There’s a little pub down the street from my apartment in the South Bronx I enjoy very much. Good food, nice beer selection, good people. On Monday night I went over to have dinner there and spotted the most beautiful dog sitting outside, tied to a bench near the door. I went over to say hello, of course, and this beautiful blue and white pit bull greeted me very excitedly, licking my face and savoring the attention. The first thing I noticed, even in the semi-darkness, was that she was in need of medical attention. She had a large lump on the back of her head which I first thought was an abscess and recent wounds on her face, body and tail. She had been tied to the bench with a makeshift collar and a luggage strap and had sagging nipples which bespoke many litters. Despite many being available in shelters, the myth persists that blue pits are somehow more valuable or desirable, and this poor girl has likely been used as a puppy machine.
I went inside to talk to the bartender on duty but I already had a good guess as to what was happening. Frank told me that someone had just called to say that there was a dog tied up outside the bar and loaned me a flashlight to get a better look at her. We asked around among the patrons but no one claimed her. She’d been abandoned outside a bar.
Frank brought her some chicken and some water and when she was finished I walked her back to my car and put her in a crate in the back while I thought about what to do. I went back to the bar and ate while I waited to see if anyone would show up to claim her. I wasn’t too surprised when no one did. I went back to the car and decided I would call her Brooke.
I shot a couple of pictures of her and posted that I had found her and went upstairs to get Ginger for her dog test – I thought it would be a good idea to see how she did with other dogs before bringing her into my apartment! She passed the Ginger test with flying colors and we went upstairs to meet the crew.
She did very well meeting everyone and was quickly comfortable in the house, wandering around with the others and investigating. At bedtime I brought her up to the sleeping loft and invited her to sleep on the bed, and she quickly curled up and spent the entire night sound asleep beside me. She enjoyed cuddling and when we woke up she was ready with affectionate licks and followed me downstairs to see what the day would bring, and she ate calmly near the other dogs as I watched carefully.
By sheer luck I already had a routine vet appointment the next day for two of my dogs, so I called the vet first thing and got Brooke shoehorned in. Her physical exam was much better than I expected – most of the wounds on her face and body were healing well, and she was given an antibiotic to make sure some of them did not get infected and to treat a possible UTI. The large lump on her head was a cyst, not an abscess – thank goodness! My vet drained the cyst, which will likely shrink on its own. Brooke was so good for her exam, she was very friendly and didn’t even require muzzling for the cyst on her head – I simply held her head while the vet drained it. The source of some of her wounds is a mystery, but the side of her head was torn up by garrotte-type marks from having something around her neck she was struggling with. The cyst is probably from the same incident and the result of impact(s). As long as we were there we had vaccines done as well. She is young, my vet estimates her at 3-5 years old.
I was planning to get up to Pets Alive later that day to see Robert and I’ll have to admit I was hoping that they would consider Brooke. I checked the Facebook status where I had posted her picture and saw this comment from Pets Alive’s director…
I would love to keep Brooke. She’s so sweet and she gets along so very well with my group – but I have many dogs in my South Bronx studio, and I have to consider my landlord’s wishes and my neighbors as well. I was so happy that she had a place to go, a place where she would be loved and cared for until she can find her forever home. I wish I could have, in good conscience, taken her to the New York City shelter and know that she was safe there – but I can’t. I can’t ask them to call me if she is not adopted, they won’t. I can be nearly sure that if she stays long enough she will become sick, as every animal who enters the facility does. And I can’t be sure that in a place where medical data is either routinely falsified to serve a political purpose or given in a grossly incompetent manner that her medical needs won’t either be overlooked or exaggerated in order to justify her execution. I want to be able to someday trust my city to do the right thing, but right now they don’t. They can’t be relied on to help with this.
Brooke liked it at Pets Alive instantly, and should be posted for adoption on the Pets Alive website within a few days once they’re sure she is healthy, as I’m positive she will be. Someone’s going to get a great dog. Thanks to Pets Alive for saving her.