The Dog Catcher

From Random Memories, by Ken Hutchison © 2015

Summertime, around 1997

I’ve stolen dogs. I’m not afraid to say it. Abused and/or neglected dogs that is. A Husky kept on a four foot chain in a dirt yard just disappeared. A little mixed breed in a dirt pen with two other big dogs that would turn on her when we’d walk by got a new home. But this one was a coordinated effort, and a complex one at that.

We didn’t know the dog’s name. The situation came to us by way of a co-worker. She’d see the dog chained 24/7. The family’s kids would play catch in front of it just to torture it, laughing at the poor thing as she’d try to participate and end up choking herself when the chain ran out as she ran for the ball. Retrieving was in her genetic pool, and she’d rather die than not try. The kids were Satan’s spawn. They didn’t realize that someone had noticed, and that their little pathetic shit-ass game was not going to happen anymore.

So, under the cover of darkness in the middle of the night the operation began. Our friend got the dogs attention with some lunch meat, got a leash on her, took a pair of bolt cutters, and severed her steel chain of torture from her body. The note reading, “Don’t get another one” was left to the tree under the chain.

By sunup she got the dog to us, where she was fed and watered. She ate so aggressively that we wondered how long it had been since she’d seen food. She was matted, filthy, and had her own waste woven into her own hair. Our dog Gracie engaged with her immediately, which wasn’t like her at all. She tried to encourage her to run around the yard, but all she could muster is a gimp, one of her legs seemingly injured. After a few minutes, we went up to the tub, bathing and cutting out what we couldn’t get clean.

That’s when we found it.

The clothes hanger.

Wrapped around her rear haunch. It had been there so long that it had rusted and slightly embedded itself into her skin. She growled and whimpered a bit while we took the wire cutters to it, showing the pain that it was causing.

Once we had it cut out we took her outside again. The girl went crazy, running all over the front yard with our little canine welcome wagon. She had a new lease on life.

After about an hour the woman from Springer Spaniel Rescue showed up. We handed her the hanger. She sighed and shook her head. Then she looked at the little girl below and said, “I’m gonna name you Freedom”.

I know she’s long gone by now, but I’ll never forget that spastic run around the yard.

It was a “Thank you”.

You’re welcome.

Thanks Ken. -JG

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