This house is dog friendly. People, not so much

Shopping in a store, I smiled at a decorative wooden block reading, “This house is dog friendly,” and then squinted to read the tiny print in parentheses: “People, not so much.”

By Marti Benson

In August of 2011, two UCCS students were driving west on Highway 24 in Ute Pass. Sickeningly, a small animal was tossed out the window of the vehicle in front of them. The young couple immediately stopped—and managed to hold back traffic on the notoriously busy road—as they retrieved the victim. They scooped up the frightened creature and rushed it to the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter for help.

I had already heard about the barbaric act before the shelter was able to call our clinic.

“A dog got thrown out of a car in the pass!” The calls were frantic, and the phone nearly rang off the hook.
The dog was an elderly gal and she was deaf and blind. The stoic little lady with the black mask and big ears was fawned over by our doctors and technicians and receptionists. The staff took turns sitting in her kennel with her during her convalescence or taking her outside for fresh air.

Local media got wind of her story and featured her in their broadcasts. Strangers called daily to check on her progress. People wanted to adopt her. Those who were unable to take in another pet offered to help financially with her care. Even our delivery men on their busy rounds paused to ask about her and give us a thumbs up.
“You guys took in that poor little dog, right?”

Many of our clients who had heard that we were caring for this sudden celebrity brought us lunches, cookies and cards to thank us. Mystery, as she was named by the shelter, eventually found her forever home with an extraordinary family who loved her deeply, and cared for her until the end of her life.

Mystery’s ordeal was heart-wrenching but, unfortunately, not entirely unique. As you can imagine, there are incidences of abuse, abandonment or neglect that make my blood boil, tempting me to agree with that decorative block of wood. After years of working at the clinic, I witnessed how much damage and suffering one individual can wreak.
But I have also experienced the legions of good people from all over who volunteered to help right those wrongs.

People who unselfishly offered a hand or a home, or opened their wallets to help animals or pet owners in need.
Another decorative wooden block on the shelf caught my eye. “Love Wins.” I picked it up and put it in my cart. ■

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