The four are litter mates, and 9 years old. They came to the pound by no fault of their own; their human mom died a month ago, and her husband is in the hospital now. We understand he is not expected to live either.
The pups arrived at Angels of Assisi on Friday, covered in fleas and with embedded toenails. The pound staff had done their best to trim the nails that were not embedded, but unable to do anything with the toenails that needed medical intervention.
Upon arrival, we opened the doors to their traveling crates, one by one. Each dog stepped out hesitantly, but trusting. And they stole our hearts as we picked them up for the first time; although blind and scared, they each turned towards our voices and offered a kiss.
We did our best to assure them that every little thing was going to be OK, but for now they would have to settle for a new bed and a promise to find a new home. These are the best kind of dogs- the ones who have lost it all, and are grateful for anything. Our hearts melted a little more.
Along with new beds, flea medicine, and antibiotics, we mentally put a little circle of protection around them.
Yesterday, we found out there was a 5th dog from the same house. He was a black lab mix, and very sweet, a "big brother" to the 4 little ones who could not see. Apparently he had hair loss and was thin, maybe because his owners had been so ill and could not take care of him properly.
Another immediate call was placed to the Roanoke pound- we would take him. A staff member confirmed that he had indeed come in with the 4 little ones. He had been put in isolation, and she placed us on hold to go check on him. When she came back to the phone, her voice was shaking as she told us he had been killed. She was so sorry.
Why? Why had they not told us about the 5th dog? Maybe not a litter mate of the 4 little ones, but a big brother nonetheless? He could have been transferred with his family and been safe. Instead he died at the pound, separated from everything he had ever known in the world to be his. Why had not one person stepped up to protect him?
Here's why. There was no mention of him because he was killed on November 16th, the exact same day he arrived.
The "very very sweet dog who had some hair loss probably due to fleas and poor diet while his owners were sick and the neighbors were taking care of the dogs. He was really special to be so kind to the little ones who had such limited or no vision" was killed on the same day he was turned in.
With the loss of their human owners, the little family of seven is down to four. Despite everything, the remaining ones continue to trust and love, and we need someone to step in and be the big brother they lost. We can't bring him back, but we can and will ask the leadership of the pound how this happened. And we can certainly protect the little ones in his honor.
Rest in peace, buddy. The much needed change in Roanoke did not come soon enough for you.
God is closest to those with broken hearts.