I didn’t realize it was so gauche to write about pets until Lena Dunham pointed out that it’s, “nearly impossible to do without some simpering sentimentality.” It’s kept me from discussing my part-time dog walking job and unabashed love of dogs. That being said, this isn’t a dog story– it’s a people story.
I heard a huge ruckus in a neighboring unit when leaving a dog walking appointment recently– pounding, crashing, and shouting. Horrified, I thought two men were fighting until I heard the dog crying and yelping. It was loud, painful, and sustained.
Everyone in the vicinity had heard the poor creature shrieking, and four of us came rushing out of different doors at once. The girl from apartment seven was already at apartment five’s doorstep knocking. The dog shot out of his door when he opened it, defecating as she ran, and retreated to a far corner of the lobby. I wanted to gather her in my arms and run as fast as I could.
He explained angrily that since the little silver pit bull pup had peed on the floor, he had “popped her.” “Don’t use another word to make it sound better, say what it is!,” I yelled at him, “You hit her!” Yeah, he’d hit her, he admitted. “You’re telling me in the State of California I don’t have the right to hit my own dog?” he asked. A chorus of incredulous no’s replied. His neighbor insisted there was no way he only hit the dog; she was sure she’d heard him throw the puppy against the wall they share. He was resolute that it was his “right” to hit his dog and went inside. Defeated, the group dissipated wordlessly.
I was transferred to three different operators when I called the police, breaking into tears again each time I relayed the story. Though each had an empathetic ear, no one quelled my fears about the fate of the little dog.
A few days later, the animal shelter connected me to the officer that had arrived. She said the neighbor was emphatic that he’d never hit his dog (contrary to what he said), and she gave him some tips on training. Above all, I wanted to know that the dog wasn’t hurt, that I hadn’t failed her by not scooping her up and saving her.
The happy ending is that the officer said that the puppy didn’t seem injured and wasn’t too timid or fearful. But no one had seen him hit her, and she was left in his care. I’m grateful she’s well, but I wish she was safer.
The bottom line is, please don’t let these people get away with abusing innocent animals. Don’t let the smug assurance that they’re entitled to treat pets like property dissuade you, or allow their anger that you’re asking questions scare you. If you think an animal is in danger, ask questions and call the police.