You could see dogs wandering around, house to house, loose on the streets. Where is their next meal coming from? A garbage can or maybe a leftover bag someone threw out of their car window into the road?
Days turned into weeks and the loose pet's health was not good. Food was hard to find and no one to care for them caused a lot of issues. It was raining one day and cold the next. No bed, no blanket, no home, no love, no care.
These dogs were not always in this situation. One circumstance started when a young boy brought a puppy home that he got from a friend.
His friend's dog had a litter of puppies because she was not spayed. The boy got to pick any one he wanted. The choice was easy because he had always wanted a dog, so any of them would do.
The boy brought the puppy home, begging mom and dad to let him keep it, with a promise to provide all the care it needs. The boy was so happy and said he would take care of the puppy forever.
The puppy grew older and so did the boy. The boy found his friends and girls were more important than the dog, which was no longer a puppy.
The boy went off to college and couldn't take the dog with him. Dad and mom never intended on taking care of this dog in the first place. The dog may or may not have been fed for the day. The dog got tied up all the time, only to be unchained if there was a bad storm.
One day, the dog pulled loose from his chained life, in search of a new life. Sad and not understanding what he did wrong to be treated so poorly, he wondered where the boy went. The boy was supposed to care for him forever and love him. The dog was alone now and on his own.
The dog was not feeling well and no one came looking for him. The streets proved to be a tough place to live, even as he met up with other dogs. Some were all right as he passed them by, while others wanted to fight over food and territory.
The dog's health was getting worse and somehow he got a bit of mange and fleas.
The dog was thinking to himself, wondering if
he was better off chained up in the yard. The dog stopped at the edge of the road and laid down. He couldn't do this any longer.
He had given up all hope of finding a new life. No one cares. Too sick to go any further, all seemed lost.
Just then, an Animal Services van turned the corner. The dog was too weak to run so he gave up without a fight. The officer noticed right away that the dog was in poor health so he took the dog to the veterinarian where he received care. There was hope.
The officer showed the dog care and compassion through the entire ordeal, assuring the dog everything was going to be alright and that he was in good hands.
Released from the veterinarian, the dog was transported to the Palmetto shelter where he found he must stay for five days since maybe his people would come for him.
The dog was sad again, knowing he did not want to go back to that life he had. For five days he hoped they would not come looking for him, and they didn't.
During the dog's five days, shelter staff took care of him and volunteers walked him. He was getting more attention and care than he had ever had in his life.
With medications and special treatments, the cough and fleas were gone. His hair was growing back, too. Many people looked at him, with some hoping to take him home.
The dog, now named Luke, was ready. He was placed into our adoption center. Luke was in the adoption center only one day before he was picked.
Luke has a new family to go home with and a new beginning, a new life. Luke promises unconditional love and will get the same in return. Luke has a second chance to live and love.
Luke has a happy ending. Your new dog is looking for you, waiting for you, right here at our shelter.
Are you ready to give a forever home to a wonderful pet? Look no further because we have the dog or cat of your dreams right here at Animal Services.
Check our website at www.mymanatee.org/pets or visit our shelter in Palmetto or our Downtown Adoption Center in Bradenton today.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald. Call 941-742-5933 for information.