When I woke up today, the sun was shining (for a change) and the day held the promise of being a beautiful Sunday. But then I got an email that changed everything.
Eighteen hours beforehand, someone driving a white Ford Mustang in Canton had done something that would alter the course of my day, and that of many others. A man witnessed someone toss a little dog out of that car and over a bridge into a full culvert of running water at the corner of Whipple and Wise. The witness waved down a complete stranger so he could borrow her phone to call for help. The woman got down into the culvert and held the little dog’s head out of the water, but it was clear that he was suffering. The two good Samaritans called Jades Rescue in Canton for help, and Diane and Ed Aquino got directions and went down to see what they could do.
They rushed the young dog to Fulton ER clinic, and the little guy fought bravely for his life, but he was badly injured. The clinic diagnosed spinal trauma, punctured lungs, wounds and dehydration. He had also suffered head trauma that led to seizures. He was completely paralyzed from the mid-section down. The vets felt that the best course of action was to put him out of his suffering, and they euthanized him.
When I read his story and saw his photo on the Internet, it was not clear to me if all of his injuries were the result of being thrown from the car, or if some of his injuries happened before that. But one thing was very, very clear.
This little dog was neutered. He looked like he’d been well taken care of, and he was wearing a collar. That meant that he was somebody’s pet. He wasn’t some piece of trash like a discarded candy wrapper or pop can. He was a living, breathing individual, and somebody had loved him enough at some point to take care of him and to buy him a collar. A purple collar; the color that is associated with animal rescue.
Although there are plenty of stories of abuse that involve pet owners abusing their own pets, this struck me as something different. I can’t imagine that a pet owner discarding their own pet in this way would leave a collar on him. So, what is his story? Was he stolen? Was he a pawn in some game between humans trying to hurt each other? Was someone looking for him? What had this little guy done to deserve this fate?
Nothing. That’s what.
There is nothing this dog could have done to deserve this. No pair of chewed shoes, no accident on the carpeting, no nip in response to fear, no hole dug in the yard, no amount of barking could have been egregious enough to warrant this horrifying treatment.
I don’t even know this dog’s name, but I love him. I know that in the last hours of his life, he met complete strangers who also loved him. Who wanted to help him. Who wanted him to feel safe. Who touched him with gentle hands.
Animal rescuers and advocates, we are part of an army. We fight abuse and cruelty on a million battlefields every day. Lots of times, the enemy wins. But we get up the next day and we do it again; and we do it again the day after that. We do it because animals like this little guy; they don’t stand a chance without us.
I don’t know this little guy’s name, but until I learn it, I will call him “Benny”, because he had a name and he deserves a name. And when I learn the name of the person who did this to him, I will spread that name far and wide – to the sheriff, to the police, to do not adopt lists, to prosecutors, and to judges – because anyone who can do this to another living being needs to be stopped.
Please share “Benny’s” story. Somebody knows who was driving that white Mustang. Somebody knows who Benny belonged to. Jades Rescue is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest. Call them with any information: 330.614.0300 or email: Jadesrescue@gmail.com