I am writing this blog with a very heavy heart, and also a new found energy and drive to get this rrruffstart program up and off the ground. I will not allow atlas to die in vain. about 10 weeks ago I got a call from a lady who had become homeless, jobless and developed some mental health issues and could no longer care for her dog, a Sheppard cross mix, mixed with what she said ” I don’t know for sure but I think Rottweiler?” She was desperate for me to take this dog and find it a good forever home. Over the next three weeks I had to chase this woman down in order to get my hands on this dog, She didn’t have a phone nor could I reach her in any other way so I had to give up on rescuing this poor dog. Out of the blue she called again, and again asking for my help in which I replied ” you need to make this dog available to me!” she had explained that this dog had been bounced around like a ball and she ” loved” it but just could not keep it. I asked her if this dog had any aggression issue which she replied ” once my landlord who was drunk beat it” but apparently never had any issues after that, which I then discovered was a lie. i finally tracked down this poor dog and made arrangements to go and pick it up with a fantastic couple who I thought would be able to give this dog everything it needed and more! Carlos and Stephanie made the trip with me to pick up this dog out in tweed. I knew they were the right family for such a dog, and knew that with their determination and my guidance this dog was going to finally have a shot at a good life….. or so we thought!
A week ago I got a call from Stephanie telling me that Atlas had attacked Carlos and would not let go and Carlos was taken to the hospital by ambulance and I had to come and get this dog ASAP! Carlos suffered such injuries that saving Atlas again was no longer an option! I had no choice but to have this poor dog put down. I was so sad for not only Stephanie and Carlos but most of all Alas! We as humans made this dog who and what he was, we as humans failed him. We need to have programs like the rrruffstart project in place so no other dog has to suffer at the hands of irresponsible people, we need tougher laws to protect these animals and laws in place to stop this breeding for profit with zero regard for the animals. If these were humans being bred, or made to work in unsafe places, or being abused the children’s Aid Society would step in, in a heart beat to remove them to safety! We need such a program for the animals, we have NO RIGHT to do this, NO RIGHT to supplement our incomes by breeding irresponsibly, If you are on government funds like ODSP, WELFARE, MOTHERS ALLOWENCE or any other funding. If you Can not support yourself, pay your rent, pay your bills, feed your family, then you should not be able to own a dog, PERIOD! This is a big financial responsibility if done properly, it costs money to provide food, vet care, training etc. Please help me stop the breeding for profit people who care only about making money, not the wellbeing of these animals!
Below is a letter I received from Carlos and Stephanie telling their story, they asked me to add it to my blog so they could begin their healing process, The letter is exactly as written by them I have changed nothing!
I’ve sat down several times trying to put this down in words, barely knowing how to start, but it’s been over a week now and I need to get it out. People need to know that a program like Rrruffstart is absolutely essential to get the ball rolling for change. Not only to stop the suffering of these poor dogs who have the cards stacked against them from the very beginning, but also to ease the suffering of those humans who truly do care for them and want to give them a sense of belonging and happiness in life. I apologize in advance because I know this will be a long one. About 7 weeks ago we decided to add another furry family member to our household and immediately decided it had to be a rescue. Two of the animals in our home are rescues and it didn’t make sense to go purchase a new animal when we know there are so many out there that could use our help. We contacted Grace and, as luck would have it, she had just gotten off the phone with the current owner of a perfect candidate. We arranged to go see the dog with Grace as soon as we could get our schedules to mesh up and made the trip out to Tweed. “Shoddy” was the Shepherd-Pitbull cross me met that day. At first we were apprehensive as he appeared to be very standoffish – often growling and staring at us, but we soon realized that he was looking for affection as he’d do this while setting his head on our laps, looking at us, just like our GSDs do when they would like to be scratched. We asked the standard questions of the current owner and when asked what food he ate the owner replied that there was no food for the dog in the house and she wasn’t sure what they fed him. We decided right then that we would be taking “Shoddy” home that night even if it was just to foster him for a while. The first few days were rough which was to be expected considering his history. Shoddy’s had never stayed in the same home for more than a month throughout his two-year life. He was never given a chance to settle in to a home and feel like he was part of a family. He was abused and malnourished. We worked with him constantly and he quickly learned his new name, “Atlas”.
We chose that name because his whole life he was forced to shoulder the burden of the poor choices made by his previous owners. Atlas’ improvement was incredible. Originally Atlas would get nervous and upset if anyone was in the same room as him when his food was put out but we quickly progressed to where I could have my hand on his food bowl and he wouldn’t mind. The growling for attention was nearly trained out of him and his mood was noticeably different. He listened to every command and obeyed immediately – sit, lie down, etc. When given treats he didn’t even need to be told “gentle”. Atlas took treats so carefully and respectfully that you wouldn’t even know he was there if you weren’t looking right at him. We could see the way he played with our other dogs, rolling onto his back to play and joining in the crazy backyard chases. He was even accepted by our cats. We took many videos and pictures of him during his time with us and I’ve watched some of those videos in the last week, but I just can’t finish them… I’m overcome with sadness and anger. My friends know me as someone who can keep calm during difficult times but I just can’t keep it together. I’m pissed because what happened did not have to happen. Atlas isn’t to blame for any of it. The blame falls squarely on every owner that had him and didn’t take the time to teach him. The blame lies with that asshole who allowed his friends to get drunk and beat the shit out of Atlas. The blame lies with the jerkoffs that didn’t even know what the hell they were feeding him because they didn’t keep food for him in the house. If Atlas had been treated like the loving dog he was by those owners he would not have lashed out the way he did, thinking I was just another asshole trying to hurt him while I cleaned the hot spot under his ear. What kind of a prick names their dog “Shoddy” anyway? Shoddy – a word meaning inferior, sub-par, low quality. He was everything anyone could want in a dog. Happy, super excited when we got home, obedient.
We were happy and knew we made the right choice. I still know we made the right choice. Atlas’ last days were days of happiness and a feeling that he finally found his pack. I can be happy knowing that we were able to give that to him with Grace’s help. The non-stop pain and mistreatment he experienced in his short life were simply too much to overcome in six weeks and in an instant everything changed. My arm will heal. The most painful part was having to watch my friend take his last breathes on that cold steel table. He deserved much better than that. Something has to be done. These backyard breeders with their SHODDY businesses selling poorly bred animals for a couple of hundred dollars creating a sense of worthlessness. They don’t make sure the animals are in good physical and mental health. They don’t care about the well-being of the animal or where it will end up. And they sure as shit don’t think twice before handing the animal over to a homeless schizophrenic who didn’t have the means to care for him self, let alone another living creature, like they did to Atlas when he was a pup. He didn’t deserve to be just another casualty in the war against irresponsible breeders and owners. He deserved better than that. I got the message today that Atlas’ ashes were ready for pickup. He’s a loved family member and will always be in our home and our hearts. You are a good boy. I miss you so much Atlas.