Meet Kitty La Rue:
Kitty La Rue was one of our puppy mill rescue dogs. She was quite timid due to her lack of socialization. She had to be completely shaved down because her fur was matted, and urine stained. The hair on puppy mill dogs retains the odor of urine and feces even after multiple baths. This is the same odor they breathe into their lungs, day in and day out for a lifetime. Shaving them down provides the most relief for the dog, and the caretaker.
Kitty LaRue was adopted by a family in April. We received this touching update from her new Mom within a week of her adoption,
"I took Kitty to the Vet Saturday for a wellness exam and suture removal. Here is a copy of the vet record of that visit to comply with the adoption guidelines.
Kitty is doing very well and has adjusted to all of our family members. She is over coming her shyness and will allow you to approach her from a standing position. She is starting to obey the come and stay command and readily obeys the outside command. She has done very well with house training and hasn't had any accidents in 4 days. She enjoys the outside backyard and gets along well with the three cats. She is enjoying chewing things up thus I think she has been making the transition to becoming a real dog!"
After a few short months, in mid-July, we were excited to see another email in our inbox from Kitty's new family. But the contents were not what we were expecting. It read,
"On Monday morning Kitty LaRue had gone missing with what appears to be that she was stolen. Our fenced in back yard had a wooden plank removed with evidence of tampering. I have contacted our local vets and if she does not return by tomorrow will be contacting the local police. I did not know it until now but our local county has had a rash of stolen pets. I am contacting you in the event that her chip is scanned and for some reason or another your shelter is contacted.
We are sick about this as Kitty LaRue had made such great progess in trusting us and had become one of our family."
We began Facebook groups, and shared emails with other local rescues. We notified police, shelters, veterinarians, the microchip company, the neighbors. Signs were made and posted.
But the fact is, there was a rash of curious dog disappearances in that part of Iowa during those months.
Here are a few links to different stories that covered the topic of dog thefts during this time in Iowa:
We still have no news on Kitty LaRue. I hate to think of what her life could be. I dare to hope that perhaps it wasn't a theft, and that she has become someone else's beloved pet. If she was someone's knew pet, the microchip would certainly be discovered, right? Perhaps it was a few neighborhood kids playing a prank, making an obviously bad choice. But the fear of the unknown still exists. What if she had been brought to a research facility? What if she had been taken to a breeding facility for her body to be used again. She is spayed, so she can no longer produce puppies. What would have become of her when this was discovered? I dread to imagine. I wish I knew. I wish her family knew.
Lucky (read more about Lucky here http://vetrescue.blogspot.com/2009/09/lucky-dog.html ) was a puppy mill dog as well. She first presented to us so severely matted and covered in fleas that we treated her arrival as an emergency. She was immediately examined then sedated for an emergency groom. Her front legs were literally matted together. In the photo below, her ear flaps sit almost straight out from her head due to the large matts that occlude her ear canals. Her eyes were also matted over impairing her vision.
Here are two very different losses of two sweet angels who had little time to enjoy the good life. One dog has a resolute end, a final means of acceptance. While Lucky's family grieves their loss in the usual way, Kitty's fate lies unknown. Thoughts of Kitty linger and haunt the minds of all who knew and loved her, even for a brief time. Both scenarios leave us unsettled, and wanting answers.
We wonder why, after all that both dogs have been through, after finally being rescued, after being truly loved by their new forever families, why do things like this happen?! I sometimes feel sad, and sometimes quite angry.
Thoughts of Kitty and Lucky surround me tonight because I read a similar story in the book The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption . Sweet Jasmine's tale can be read in this revealing book which I highly recommend.