Pound Pooch

diary of a shelter worker.



i have not been able to write this for over a week.

i consider myself not-a-softie. the opposite of a softie would be what? a tough guy? a hardass? someone who doesn't fall head over heels with every puppy, kitten, or squishy faced dog that walks in the shelter doors. i have volunteered or worked in shelters for about six years. i have brought home exactly one animal. i think that's a pretty good ratio.

about three weeks ago, a pit bull named "cujo" came into the shelter. at this point i don't remember exactly why he came into the shelter. he was horribly named. he looked nothing like a cujo. he acted even less like a cujo. this guy was someone's yard dog. anyone who knows anything about pit bulls (and i am a pit bull lover) knows that they make atrocious guard dogs. even the best dogs, and even the best pit bulls, deprived of the most basic socialization, can demonstrate some faults. this guy displayed none. he was about a year old, brindle, and had a big ole face. he had the slimiest spit, and loved to give kisses. his owner, who we tracked down through his microchip, could not take cujo back.

i took cujo out as often as i could throughout his stray period. i played with him, checked him out to see if he had an appropriate pit bull temperment. this guy was great. he gummed his toys, and then dropped them to get in my lap. he had no manners at all- jumped on people to get As Close As Possible to them At All Times (caps for emphasis to show Just How Serious About Loving On People He Was!). this guy was the real deal.

cujo did not pass his temperament evaluation. i was not suprised, but i was sad. animals are euthanized every day in the shelter, in every shelter. cujo didn't back off with other dogs. again, i was not suprised- he was unneutered, and he was a pit bull. dog aggression is VERY common in pit bulls. while noone saw any dog aggression in cujo, they didn't like what they saw either. i believed that cujo could have made it, and would have made a great pet. what saddens me is that cujo wasn't going to make it. supply is simply way too high for demand for rock solid pit bulls.

there are too many back yard breeders (BYB's) churning out too many pit puppies. there aren't enough responsible homes for these guys. i could have taken cujo and made him an awesome dog. but i can't take cujo, and every other awesome pit bull that walks into every shelter and make him an awesome dog. normally i make it through the day without letting this get to me. cujo got to me.

rest in peace, cujo.


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