Several years ago, a woman in our county fell on hard times. The story I heard is that she used to have a lot of money and spent much of it on horses and dogs. She bred Yellow Labrador Retrievers. As the story goes, she went through a divorce. After the divorce, she continued to pay for the care of her horses and dogs until she ran out of money.
After she ran out of money, she was afraid to ask for help because she feared her animals would be taken from her. So she did not ask for help and her animals were taken from her.
As I understand it, she was evicted and had nowhere to go with her animals. Someone discovered that she had dozens of dogs in plastic pet crates stacked on top of each other and called the authorities. Her dogs were seized by Animal Control and taken to the Humane Society.
The woman was charged with many counts of animal cruelty. She loved her dogs and could not handle the situation emotionally. Before I tell you what happened to her, I will tell you what happened to the dogs. I don’t know about the horses.
The story was sad front page news in our newspaper. The Coloradoan reported that over seventy dogs were taken from her. The Humane Society was flooded with calls from people who wanted to adopt the yellow labs. Unfortunately, the majority were euthanized. I heard that if a dog snapped when removed from its crate, it was deemed unsafe for adoption and was put down. I would probably snap if pulled from a crate by strangers. However, I was not there and am not qualified to criticize what the Humane Society did in the situation. The result was that there were some puppies available for adoption, maybe thirty. So many folks wanted to adopt them that there was a waiting list.
The Humane Society wisely put on a meeting at the fairgrounds for all who wanted one of those dogs. Miss Sugar and I attended. At the meeting, an animal psychologist gave a presentation about how abused dogs behave differently than normal dogs. That winnowed out some of the would-be rescuers. I don’t recall the rest of the process but I can tell you this — Miss Sugar ended up with Sadie.
Sadie was the last dog picked. I suppose it was because she was not a little puppy. She was about five months old. Her front legs looked disproportionately short and were bowed.Presumably, she had been in that little crate ever since being weaned. I doubt she got proper exercise. The report we saw said she was covered with feces. She was not on the top tier of crates apparently. Her disposition saved her. She did not react viciously when pulled from the crate. The folks at the Humane Society called her Cuddlebug.
When Miss Sugar came to see about getting her, the deformed young dog who had been passed over by others, they hit it off right away. The Humane Society worker commented, “It’s a match.” So that is how Cuddlebug, who we re-named Sadie, came into our lives.
Our veterinarian told us that the woman who fell apart used to be a reputable breeder. She told us that Sadie was well bred, except for her stumpy legs of course.
I said above that I would tell you what happened to the woman charged with animal cruelty. Before the case was resolved, she robbed a bank and fled. She was chased by officers of the law until she came to a place in the country where she was surrounded. She got out of her car brandishing a gun. The officers told her to put down the gun. She did not. She was shot dead. It turned out that her gun was a toy pistol. It is called “suicide by cop.” She intended that outcome and provoked it. How very sad. My heart goes out to her.
Out of this sadness came joy for us. Well, mostly joy. We love Sadie despite her destructive nature. When left in the car she chewed the leather gear shifter and ate our radar detector. She seemed to lack any spatial awareness. For example, she does not get out of the way of moving vehicles. On our own lane, we have to be careful not to run her over because she fails to perceive the danger. She sometimes runs around in circles for no apparent reason. She is basically a nut.
Max has been very kind to her. He tolerates his crazy little sister. He lets her eat his food as she tries to control both bowls even to this day. I put out three bowls of food. As soon as I put food in the first bowl, Sadie goes to it as Max waits. I put food in the second bowl, which Sadie also wants. I put food in the third bowl, several steps away, and she goes to that as Max eats from the second bowl. Then Sadie goes back and forth between the first and third bowls. Her travel time allows Max to finish the second bowl before Sadie decides to check it out too. I don’t blame her for being greedy. She was deprived in her past life. But I’m proud of Max for being so tolerant.
In Water Dogs, I wrote about how Sadie manipulates Max with regard to fetching things from the water.
Now she is eight years old. People often ask how old our puppy is. She is small for a lab and compared to Max does look like a puppy. She still acts like one too. Sadie is a nutcase, but a lovable one.
She is also a grateful creature. She has warned us about the presence of snakes. She got between Miss Sugar and a charging cow. She is a hero. Our lives are better because of Sadie.