I've said before that I'm a real cry-er. "Spitzmuller," my grandmother used to call me. Someone who could cry easily. But its been a long time since a book could move me to near sobs long before the end (and I haven't even finished it yet!)
The book is called "Oogy, the dog only a family could love." When he was just a puppy, Oogy was living in a hell on earth. He was tied to a stake and used as bait for pit bulls in a dogfighting ring. He'd been thrown in a cage and left to die. The police raided the facility and Oogy was brought to an animal hospital, and they saved him.
He really should not have lived, but he did. It was the description of his injuries that got to me first:
His head and neck were caked with iodine brown dried blood. His features were horrifically damaged. There were multiple infected puncture wounds on the right side of his face and skull. The left side of his face and forehead were gone. What had been that side of his face from just back of his muzzle to behind where his ear used to be, was now yellow green pus, oozing blood, and fully infected. All that remained of his left ear was a jagged stump. The tissue surrounding the yawning cavity where the left side of the pup's face had been was dead and blackened; the rotted flesh smelled like meat that had been left out in the sun for days. The blood vessels on that side of his forehead had been torn apart. And yet, incredibly, although he had to have been in tremendous pain, he gave no indication of it.
Based on the conditions he observed and the extent of ruin and infection he found, Dr. Bianco estimated that the dog had been lying untreated and unattended for five to seven days. He did not want to contemplate what the pup had endured during that period.
After description of the surgical procedures which had to be done, he writes...
Dr. Bianco was in awe of the power of the beast that had inflicted the wounds with which he had had to contend. The dog that had grabbed this pup had a bite forceful enough not to just fracture, but to break off a piece of his jaw.....The fighting dog would have grabbed the pup, which would have been howling and bawling and squealing in pain, and shaken him like a rag, slamming him into the floor, slamming him into the side of the cage had they been in a box. It was nothing short of a miracle, given the pup's malnourished state, that he had survived the attack at all.
Oogy was adopted by a family with twin boys and the start of the book is just beautiful as the author, Larry Levin, describes a typical day in their house, which shows that Oogy lives life as a beloved pet who incredibly seems to hold no grudge against human beings who were the cause of his torture.
How can people be so cruel to animals? Who would leave six beautiful puppies in a box in front of the post office. I suppose I should give them credit for putting them where someone would see them, but still...
What did someone do to Polly to make her so distrustful of (almost) all human beings? This lovely, loving little girl who is her own worst enemy because she can't bring herself to trust human beings.
Or the people who gave up on Shiloh when he was hit by a car and broke his leg. They just tossed him away, essentially, giving him to Ashley because they didn't want the responsibility of caring for him.
I think of all the fosters we've had over the years who were afraid of people's hands. That's learned behavior. They become afraid because hands have hurt them. Many times.
I think back to dear little Scab, Paul and Audra's kitten who had been set on fire before he was taken to the UCD Vet Clinic. I think of Paul's amazement that Scab would trust him, but trust him he did, and loved Paul so much that he actively grieved after Paul died.I like to think human beings are, by and large, good, but people who inflict such hurt on animals are not good people and I hope that they get their comeuppance in the after life.