Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a big fan of social media. While pictures of your kids, your food and political ranting can be amusing, it’s not really my cup of tea. However, there are countless stories of animals who have been helped, people who have been reunited and then there was that recent post of the very clear home security footage showing the break in & burglary of a Las Vegas home which went viral and eventually led to the professional thief turning himself in. In those cases social media is a wonder!
While you won’t find me posting a whole lot on my personal page, being part of the animal welfare community, I have been added to more animal related Facebook groups than I can count, and notifications of tagged posts and photos begin to add up. So, one night a couple weeks ago I did as I do regularly and logged on to see what was going on and clear my notifications. In my sifting, I came across this:
a posting made by someone I do not know and shared by a member of one of the groups I am a part of. As I read the post, I became irritated. The author said “I found someone’s Pit Bull yesterday and I’M not giving HIM BACK.” What?! Who was this person and why did they feel they had the right to play judge and jury? Dogs, especially strays get dirty. Not everyone has a shiny new collar for their dog. And just like us, they get scars from a variety of things over the course of their lives. While I understood the concern as to the current condition of the dog, I felt that she owed it to the dog to at least TRY and find the owner instead of jumping to conclusions and rushing to judgment. If upon finding the owner she felt that they were irresponsible, abusive or otherwise unfit, well that’s a different story. So, not knowing this person who found the dog, I urged those that are her Facebook friends to ask her to reconsider.
A bit later the post was still on my mind, so I logged on again to re-read it. As I stared at the photo I couldn’t help but think that the dog pictured looked very familiar. I began to scroll through the file of photos of the “pit bull” dogs we have assisted with free and low cost spay and neuters this year. I quickly located the one I was looking for, Tiger, a dog we had assisted in January. While the picture I had was of a puppy, upon side by side comparison, I was pretty sure it was the same dog. I got a screenshot of the Facebook post and sent it to one of my volunteers who happened to be the friend and former neighbor of Tiger’s owner, asking if it was him and was he lost.
The next morning I got confirmation that it was believed to be Tiger. Upon speaking to Tiger’s mom Lisa, she was heartbroken to learn about what was going on. She explained that her family had lost their home and her husband lost his job. Not having a permanent place and concerned about meeting the basic needs of their family, they reluctantly re-homed Tiger to a man who came highly recommended by a friend who is an upstanding, good-willed person. Sadly the family said goodbye in hopes that Tiger would have a better life than they could provide at the time, trusting that the adopter was a good person with intentions of making Tiger his companion. Lisa even called regularly to check in and was always told that he was thriving and getting along with the other dog in the home. The Taylor family did what many people do every day when re homing animals with great success. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Tiger.
When he was found, Tiger wasn’t in great shape. He is pretty skinny, has quite a few new and old scars around his face and neck and of course was wandering the streets alone. Of course his condition raised red flags for the person who found him, but when my pleas finally reached her and she called. I explained to her what I knew and had been told of Tiger’s story and urged her to contact the Taylor’s for all of the details on how Tiger ended up in this situation as I truly believed that the family cared deeply for their dog and simply trusted someone who was less than worthy. For me, the most important part of this story was that Lisa and her family had recently gotten new jobs, a place of their own and were back on their feet. They had a place for Tiger and were more than willing to take him back into their care! In fact, the kids regularly asked about Tiger and missed him very much, but the Taylor’s believed him to be in a good home and the last thing they wanted to do was uproot him again and take him away from an owner they were under the impression was treating him well.
The lady who found Tiger made contact with his original family. They sent her pictures of a healthy, well cared for Tiger, as he was before being re-homed. She even made a home visit with him. What she eventually concluded was that the Taylor’s are good people who fell on hard times and made a mistake, but they never acted out of malice.
Tiger is now back with the Taylor family and from what I am told was quite a reunion! He was so excited to see his mom, dad and siblings he almost came out of his stripes! Despite whatever he has been through, he remains sweet and friendly. Uncertain of what he has been exposed to, the family is taking it slow with him and easing him back into home life as they believe the former guardian was probably trying to fight the very submissive Tiger based on his new and old scars around his head and neck. With the Taylor’s TLC, Tiger’s wounds will heal, his boyish figure will come back and he will live out the rest of his life with a family that adores him.
We hope that Tiger’s tale serves as a reminder that sometimes we need to take a step back and examine things before jumping to conclusions and rushing to judgment as they very well may not be what they seem. And while there is never a guarantee a pet you are rehoming will find its happily ever after, we recommend owners ask questions, seek referrals, maybe even check out the potential living conditions and ALWAYS go with your gut!