I woke up today as every other day before, with the alarm clock blaring another reminder that another day has passed and a new day begins.
I reached over to hit the snooze “just 5 more minutes I told myself.” As I pulled my hand back I stared at the picture sitting on my nightstand. It was a picture of my dog Meeka.
As I laid there and stared at it I could feel a whisper of peace and happiness fill my heart, and smiled as I traced her face with the tip of my finger then I realized once again there was one thing missing …. no wet morning kisses, no chewed up wet sloppy slippers to slip my feet into.
It is amazing how even after almost 2 years of her being gone I can still miss her so terribly.
I must have laid there and stared at her picture for 5 minutes, as the snooze started blaring again but this time I had no choice but to get up.
Somehow, during those 5 minutes of staring at her picture and the alarm clock’s reminder, I had realized as sad as it was staring at my girl, she was the reason I pull myself out of bed every morning and tackle the day and whatever hell it may bring. She is the reason I walk away from a day of hard work and am able to say … I did my best.
I’ve never met any type of entity in my life that has been able to teach me so many lessons while she was living as well as after she has left this world.
I remember how the whole “pit bull” thing began. We were called out to a routine check neglect of some animals being reported as being left alone in a filthy squalor. Therefore, I and another officer responded to the call. Lo and behold, there they all were - 12 little 8-week-old pit bull puppies in a very small wooden box, all yelping and stepping over each other like a bunch of little piglets, and the smell of faeces and urine accompanied them as well. I remember 1 pup in particular. He was a little feisty red baby boy jumping over all of the others to gain our attention.
We proceeded to speak with the owners about how this was an unacceptable way to contain these puppies and educated them on some better ways to handle them.
We had done our job and had left. Unbeknown to us we would later return to investigate a much more gruesome site.
It was approximately 1 week later that we were informed that the very same puppies had been witnessed being duct taped at the mouth and leg area and laid out on a table only to have a man sever their ears off with a pair of desk scissors, One of the puppies was the very same little feisty red male who tried so hard before to gain our attention. This time, however, we had good witnesses and were accompanied by the local authorities. It didn’t take long for the media to catch wind of this horrible act of animal cruelty, and as it turned out, the pups were taken and a full investigation was launched,
The pups were housed at Animal control until a court reached a decision as to whether this was an animal cruelty case. A decision needed to be made as to whether or not they should be returned to the owner.
Now to me that was just more than obvious what the answer should be, however, it needed to be presented to a court of law and this was no time to start protesting on the steps of the courthouse. I knew in my heart that justice would be served and it was - a year later. I can still hear it ringing in my head, and it still makes me cry to this day when I heard the judge say, (as my heart, I swear, did not beat until I heard him speak)
“While it's on my watch, I'm not going to permit this to happen -- even if you think its common practice within the county or within the dog-breeding and training arena."
Judge Tandy then sentenced the 23-year-old Indianapolis man to the maximum term for the Class a misdemeanours, with no suspended time or probation. Witnesses testified that Elisea taped the puppies' mouths shut and legs together, and cut off the ears with office scissors.
After I walked out of that court room that day, almost a year later since we seized the dogs, I sat down, my legs we so unstable I sat there and cried, and all I wanted to do was go to my babies and hug them. In my mind I knew they at least had a chance of a good life.
It wasn’t over yet however, there was still the issue of who would adopt the baby pit bulls. I had cared for the male day in and day out for almost a year. I was so scared of what would happen to him, until the day my boss called me into her office to speak of what was going to happen to the pups. She looked at me as if it were bad news, and as my heart was just about to drop to the floor she handed me adoption papers, hugged me and said they are safe now. As we both cried I looked at her with a look that words could never describe - she knew my heart and soul were more thankful that no words could ever convey.
Therefore, as it turned out, I was the new proud parent of two baby pit bulls. Life was good.
However, during all the hype and publicity focused on the puppies - what about their mother? She was a different story, locked up in a kennel with a bite case sign attached to her kennel; no one dared to go near her. She was backed in the corner, not being very social to anyone or any thing that walked by.
It took some time before she would let anyone near her. I cannot say that I blame her. Knowing now what I did not know then, there were so many things she was so deathly scared of, and being in a kennel with a bunch of barking dogs, and out in the kennel while the sheriffs’ department firing range was just across the way, was scaring her to death. I am truly surprised she did not go crazy. Little did I know though, she was, inside her little body, as I know now, going stir crazy.
Before the decision was made about the puppies and the court case I would spend much of my extra time at her cage just sitting and talking to her. I would try to give her little treats to get her to maybe trust that there was at least still one good human being in this world.
Little by little each day I gained a baby step of trust from her. It wasn’t an easy process, for either of us, her not wanting or truly sure about who I was or what was happening to her, and me not being sure of how trusting she was of me, and the hardest factor…. getting so close to her only for there to be a possibility that she would be put to sleep. I couldn’t think of that; all that mattered to me at that time was this poor dog feeling so alone, being labelled a DANGER TO SOCIETY when in fact she was frightened and alone. I sat there day after day as much as I could, just staring at her, trying to figure out what it was I could see in those eyes, what was she thinking, was she frightened of me, or was she aching to trust me?
I would sit and talk to her about everything that was happening with her babies that were abused. Although as I sat there talking to a dog behind a metal fence I knew everyone looked at me as if I had lost my mind, it seemed to sooth her though, our talks did. the soft tone that was coming from me to her. Therefore, I continued to talk to her, and in her own way that maybe just the two of us understood she would talk to me.
One great day for us was the day I told her that we had won the case and that her babies would never have to go back to that horrible place! She seemed to have felt my positive energy because that was the first time I had ever seen her wag her tail, and from that day on we were buddies, we would walk and talk and spend as much time together as we could, she came out of that shell and stuck to me like glue! It was then I knew, in my heart, I had to do whatever it took to try to save this girl.
When the time came to either find her a GOOD home or have her put to sleep I knew it would be hard to be able to find her a home where she would be well taken care of by good honest decent people, after all she was a level 5 dog and I honestly don’t think I have seen but one level 5 animal person walk into the shelter, they are usually level 1 or 2 first time dog owners, so I knew this was going to be so hard.
I remember praying for God to send her someone who would care for her deeply. Then one day my prayers were answered. After a long discussion of what she needed and how she was to be handled, she was on her way to a good home. I remember crying to myself the day she left the shelter, I had but one picture of her during the time she spent in the kennels, and to this day, I hold that picture dear to me.
It was about a year later when I was surprised with a phone call from someone who knew of me as the lady who adopted the 2 baby pit bulls. She said to me that she knew the person who adopted Meeka, the mother of the 2 babies, was going to have to move and she couldn’t take Meeka with her, she didn’t know what to do with her. She was afraid to take her back to shelter for fear she would be euthanised, so this gal had given her my phone number.
I immediately called her and asked if I could come over and talk to her about Meeka, she was happy to hear from me.
When I arrived there my eyes filled up with tears as all the memories of the bond we made came flooding back to me, I ended up taking her home with me, and from then on we were inseparable.
No one knew her like I did, as a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone knew either of us as well as we came to know each other.
We had so much to learn about each other but at the same time it was as if we had known each other forever. I knew her fears and she knew mine.
I remember her being deathly afraid of thunderstorms, so if there was a day that I was at work and I noticed dark clouds rolling in, I packed up and told my boss I had to go and make sure she was safe, and when I arrived at home, there she was, sure enough, hidden underneath something, shaking.
The only thing that would comfort her was for me to hold her close to me and stroke her ears. She would look up at me like “mommy that makes it all better”, she was a thankful dog, as well as a forgiving dog.
I never met an animal in my life that was as loving as she was. All was not a fairy tale with her though. I had to construct a 9-foot fence due to her being able to scale straight up and over a 4 ft, 6 ft, and then an 8 ft fence. 9 feet was the winner.
She would not do it to get out and run. She did it to get to me. She did not want to be away from me at all. It got to the point where if I turned around there she was, right underneath my feet. I often wondered why she was like this so much. However, I guess now looking back at what she went through in her life I suppose she was afraid that if she lost sight of me, she would be abandoned like before in her life.
Knowing she was animal aggressive I had to take several precautions to make sure that we never had any mistakes. Seeing how I had her, her son and daughter, there had to be some major adjustments in my household, special doors, baby gates, separate feeding areas, separate crating times; I had them on a very strict schedule for everything.
I did my best to be most responsible and we were great for such a long time. Looking back at it all now, I can see where maybe I could have done some things differently and it’s an ache I live with everyday, but also lessons I will never forget.