Thursday, October 23
I walk my neighborhood regularly with a pack of dog biscuits strapped to my waist. Over the past 3+ years, I've grown to know and love my neighborhood dog friends. Riley lived at the corner of my alley in a great big yard with a lovely, recently renovated dog house. I visited with Riley a lot, as he was so close. There's a school bus stop at his corner and all of the children would visit with Riley in the mornings as they waited.
It took me quite some time to adjust to how dogs are treated in this part of the country. Some of my neighbor dogs, like Riley, are well cared for and loved but many are chained, alone, for most of their lives.
Here in the US, we have a serious problem with pitbulls. The breed, itself, is not a problem but they are often bred in back yards under horrid conditions and sold from those yards for as much money as the owners can get. Not everyone, but many people buy pitbulls to show off the owner's power and are trained to be excessively aggressive. Other pitbulls are bred, sold and trained to fight to the death for owner's monetary gain. Through carelessness, neglect and loss of interest, these dogs often break loose or become strays creating a very dangerous situation for other animals and people. This situation is much worse in some parts of the country, like the South, than others. Unfortunately, because of prevailing attitudes towards animals (although this is slowly changing) and lack of funding for animal control departments of cities and counties, not to mention the irresponsibility of not neutering dogs and cats, there are neither funds nor manpower to properly address the situation.
One night last week, my dear friend Riley was sleeping in his dog house, when two stray pitbulls jumped his 5' fence, attacked and killed him. He was a sweet boy, well loved and cared for by Martha, who is beside herself with grief.
Today, I brought some flowers to Martha and another jar of flowers with a dog biscuit for Riley's grave. He reallly did have a wonderful life, thanks to Martha. Although this is a tragic ending, I felt compelled to post his story here. Thanks for reading.