Love By Any Other Name
Wayne, his wife Mary, and their 12-year- old son, Josh, had had enough. After 18 months of promises, it was time for their 28-year-old nephew, Cal, to move out. The busy family of three had supported him, his 15-month- old toddler, and Cal’s very sweet 3-year old pitbull long enough. Both his freeloading and the treatment of his dog caused mounting tension in the household.
In spite of the tender name for her, it was apparent that Baby Girl was nothing more than a possession to Cal. He rarely gave the dog any attention and cared little for her safety and well-being. Baby Girl had no vaccinations because Cal said “she don’t need them” and she wasn’t spayed. Worse, he let the dog roam wherever she wanted to go and she had no outside shelter.
Although Wayne and Mary lived in the country, they had about two acres that had invisible fencing for their beagle. They never let their dog roam loose in the country or in the national forest. The risk of injury, rabies, or death was too great.
Cal had no such concerns for his dog. Wayne offered to let Baby Girl stay in their yard with the invisible fencing. All Cal had to do was buy the collar, but he refused. Wayne knew there wasn’t much he could do legally for the timid and sweet pitbull, but he decided to do what he could to keep her safe.
As much as it pained him, he tethered her for her protection. Wayne also provided her with a dog house. For 18 months, the family fed, watered, and gave Baby Girl attention. Even Toby, their beagle, visited her. A playful companion, she loved Toby’s company. Their son, Josh, especially began to form a bond with the sweet dog. He would spend time with her, rubbing her ears, cuddling with her, and telling Baby Girl what a good dog she was.
Occasionally, Cal would stop by and pat the dog, but that was the most attention he showed her. It was heartbreaking to watch as Baby Girl strained against her chain, tail wagging, while Toby romped and played in his protected yard. Instead, she spent her days and nights outside, chained.
Between the issue of Cal’s dog and his lack of interest in finding another place to live, tension between Cal and Wayne’s family continued to grow. Finally on Labor Day, it escalated into a verbal confrontation. Wayne told his nephew he had to move out. Then Cal’s estranged partner got a restraining order against him and subsequently picked up their toddler.
As Cal and a friend stood in the yard, he muttered something about getting his dog. Cal’s friend told him there wasn’t room for the dog in his car. Wayne saw his opening and took it. “Don’t worry about Baby Girl, Cal. We’ll take care of her.”
That’s when Cal snapped. Wayne heard his son screaming. “Dad! Dad! Look! Look what he’s doing to her!” What he saw made his blood run cold. His nephew stood over his very sweet and timid dog. With one hand holding her head, Cal took a dull knife in his other hand and cut the dog’s throat.
Wayne rushed at Cal, but the man had lost all reason. He was about to make a second cut, but Wayne restrained him. Cal began to rant, “You’re going to have to put a bullet in her head now. I didn’t finish her off.”
In a dog’s world, emotions aren’t terribly complicated. Love, fear, excitement, they all have their place. But betrayal? A dog has no understanding of such a complicated act. Bleeding and trembling, Baby Girl retreated to her dog house for safety.
Immediately, Wayne called the police, then rushed to Baby Girl’s dog house. All he could see was her chain and a trail of blood. He finally coaxed the dog out of the house and quickly examined the wound. There was not a lot of blood but the dog’s wind pipe was exposed.
Wayne told them he could not afford to bring the dog to them, so the clinic talked him through how to wrap the wound, which he did. They also told him what signs to look for to safely monitor her condition. Because Wayne had grown up on a farm and had cared for animals all his life, he knew that Baby Girl was not in any immediate danger. With the guidance of the clinic, he felt he could wait until the next day to find a vet that would work with him.
Hourly throughout the night, Wayne monitored Baby Girl’s condition. He and Josh changed the dressing several times and did their best to keep her comfortable. The next day, Wayne called several vets seeking help, but the answer was always the same. Payment was expected at the time of service.
Finally, Mary’s co-worker suggested The Mosby Foundation. Neither Mary nor Wayne had heard of this Foundation but they were desperate. By this time, it was afternoon when Wayne called our office and spoke with Dreama. The stress and strain of the past 24 hours welled up within him and he broke down.
Dreama listened as Wayne related the events of the past day. As Wayne later said, “She was a rock when I needed it. A huge burden was lifted. I’m just glad she was there to talk to me and work with us.”
While The Mosby Foundation isn’t generally equipped to deal with emergency situations, we very much wanted to help this family and Baby Girl. We found a spay/neuter clinic near Wayne’s residence that would care for Baby Girl’s wound. They also agreed to work out a payment plan with them.
To say that Wayne was thrilled was an understatement. The clinic worked them in and attended to Baby Girl’s wound that same day. Upon examination, the clinic found that the knife had missed her main artery by just millimeters. Baby Girl had to have three layers of stitches, with the top layer consisting of 13 staples. A drainage tube was inserted and she went home with her new family the next day.
To their surprise, The Mosby Foundation had paid a generous portion of the bill. “I can’t say enough about The Mosby Foundation,” Wayne gushed. “I’ve told everybody!” We were just glad to be able to offer a helping hand to this man who had saved the dog’s life. Baby Girl and this family certainly deserved it.
In the meantime, Cal was arrested on charges of animal cruelty. Wayne went to court and testified against his nephew, telling the judge that The Mosby Foundation was instrumental in getting Baby Girl the medical attention she needed.
Cal must also submit to a psychological evaluation and attend anger management classes. A restraining order that Wayne’s family filed against Cal was extended for two years, with the state awarding custody of the pitbull to Wayne and Mary. As you can imagine, the entire family was relieved. They did not want to relinquish the dog to anyone else. “I can’t split the dog and my son up,” Wayne said. “They are so close.”
Baby Girl’s days as a chained, neglected dog are behind her. Now she spends her days and nights with her forever family, who love and cherish her. She and their beagle, Toby, spend their days romping and playing together. The family is in awe of Baby Girl’s recovery. “She’s just remarkable,” Wayne said.
We’re thrilled that Baby Girl finally has the life and the love she so richly deserves. We only wish that the human heart could be as uncluttered and forgiving as our canine companions. Wouldn’t the world be a different place?