You hear them before you see them. Dogs, mutts of all kinds, that’s what you first notice when you volunteer at BARK. I grab a leash and enter a vast room of cages filled with dogs which jump and whine. I decide to walk a dog in the far right cage. Emmitt’s a cute little thing with a dark chocolate coat and gold around the muzzle and paws. As I bring him outside, he walks with such grace and poise. I plop down next to my brother, on the hill by the forest. Emmett’s cell mate is at the end of my brother’s lead. I rub my new friend’s belly as he licks my face. I smile; I’ve been a dog lover for years. But as this moment of canine bliss occurs, a deadly events unfolds above me. A woman drops her lead. A rusty colored pit bull runs past me into the dense forest where the dog walk ends. I look up, while the woman just stands there calling “Red” again and again. As if the dog will not run around like any dog would. I hand Emmett’s lead to my brother, I run after Red. I find her sniffing a tree, near a boy a bit younger than me. I try to grab Red then all hell breaks loose. Red lunges at the spotted dog the boy is walking; Red has a hold of the spotted one’s muzzle. They’re both on their hind legs, and I’m in the middle of a pit bull fight. I pick up a long, heavy branch and hit the mighty creature. Red doesn’t even flinch. I scream like a child, “There’s a fight!” and continue to hit Red and the spotted creature that is fighting for his life. Other volunteers swarm; the owner hits Red with a bucket. He lets go stunned and the spotted dog is left shaking. I run back to my brother and to Emmett. I hold the dog to my heavy heart, and whisper, “I’m sorry”.
February 3, 2012