The best thing about the Johnson City Animal Shelter is the unconditional love that the dogs and cats give to you. No matter what sad circumstances they’ve been through, they’re willing to be loved. The worst thing is that just when you think you’ve seen the worst, you discover that you haven’t.
The pit bull mix lying on the table had been euthanized only seconds ago. He hadn’t eaten in a very long time. Every rib was clearly visible, the sides of his belly nearly touching. Sharp hip bones threatened to rip through his skin.
The most horrifying thing was the open wound on his back leg. It was an ugly, gaping tear of flesh and muscle, as big as my hand. The sight of broken bone was hard to take. The sharp jagged fracture must have been excruciatingly painful for a dog that was already starving.
I cradle his head in my hands for a moment. I thanked our officer who brought him in, and the staff members who put him to sleep, and asked God to bless him. I told him he was a good dog, that his tortured life was over.
Recently, two dogs were stolen from the shelter. Someone called to ask what the big deal was. As far as he was concerned, “that was two less dogs the taxpaying citizens of Washington County had to deal with.” How sad for him.
Fortunately, the shelter has many wonderful supporters who donate food, treats, bedding, blankets, cleaning supplies and money. This time of year I am especially grateful for the donations of sweatshirts and material, so we can make sweaters for the dogs. That’s right Scrooge, we put sweaters on the dogs when it gets cold. Because it is a big deal. In the end, it’s a very big deal indeed.
BRENDA S. FIELDEN
Animal shelter volunteer