A story about a girl and two dogs.
There was a girl who heard rumors of a dog being mistreated. These stories kept her up at night. Two dogs in one neighborhood had been brought to her attention. How could two families be cruel in one neighborhood she thought. She didn’t understand that the world was full of cruelty. So she started watching these dogs. One was tied to a pole. The other in a small pen. She watched. Every day she watched. For months she watched. For a year she watched. The dog tied to a pole…was tied to a pole. He was never given attention. He was never loved. He had no shelter from the rain, the cold, the storms, the heat. He was given food and water. The other dog was in a pen. He was given food and water. He was also beaten daily. Every day. He had shelter. But that didn’t matter to the dog. Just like food and water didn’t matter to the dog tied to a pole. They were both in prison. A prison the girl could not bear to watch for one day longer. One year was long enough.
Since the dog tied to a pole had not had human contact, the girl set out to tame the dog. Every day she waited for the owners to go to work. She started by just walking in the yard. Each day she got closer and closer to the dog. She eventually started throwing the dog treats. It took many months to be able to touch the dog. The dog did not know what it felt like to be loved. The dog didn’t know what it felt like to trust. The chain was imbedded in the dog’s neck. It would take time to get the dog free.
The dog in the pen had human contact. But the dog in the pen had only had abusive contact. The girl walked in the back path behind the house to visit the dog. She walked past every day until the dog stopped barking when he saw her. Finally was able to get closer and closer to the dog. The dog was injured. She was in pain.
Animal control was called many times on both dogs. Animal control cared about the dogs. Animal control does not make the laws about what is acceptable treatment of dogs. The dogs had food and water. There was nothing they could do.
The dogs were in a prison. The girl knew what that prison felt like. She had felt fear, loneliness, abandonment. She knew what it was like to be abused. She knew what it was like to give up. She knew what it was like to feel like being tied to a pole and knowing she would never be free of those who bound her. She had to rescue the dogs.
It took time. Setting someone free takes time. Learning to trust. Learning to love. Learning to accept all take time. The girl was patient. She knew that freedom was the end goal.
One night she took a stroller and walked the back path. She climbed the fence and picked up the dog in the pen. She climbed back over with the dog. Her heart was beating so fast she thought she was going to faint or throw up. The dog was badly injured. She felt a flood of guilt for not saving the dog sooner. She put the dog in the baby stroller and covered her with a blanket, rushing back down the path home. She had found a dog rescue and had already made contact. As soon as the dog rescue lady received the dog she wold take her immediately to the vet. The girl drove the dog to the rescue. The dog sat crying in the seat next to her. She coulnd’t stand the pain in the dog’s eyes so she lifted her in her lap and the dog cried out in pain. But she licked her face anyway. She knew she was free.
The dog who was tied to a pole was much harder. There were many neighbors around and the owners were frequently home. Her rescue was a throw caution to the wind, please God help me do this, mission. She ran out, braisenly in the sunlight, took the chain from the dog’s neck that had been loosened over the last few weeks and ran the dog home. The dog could have bitten her. The dog had probably never been picked up in her life or held next to the chest of another human being. But the dog knew she was free.
The dog from the pen had broken ribs and a broken leg. She had been beaten with a board so relentlessly that her little body was broken. But the dog rescuer paid all of the expenses to save her. She rehabilitated her and found her a home that would love her all the rest of her days. She was said to be a perfect dog that just wanted to give love and receive love. She was finally free.
The dog from the pole was not broken on the outside, but she was broken on the inside. She needed time to learn how to be loved. It didn’t take her long. Love heals so many wounds. Love healed her wounds of loneliness and exposure to the elements. She was finally free.
The girl knew she was not allowed to take the dogs. The girl knew the laws. The girl also knew suffering. The girl knew prison. The girl knew the longing for freedom. She saw when both dogs had given up, thinking freedom would never come for them. The dogs didn’t care about the laws. The owners didn’t care about the laws. The girl knew this. The girl knew the matters of the heart, the protection of the dogs, and the importance of love and freedom superseded everything else. By rescuing the dogs, the girl felt some of her own chains of abuse dropping. Her own prison walls had widened some. By giving them their freedom, she felt a tiny bit of freedom herself.
If only every animal were cared for as much as the girl cared for them. If only every child were cared for in the way the girl cared for the dogs. If only every life, big or small, mattered. What a freeing life it would be. What a loving life it would be. What a content life we would all have if everyone were valued as much as each of those dogs mattered to the girl.