I believe that Dade was at the humane society even before I started working there. He was a big, goofy, wild child of a dog. An adolescent Rottweiler mix, he weighed in at probably 80 pounds at his heaviest but was tall – like a small pony – and could knock over an adult with a quick turn. I absolutely fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him and thought “Oh, he’s the one…I want him to be Mya’s brother…” The problem: he did not like very many other dogs. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of he and Mya fighting. Plus, I knew that I couldn’t personally adopt every animal I fell in love with so, instead, he became one of my many missions.
While I have always been attracted to big black dogs, they are notoriously difficult to adopt out. Top that with his occasional aggressiveness towards other dogs and he was doomed to have a lengthy stay at the shelter. Like Dart and Yve and so many others, Dade became mine in many ways. I brought him special toys and treats and walked him and spent time with him in our play yards. I even wrote special press releases about black dogs and what great pets they made but that they just got lost in the shadows of our old animal shelters. My friends on staff always updated me on him and would make a point of walking him by/through my office when he was out of his kennel.
Like many shelter pets, he was adopted a few times and then returned for a variety of reasons…behavior, allergies, separation anxiety, he shed too much, cost too much, the family was moving, the list goes on (and on and on.) During my two years there, Dade came and went and I celebrated each adoption with a silent wish that this one would be the one; that this would be the family that would keep him forever. Then, I think shortly after I left the organization, he was adopted out and stayed adopted for some time.
Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending.
I do not know all of the details but somehow he ended up at animal control and was never claimed by his family nor was the humane society notified that he was there. (Dade was microchipped and his chip info would have connected him to us.) I don’t know how or why but Dade was euthanized when his time ran out. I learned about his death shortly after the fact from a friend who still worked at the humane society. I was shocked, devastated, and as you can imagine, outraged.
Outraged beyond words.
In fact, this is the first time in a long time that I have even been able to talk about him and relive the injustice that was served to him during his final days on this earth. My heart, even as I type this, aches for him and, because I believe that animals experience emotions very similar to ours, the overwhelming sadness he must have felt, alone in a kennel with the smell of death just down the hall.
When I started this blog, I hoped to be a voice in the fight to save animals, to help balance the scales of humanity toward all living things, and to encourage everyone to adopt a pet or three – even those with special needs! Dade is one of the many reasons that I continue to fight for animals and why I love my babies so much. Tonight, once I dry these tears from my face, I am going to go lay on the floor and cuddle with my girls. I encourage you to do the same. And remember Dade. For he is symbolic of countless other dogs (and cats) who get lost in an overwhelmed and, often, archaic system.
I love you, Dade. I am sorry that humans failed you in the end and I hope that you will accept my apology and meet me too at the Rainbow Bridge one day.
I hope that you are running like the wind and enjoying the freedom of the great beyond. I look forward to being knocked over by you once more…one day.