He said: Mom, she seems really depressed.
Mom said: That’s too bad.
He said: Yeah. Whoever adopted her two days ago brought her back.
Mom said: How come?
He said: She got nailed by their cat and she retaliated.
Mom said: What’s that mean?
He said: I’m not sure, but they decided to bring her back.
Mom said: That’s gotta be confusing for her. How long has she been at Lollypop?
He said: A long time. Two or three months ….?
Mom said: Maybe I can stop out and see her tomorrow.
And, that was the beginning of a conversation that I had with my son yesterday right before he ended his weekly dog walking shift out at Lollypop Farm. He’s been a volunteer dog walker almost five months.
He’s been talking about THIS particular dog for a while now. Her name is “Chickpea.”
She’s a nine month old, three-legged Pit Bull Terrier. A street stray that was admitted to Lollypop with an injured back leg. The staff made the decision to remove one of her back legs when it became apparent that they couldn’t save it.
According to my son, she doesn’t seem to miss it.
You can find Chickpea on Lollypop’s web site. Look for a side view of a blocky white head. What you won’t be able to see is the black patch near the base of her tail.
In the time that she’s been at the shelter, she’s become a “staff favorite.” At nine months, I’ll bet there’s still a lot of puppy in her. My son says that she likes to play a LOT; that she’s got big puppy eyes.
“She’s a submissive female, Mom,” he said.
My son’s pretty good at figuring dogs out. He was only four years old when our family adopted our first ex-racing greyhound; A. grew up around lots of dogs passing through our house on their way to permanent homes.
I dragged that kid off to obedience classes with me where he got to watch lots of different dogs and their owners figure out life at both ends of the leash.
And, it was my idea that he think about volunteering at Lollypop. Because he’s good with dogs. Because it’s good to give back to the community doing something you’re good at. And, because you learn things about yourself.
And, you get to hang out with dogs!
I’m not worried about Chickpea’s retaliating when she got too close to that cat. Cats are pretty fussy about being introduced to new things – and a new dog in the house? Any dog, not just a pit bull terrier? If you don’t know what you’re doing in the introductory stages with cats and dogs, things can get a bit out-of-hand.
We’re not really at a point where we can add a fourth dog to our family. At least, not from a practical sense. The three that we have now are “collectively” a lot of dog.
“But we’re dog knowledgeable, Mom.”
Yep. That’s my kid.
We’d know how to acclimate Chickpea into our house. How to help her adjust and settle in as part of our family. She’d have a great life with us.
But. Maybe we can help her find that great life with another family. Maybe, by my going out to see her, she will become as real to me as she is to my son. And, by doing that, I might be able to better get the word out to people that I know.
People who are dog lovers who know other dog lovers who can help us to talk about Chickpea. Isn’t this how it works? You step back from the horrifying statistics about the millions of dogs and cats across the country that end up in animal shelters and you focus on just one.
Just one dog that you can help. Maybe that’s what we can do for just this one.