good health.

So now I am the regretful owner of a worthless mutt who does not know the first thing about being a good watch dog or a good farm dog. (He stands outside the fence and barks at the horses. Good job, Jake. They are supposed to be there!) Yesterday I received the news that Jake has somehow developed an ACL tear in his left rear knee. It will cost $1500 for Dr. J to do the repair surgery. There is more good news: Dr J warned me the other knee will likely go out at some point in time, too. So, if any of the Topeka Helping Hands Humane Shelter volunteers happen upon my blog, you can take satisfaction in the fact that Jake turned out to be far from a bargain dog. Instant karma.

Incidentally, I am now the owner of record for my home and all of the acreage. And I love Jake despite the fact he is not a good dog.

Post Script: Let me take this opportunity to vent my irritation at people who assume I like to be called Duke or Jake's "mom". Hey, I will be the first to admit I can be a bitch, but I am not the mother of either of these canines, nor of any feline, nor of any horse of any gender or size! I have two human being children and I am their mother since their conception until the end of my life and quite likely beyond the grave. I am not the mother of my animals but their mere servant. Got that?

1 comment:

Job said...

Great story, but let's be fair those women at the animal shelter were bitches ....