We all know it’s a terrible idea, and we all do it anyway at some point in our lives: putting a puppy under the Christmas tree.
The Observer fell victim to the urge one Christmas five years ago, when a friend found a mother dog and her nine many-fathered pups tucked in a dug-out, leaf-lined nest in the woods. The mother dog actually found our friend, hailing him from the side of the road he drove to town every day with that brown-eyed pathos that said I’m a good dog and I’m hungry and only a monster would pass me by one more time.
Our pick of her litter was not particularly bright, but she was yellow, like the dog we grew up with. Unlike the dog we grew up with, her ears are irresistibly cute, sticking straight up with the ends flopped over, ears that give an impression of alertness if not intellect. Like the dog we grew up with, a dog infamous for on-the-fly grabbing of sandwiches out of the hands of small children, she can be a pain, jumping, scratching, chewing and shedding, it turned out, 12 months out of the year. Recently, in her enthusiasm to meet a dog walking down the street, she pulled the Observer’s husband headlong down the front steps, landing him in the hospital with a broken arm.
We could have done without the broken arm for sure, but what would we do without Sunny? She licks us awake, curls her hairy 55 pounds up into our laps, sleeps on her back in the bed with all four legs in the air to make her stomach available for rubbing. Like that child every parent wants, she has a talent we can brag on: speed. Though we humans may fight among ourselves, Sunny has no quarrels with us whatsoever. She loves us, unconditionally, in her own clumsy and destructive way. So it wasn’t such a bad idea, that Christmas, to rescue the dimwitted dog, our yellow peril, destroyer of pencils, pens, dolls ...
Now it’s Christmas again, and because people seem to enjoy having their hearts ripped out at this time of the year, The Observer passes on a website we just learned about: lastchancearkansas.org. Last chance, meaning if you don’t adopt this dog now the Little Rock Animal Shelter is going to serve it a stiff potassium cocktail and unceremoniously dump it and a heap of its miserable comrades at the landfill.
This fact makes this volunteer-manned, please-adopt-this-dog website particularly piercing. Photos of dogs and cats and puppies and kittens, their faces pleading, look up at you from the webpage, saying, “I’ll die if you don’t adopt me.”
A link on lastchancearkansas goes to petfinder.com, where more Animal Shelter pets are pictured, here coupled with copy entreating the viewer: Beneath the photo of a pitiful pointer: Awww... poor dumped boy. He won’t get much more time. Can YOU help him out of here, and find out what a RESPONSIBLE, loving home is like? One where he won’t be dumped off to die — no matter WHAT!! Please hurry. And with a picture of a sweet hound: Aww — dumped off here by the people who were supposed to love him most. What’s WRONG WITH PEOPLE!???!! Please can you help this handsome boy get out and into a new loving home where he will never be dumped again? He’s only 45 pounds, and is gorgeous.
Only the most heartless person — or someone whose cell phone has just been chewed to a fare-thee-well by a dumb yellow dog — could resist such rhetoric.
Our friend couldn’t. She rescued a perky wire-haired female terrier of a sort, sweet and quick, though not as fleet, of course, as The Observer’s dog.
Some of these dogs were perhaps Christmas mistakes. But perhaps a redeemer will come along this Christmas, in the form of a family that will love its mutt, forgiving it even for, say, broken arms.
Recycling seems a good way to go. Call 376-3067 for more information.