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Monday, December 27, 2010

"Stupid is as stupid does..."

Meet Matthew. 

Matthew is a cute 3 year old cocker spaniel that is pampered and loved. 

Matthew has a loving home.  

Matthew sits on his Dad's warm lap while they watch tv or take a nap.  

Matthew has neckerchiefs for all occasions. 

Matthew has squeaky toys and chew bones to his heart's content.  He is well fed, has a round belly, and recognizes the jingle that the kibble makes as it hits his bowl each morning and evening.  His family adores him. Matthew is lacking nothing, and knows the love of a true family. 

But it was not always like this for Matthew. 

Matthew is a rescued dog. 

Matthew was once very skinny.

Matthew was once in need of a bath and a grooming...

Matthew had burn wounds on his neck caused by the improper use of an electric shock collar.

Matthew's name is as special as he is.  He was named after a man.

On a day that began like any other, Matthew the man drove to work.  As he drove down the highway, he noticed a box sitting in the middle of the road.  It seemed odd, but he continued on his way to work, and didn't think twice about it throughout his day.  If the box fell out of someone's truck bed, they will probably come back looking for it.  Hundreds of other cars drove up and down that highway during the next eight hours during Matthew's shift. 

They all let the box sit.  

Matthew the man finished his shift that evening and got into his car ready for the usual and predictable drive home.  This day was not going to end like most for Matthew the man. Nor would it end in the usual way for Matthew the dog.

Matthew the man drove down the same highway eager to get home.  Again, in the middle of the road, only slightly displaced from the spot where he saw it that morning was the same box.  At first, he did not want to stop, his dinner was waiting, and so was his warm bed... but his curiosity got the best of him.  He stopped his car along the side of the highway and got out.  When traffic was clear, he walked up to the box.  

There was writing on the box, but this was not the time to stop and read it.  He dragged the box to the side of the road to a safe spot next to his car with the flashers blinking.  He was startled by the fact that the object inside the box seemed to move about on it's own in response to his movements. 

As Matthew focused on the box, he read the following words beneath scribbling,

"This is a varry stupid dog and verry dirty".

Inside this box...

Was a dog. 

A dog that was chewing on the flap inside the box trying to make his way out, not realizing that escaping the box would likely mean sudden death on a highway.

The tape was removed, and the dog Matthew could see inside the box was still alive.  Shocked, the dog's new caretaker took the dog and the box to Hardin Eldora Animal Rescue Team, aka HEART Rescue.  They had no room for another dog, there were no foster homes waiting for another foster dog, they had no funds for another dog, but Heart could not turn him away. 

HEART took him in and a foster home came forward after reading the story.  The dog was named after the man who dared to stop his car.  At the end of that one day, Matthew the man had saved a life, and Matthew the dog was given a new life.

It was discovered that Matthew the dog had a microchip, but it had never been registered by his owner.   Tracing the microchip led to a veterinary clinic in Indiana who sold the chip to a local breeder.  This breeder used a dog sales broker from Florida to sell the dog to someone and that is likely how he ended up in Iowa.  None of this information would help to find the owners of this dog.  HEART Rescue ran an advertisement in the newspaper hoping a family might be missing this dog, and would come forward to claim him.  No one did.

HEART immediately cared for Matthew's veterinary needs which included burns under his neck caused by the improper use of an electric shock collar.  Matthew struggled with fear issues, that he is overcoming slowly with his new adopted family. His fear was predominantly of males, and Matthew's willingness to sit on his new Dad's lap is a HUGE sign of progress.

I cannot help but wonder if Matthew was always in the care of the awful people who shocked him, neglected to feed him, and stuffed him in a box and left him on the highway for dead?  Did these people wait and watch after placing the box on the highway, hoping to see the impact caused by the box and an unsuspecting driver so they could laugh at his death?

Was he stolen from the yard of the family who first purchased him, a family that cared yet neglected to register his microchip?  Do the original people that purchased Matthew from a pet store or from an internet puppy sale website, really care about him and wonder where he is now? 

Was he given by the people who first bought him, to one person, who then gave him to another, and thus worked his way down the "Free to Good Home" chain until he was in the hands of these heartless cruel people? 

We will never know.

Matthew cannot tell us.

But the words on that box tell me a great deal more about the people who wrote them, than they do about the dog inside the box.

A person who shocks a dog without training him is stupid.  A person who has a dog in their care and neglects to feed that dog is stupid.  A person who calls a dog dirty without giving it a bath is stupid.  A person who heartlessly shoves a dog in a box and leaves it on a highway to die in a cruel and inhumane manner is VARRY stupid. 

Matthew is not stupid.  A dog who does not respond to an owner who has not trained him is not stupid.  A dog who does not perform tricks when repeatedly shocked with a shock collar is not stupid.  A dog who was still willing to love the very people who performed these cruel acts is not stupid.

He is a dog with the gift of unconditional love.  A gift that it seems so few people have, and yet animals have it in abundance.  Matthew holds no grudges.  Matthew does not bite.  Matthew lives only to please.  Matthew is not angry about the past.  Matthew is happy living in the present.

We should all be that stupid.

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Anonymous said...

Okay, so when I read the title of this blog, I thought it would be about stupid pet owners who let their dog get loose in the middle of the night and drag their cable all over town only to be rescued by the newest employee of the town's vet clinic. I was very happy to read a different story, though heartbreaking at first, I am so glad he found owners who were worthy of him. I hope someday we're worthy of our dog...LOL

ameow2002 said...

Thank you Lisa for writing Matthew's story! Another educational blog about why we need to be so very careful where these helpless creatures end up. We truly do love each and every rescue who comes through our doors but he indeed was a special dog who touched my heart and it was a real joy to watch him blossom a little at a time and learn that not all people are bad. He is adored in his forever home in MN and will never have to worry again. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger who cared enough to take a few minutes out of his busy day to do the right thing.

Tammy Hartwig said...

Lisa ~
About all I have to say regarding this blog is that sadly, there are FER too many stupid people out there! As a foster home myself, we see it everyday! However, it is men like Mathew that does restore my hope for humanity!

ExtraOrdinary Us said...

As I am sitting here in tears, I am soooo happy that this story has such a great ending! While it is horrible what those people did to poor Matthew, it is so amazing what Matthew (the man) did, just by stopping to look at a box. What a great story!

James Wu said...

I hope someday someone puts the person who did this to Michael in a sealed box and leaves the box on a highway with the message:
"This is a varry stupid person who did a verry bad thing to a good dog."

Robin Smith-lutz said...

Sadly, the world is full of stupid people who abuse and neglect dogs...but there are some of us who are there for those dogs. God Bless you for your kind assistance to them.

Maggie Hess said...

You can't fix stupid!