Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dog Days

Tomorrow is January 20th, and while most people may recognize the date as the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, I recognize it as the two-year anniversary of my break up with my last girlfriend. Yes, that’s right, my ex and I honored Obama’s message of "hope and change" by agreeing to play with other peoples’ genitals. Despite a few tumultuous months following the break up where it wasn't uncommon for me to have a good cry here and there, I felt content with the decision, believing it was the right one and that everything in my life was fine. Eventually the tears dried up and the earth kept spinning. But after the events of the past week, I’ve realized that everything was not fine, and hadn't been for a long time.

Driving home from work Friday night I saw a flash of white and tan bolt across a busy Burbank Blvd. Brake lights brightened and tires squeaked as the crowded road came to a standstill. As I leaned forward, I was able to get a better look at the tiny traffic stopper: a collarless Chihuahua still running aimlessly in the middle of the street. Despite my passion for Taco Bell, I’m not really a fan of Chihuahuas. They’re typically not cute, they’re too tiny to hold and play with, and in the Paris Hilton influenced world we live in, they remind me of an accessory more than a pet. That said, with the frenzied dog whipping back and forth across the street, narrowly dodging cars along the way, I decided I should do something to help.

I pulled my car over, got out, and went after the dog. As I tried to cross the busy street I heard two tragic squeals, one from a tire and one from the dog. I made my way to the other side of the boulevard and found the shivering Chihuahua curled up underneath a parked car. I eventually got her to come out and realized her back left leg was dangling limply. After waiting around for 15 minutes, petting the dog to keep her calm and hoping the owner would show up, I decided to take her to the nearest animal shelter in Van Nuys.

...and free health care.
Every day since Friday I have been calling to check on the dog. No one had claimed her. No one had put signs up in the area where I found her. No one had posted a “lost” add on craigslist. Yesterday the clinic finally got around to doing X-rays and discovered the dog’s leg was indeed broken. With this knowledge I headed down to the shelter this morning with the intention of adopting her. I had called around to a few different veterinarians and got estimates on repairing a broken leg: if it only needed a splint the total costs would add up to about $500, but if the dog needed surgery, it could be in the thousands. At the clinic I was briefed by the on site vet who heartbreakingly informed me that the dog would most likely need the more serious, more expensive option of surgery.

As much as I wanted to help my new friend out, financially it just wasn’t feasible. My mom had come to the clinic to meet me and we took copies of the X-Rays and medical reports, hoping to take them to another doctor for a 2nd opinion. But with the knowledge that I most likely wouldn’t be able to adopt the dog, and knowing she would be sitting in a small cage for weeks, if not months, with an undertreated broken leg (if they kept her alive at all), I just began to cry. It had been a while.

Adopted animals love you more.
This is not a happy story. Not just for the injured Chihuahua, but also for the hundreds of other dogs I saw at the shelter looking for a home. My mom and I looked at others and I am considering adopting a different dog that wouldn’t require as much initial cost and needs a home just as bad as the Chihuahua that I found. But making eye contact with the other dogs and starting to fall in love with them too, I felt like a guy trying to get laid at his wife’s funeral. The phrase “too soon” had never been more appropriate. So I plan to wait on the 2nd opinion before deciding what to do.

This is what happens if you don't
spay and neuter your pets.
This also doesn’t feel like a happy story for me. Though, hopefully, in the end, it is. In the two years since my break up, I have been selfish, self-serving, and unwilling and/or unable to allow myself to care for anyone or anything else. In hindsight I fear I was even like that during my relationship and that’s why it didn’t work out. Sometimes when you’re in a situation it’s hard to step back and see how things truly are, especially when dealing with emotions. But with this Chihuahua, this little tan and white blur that flashed across the street for an instant but feels like she will stay in my mind forever, I have been able to step back and see the person I had become. And now, even though I can’t fix her, she may be able to fix me.

While our country is still working on that whole "hope and change" thing, 2 years later, I’ve finally started to achieve it for myself.  

You never know where hope will come from...


  1. todd! this made me cry! you're growing up!! i hope things work out with this little girl for you...

  2. Awwww Todd! So cute! This is my favorite blog of yours.