When I was younger, I thought that a thing of beauty was a joy forever, no questions asked, no matter the conditions in which it was found. I was young, and idealistic, and to me, a flower, an ode, a puppy … they were all beautiful and represented nothing but joy.
Now, I’m not so sure. Now, when I look at a puppy, I still get all melty inside, but I also wonder where it came from. Where its mother is. If she’s healthy, happy, and loved. Or if she has splayed feet from living in a rabbit hutch all her life. If she sleeps on a couch. Or if she sleeps outside, alone, in the snow. If she sees a vet when she gets sick. Or if she’s used to breed litter after litter, with no concern for her own health or happiness. If she’s okay, and why her puppy ended up here.
I’ve cared for too many of the puppymamas as a foster mom in rescue for me to fully relax around puppybabies and take them at face value, you see. But you know that. You saw my joyous post about our fosterbaby Marie followed quickly (way too quickly) by my story about the Christmas puppy. I just can’t let myself get too close to them, I suppose. I love the happiness, and hope, and joy that a new puppy brings as much as anybody, but when you have helped senior beagle after senior beagle regain trust in humans, relax around a family, and even learn to come in out of the rain when invited, and you’ve seen beagle after beagle with shattered psyche, and you’ve held them, crooning to them, comforting them with helpless little words, trying to soothe their souls, I suppose that it’s only natural that when you see a puppy, you start to wonder about its mother, and the conditions in which she lived.
And so, when my friend Amy began looking for a puppy, I recommended rescue, but when she fell in love elsewhere, I held my tounge. I couldn’t figure out how to say all this without sounding preachy. I don’t want to sound preachy. I just wish I could tell you all what it’s like out there where the backyard breeders keep dozens of dogs in rabbit hutches out back, with no place for the dogs to rest, no place for the dogs to run or even walk, no place for the dogs to love and be loved. Those places are empty, devoid of compassion, and that blankness scares me more than words can express. I’ve seen what they do to a dog, and for that, I am embarrassed for my humanity.
Every dog, every pet, every person should be wanted and loved, and when one is lost, it always makes me worry about the mother, and what condition she is in, right now.
Today, my friend Amy is telling her story, and what she found when she answered an ad in the paper for beagle puppies. Go check it out. Go on. I’ll wait here.