Friday, September 11, 2009
I don’t normally do rescue transport—I spend more time doing commuter hauling of Shelter dogs to and from Off-sites. But on Wednesday, I stepped in to help an older Black Labrador get out of the Shelter and into a safe house. His Shelter name was “Lassoe” but now he bears the more dignified moniker of “Atticus,” short for Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird renown.
I’d already had a long day--working an Off-site at PetsMart for the company’s “Second Chance at Love” promotion, although none of my five Shelter dogs got a second chance that day due to rain and other unknown factors. After turning over my shift at 3:15 p.m., I went to the High School to pick up my daughter, who ended up shanghaied for the ride to the Shelter and beyond. She was cranky about this disruption in her schedule, but if Atticus didn’t get to the kennel by 6:00 p.m. (It was now 4:30 p.m.) he would miss his appointment at the Vet’s, scheduled or the next day. Lab-to-Rescue, a local group, had agreed to take him into their program, but we had to do the transport.
Atticus was in the Blue room, with the word “DESPERATE” scrawled across his kennel card. He had worms and mange, and was severely underweight. But his tail never stopped wagging as I snapped on a leash and led him out to my van.
Riding loose in the rear seat didn’t work—Atticus is a shot-gun riding dog—so we had to stop and swap my 15-year-old (who was rather sulky about all this) to the back seat. I drove for 40 minutes in rain and rush-hour traffic to get to a kennel that works with rescue groups, stopping once at a gas station to let my daughter get a Snapple (bribery—yes). I walked Atticus, and this old dog still has some hunt left in him—a flock of grackles streaked across the cloudy sky and Atticus snapped to attention, his head raised, eyes gleaming. Even sick and emaciated, the old dog still has that Lab joie de vivre! What a trouper!
Back on the road, we made it to Strawberry Dog, the kennel, in time to settle Atticus in a crate. And we made it home safe, which is a miracle in itself—Houston area roads are horrible during rainy weather. I learned today that Atticus has received his first round of meds from the vet. When he is fully healthy, this senior Lab, who is clearly a retired hunting dog, will be taken up north to New England, where he’ll be placed in a carefully selected home to live out the rest of his days. I hope whoever ends up with Atticus appreciates this true Southern gentleman.