by Eric L. Nelson
It was a few minutes before midnight on a Saturday night, and my black and white cruiser was parked on a busy boulevard. I was typing on my police computer when something caught my attention. Down the street, I saw a tiny bundle of blond fur hobbling around in the middle of a busy intersection. It was an old, crippled Chihuahua.
I turned on my emergency red and blue lights, and drove towards the tiny old dog. Parking in the middle of a traffic lane, I got out and slowly walked towards him. I knew from experience that I might get bitten. I had no choice, because if I didn't rescue the tiny dog he would probably be hit by a car.
The frightened dog hobbled away from me fast as his crippled legs could carry him. I would later learn that a few months before he had been mauled by a large dog, and that his owner had not provided any medical care. The tiny dog's tail had been broken in three places. His legs were stiff, and his back knees didn't bend anymore.
In a fluid, swift motion I stooped over and picked the little Chihuahua; once he was in my arms he immediately buried his head into the crook of my elbow. I could feel him shivering in fear, and I think he expected a beating. Skin and bones, covered with fleas, I could tell that up until now this little dog's life had not been very good.
Back in the patrol car I put the dog in my lap. He stopped shaking, laid his head on my thigh, and he relaxed. I gently stroked his fur. I kept him with me for the rest of my shift. The last duty of the night was to book the tiny dog into the pound. I put a blanket over his little cage, gave him a bucket of fresh water, and said good-bye.
The following Monday at 9:00 AM I called the pound and told them that I wanted to adopt the little crippled Chihuahua. The lady told me they had just euthanized him a few minutes prior. She said his human had come in, said she did not want him anymore, and said she wanted him to be killed.
A tear or two formed in my eyes. I had already told my other two dogs that they were getting a new brother. I sat down with them and stroked their fur, and let them kiss my face. Although Kenja and Roger were comforting, I was sad about the tragic death of my new friend.
Then the phone rang. It was the pound. The lady said that when the technicians had gone to euthanize the tiny old dog, he didn't wake up and so they assumed he was already dead. Later, when they went back by the cage, the little dog was awake and very much alive! It seems that he is profoundly Deaf, and he didn't hear the technicians when they came to his cage the first time.
I dashed down to the pound and was re-united with "Albert E", (as he is now called). He remembered me, and wagged his crooked tail when he was brought out for adoption.
Two months have passed. Albert went to the dentist and had seven teeth pulled, and the rest of his teeth were cleaned. Now his mouth does not hurt anymore, and he can eat as much food as he wants! The fleas are gone, and Albert E has gained a few ounces (which is a good thing when you only weigh five pounds!)
Albert E loves to go in the car, and I take him everywhere. At night he sleeps next to my pillow. His new brother Roger is a Vizla/Lab mix, and his new sister Kenja is a Dutch Shepherd. At first, Roger and Kenja sniffed Albert E in puzzlement. He smells like a dog, and he barks like a dog, but he is smaller than a cat! The three dogs have become great friends. Albert E loves to sit and watch as Roger and Kenja take turns chasing a ball.
Albert E is living proof that rescued animals make a wonderful addition to the family. There are tens of thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, horses, and other animals waiting for their new family to find them. Just like Albert E found me.
Eric Nelson has been an adjunct professor at National University since 1998. He has trained dogs semi-professionally for 10 years. Eric is also employed full time as a police officer. He lives in northern California. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org