Question for a dog: Where did you come from?

Maybelle’s radio debut.

My dog is one of those dogs that always makes people say, “Why wouldn’t someone want her?” This basically translates to, “How did this calm, well-behaved, healthy dog end up in a shelter?” I have my theories, most of which involve elderly owners — or Maybelle chasing a deer across the rural Georgia county she came from. Once you see her lock onto some kind of prey animal, you can see how she might end up separated from her loving family. 

And I have no doubt that she had a loving family before she came to me. She is friendly and fearless, and is so polite in the house she shows up most people’s expensive, well-bred dogs that they’ve lovingly raised since puppyhood. She’s even been “endorsed” by a local NPR host. Other than the obvious signs that Maybelle had had multiple litters of puppies, there were no signs that this dog was not well taken care of…even loved.

I wonder about her former family. Do they wonder where she is? Did someone pass away? Were they evicted during hard economic times? I don’t know much about them because by the time she wound up with me she had been picked up by animal control in Georgia, handed over to the infamous Boggs Mountain Shelter, and then shipped up to my Humane Society in Connecticut.

I started thinking about this when I read this story about an abandoned Chihuahua that eventually helped its foster family through a time of grief. You see a lot of stories like this, and this is one of the least dramatic. Often you hear about dogs saving their families from fire, or alerting parents of infants to the fact that their child has stopped breathing. And sometimes these stories happen only days or weeks after the family brings the dog home from a shelter.

Do you think the people who gave up those dogs ever see those stories? And if they do, what do they think?

I suppose I don’t really want to know how Maybelle ended up in that shelter. Maybe it isn’t the relatively nice story I have in my head. Maybe someone dumped her when they decided they couldn’t deal with another litter of puppies (because, you know, just getting her spayed would be too much work). And I don’t want to feel guilty knowing that somewhere a nice person is still missing their dog two years after she ran off to chase a squirrel.

I have to stop thinking about this now, because Maybelle is staring at me with a look that says, “Don’t you know it’s almost time for our walk?”

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