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Thursday, June 08, 2006

RIP Tony the Dog

Back in December, Ryan and I rescued a dog from the East Valley
shelter. He was a big black lab/shepherd mix who reminded us of
Nippy. He was eager, friendly, and kind of spazzy with happy energy.
We were volunteering for the animal shelter at a rescue event to get
dogs adopted. I was of course, very pregnant so I couldn't manage big
dogs. I got to handle a series of little dogs who got adopted. Ryan
got Tony all day. Big dogs are not as adoptable and sadly, neither
are black dogs. At the end of the day, only a few dogs were left and
Tony was one of them. It broke our hearts to see him shoved back into
the cage in the LAAS truck. We couldn't let him be put to sleep, so
Ryan kept calling the shelter to check on him. I put ads on
craigslist describing him so people would get interested. It didn't
work, and after a week or so, when he was up for euthanasia, Ryan took
an afternoon off, drove up to the Valley and saved his life.

We then sent emails to everyone we knew, and put him on petfinder through Karma Rescue (where we got Jake).
I also put fliers up in my building. Meanwhile, we took him home and
got him used to being in a kennel while we were at work (Karma Rescue
nicely loaned us one), taught Jake that it was okay for another dog to
be in the house, that Jake was still the "baby", and trained him to
sit. I think he already knew "sit" a long time ago, but he'd
forgotten. We bought him his own dog bed and toys. We got him
groomed and took him to the vet for a cut he had on his ear. We gave
him medicine and added vitamin supplements to his dog food and tried
to put some meat on his skinny bones. Mostly, though, we showed him
love and gave him lots of petties.

We interviewed 3 potential families and found the best one, then drove
him out to El Monte to his new home where he had a big house with a
yard and a pool and best of all, 2 little girls who were so excited to
have him that they would fight over who got to walk him. We were so
happy for him. The mother of the family is someone who works in a lab
upstairs from my office. She'd seen a flier I posted in the elevator.
From time to time I would see her around the building and she'd give
me updates on Tony, now renamed Sammy. They had a fence constructed
around the property, they bought him a new toy, etc. There were Sammy
stories.

Sadly, when I ran into her this week, the Sammy story did not have a
happy ending. Apparantly, in March he got out of the fence and ran
away. The girls chased after him and called him. When he turned
around to come to them, he got hit by a car, crossing the road. The
car didn't even stop. He died twenty minutes later.

I feel so terribly sad for the two girls who had to watch their
beloved pet die. We went to an incredible amount of effort for this
dog, and I don't regret any of it. We would do it all over again in a
second, and we probably will rescue other dogs in the future.
Although his death was tragic, I still feel it is not as tragic as if
he had died from a needle, alone in the back room of the shelter, as
hundreds of thousands of dogs do every year in Los Angeles.

Rest in peace, Tony.

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