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2016-01-28

TLC for your Pets - Christmas Puppy

By Raelynn Hughes

By Raelynn Hughes
Arizona Animal Rescue Alliance

(Writer's note: For the most part, this is a true story. How I found Daphne is true. I surmised she was a Christmas gift because all her belongings were handed to me in a Christmas gift bag. Only 8-10 weeks old, she's a damn good dog. Someone's trash became my treasure, I guess.
Please, if you have the same mindset as these people, don't get an animal or a fish - in face, don't get any living thing ever. You don't deserve them.
If you breed your animals and think it's okay because you sold them to good homes, then think again. Daphne didn't go to a good home. Luckily it ended well for her but there are so many puppies that won't have a happy ending. Whether dumped at the pound, park or desert, they face death. Listed for free and ending as a bait dog or back yard breeder, they face death. The possibilities are endless and, for the most part, always unpleasant.
Puppies, kittens or anything living that will need food care and attention is never a good idea for a gift. Those decisions require careful thought and planning. An animal isn't a doll you can put in the toy box or trash and forget about when you become bored with it. They need you. Have some respect for them, please!)
She was a pup, a present for three kids, all under 10 years. They bought her a new kennel with double doors, a comfy new bed, sweaters and shampoo, collar and a harness and bad adult dog food. I'm sure Christmas morning was joyful, but, little by little, the shine faded.
The pup was crated for longer periods of time - left alone to cry and whine. Instead of taking her out, she had to potty on that nice bed inside her crate. Soon the pup smelled as bad as her bed and the kids she adored didn't clean her or the crate and all that shampoo was bought for naught.
Mom and dad didn't want take care of her because the puppy was the kids' responsibility. Two weeks after the holidays ended, the family was done with this Christmas puppy.
Luckily for the pup, I drove past this house; lucky for her I was shocked and turned around. There, at the end of a neighbor's driveway was a wire crate and inside sat this Christmas puppy, staring at her "home" and looking for her "family" as they rushed from the house asking me if I wanted her.
Want her? What?
The oldest boy, no older than 10, was followed closely by his mother. He translated for her so I would know what she said.
"She's free! She comes with everything - kennel, collar and stuff." He says this like a car salesman giving the rundown of specials on a vehicle. "You want her?"
For a second all I can do is stare - seriously? I looked at this little black and white pit bull puppy, her sad brown eyes staring at her people.
"Yeah, yes, I'll take her," I said, thinking maybe I can network her into a rescue and then, "My husband is going to kill me."
Pointing at my house just down the street, I explained that I needed to take my car to my house. This excited the mother, who nodded and smiled. I parked my car and as I was unbuckling my daughter, the mother is already at the end of my driveway kennel in hand. The kids follow with the puppy on a leash. They were so eager to be rid of her my heart hurt.
Christmas puppy trots happily beside them, glad they took her out of the kennel! They hand me her leash and walk away. Christmas puppy watches - then starts whining. The kids run back, not to say goodbye but to give me the dog chow she was being fed. Then, they leave.
My dog, Bella, is standing by the gate excited to meet Christmas puppy. She's wanted a little sister for forever. But, even with a small child, another dog and me standing there, Christmas puppy stares in the direction her people went and cries. Because even if it were just for two weeks and regardless that they neglected her, she loved them with her whole heart.
They had left her at the end of their driveway like an old couch, complete with a "Free" sign on her. But she loved them. They broke Christmas puppy's heart. But that's okay. I like broken things. I can still see the beauty in them.
The shampoo they bought her I used. She smells like a puppy again. Her kennel will be sold because she'll never be caged again. She has better food to eat now. She'll never know what it feels like to be underweight or hungry again.
Eventually she won't be scared of being alone that she screams as if she's being beaten. She'll know we will be back - because we love her. She's ours and we're hers. Until there's gray on her muzzle and she takes her last breath in our arms - she's ours and we're hers.
Welcome home, Christmas puppy. Your name is Daphne. You're a part of this family - now and always.