A Step in the Right Direction

November 13, 2016

The car’s wheels skid against the dirt until it brought the beast to a stop. I flung the door open and heard the familiar sound of dogs barking. I looked over at Shelley, the person I worked for, “which dog do you want me start with?” I questioned Shelley, ready for my labor to come.

I had been working at Shelley’s kennel for about 4 to 5 months at that time, so I think it’s safe to say that I knew my way around. I knew what dogs Shelley would take care of and which ones I would take care of. For the most part Shelley took care of the dangerous or mean dogs, which made my job a lot easier. For the time that I had been working for Shelley, I learned how to work with animals and more importantly people. Unfortunately, I am the only person who works for Shelley and I, of course, do it voluntarily.  

Shelley who had now just opening her door, pointed towards the outdoor kennel, “Can you walk those dogs down to the line, and then feed them.” I nod my head and move towards the kennels, but as I approach I realize that Buddy was among one of those dogs I had to feed.

I whip around and shouted to Shelley. “Hey Shelley, do you want me to feed Buddy? I asked since I knew he was the one with food aggression.

Buddy was a black lab with brown eyes that seemed to pierce right through you. He has a white strip of fur that hugs this chest. When Buddy was only a puppy, he was locked in a cage 24/7 and was only feed once a day. This led him to have a food aggression, which means if he sees food he bits you to get it. Luckily, he was rescued and he now lives with Shelley.

“No let me handle him with the food, just get him water. He’ll be fine with water.” Shelley answered me as she walked towards her house. I walked back to the kennel and try to open the outer gate. I tug on the gate, but it barely moves. “How could I forget” I think to myself, “it’s the gate that’s broken.” I pull on the gate and it finally swings open. I looked to where the rope leashes were and see a green one, almost like a snake slithering down the fence. I pick it up and start my routine, starting with the left kennels and moving right. That would leave Buddy for last.

A few minutes go by and I finally return with Buddy. I remove his leash and try to exit the kennel he’s in, but he slides out with me. “No Buddy, come here.” I yell to him hopelessly, as I chased after him. I jump in front of him and throw the leash around his neck. Again, I lead him to the kennel and, more carefully this time, I sneak by him without him following me.

“Now it’s time for the hard part,” I think to myself as I strut over to the hose. I turn the cold handle of the hose and fill the metal bucket to the top. I grab the handle and heave the now heavy bucket back to the Buddy’s kennel. I swing the gate open and move the bucket to the hook on the side of the fence. Buddy gets up from the spot he was lying down and moves towards me. My heart started to race I placed the water on its hook. I start to back away and just at that moment Buddy pounces at me like a cat pounces at its new found prey. Everything seems to move in slow motion and I see Buddy’s teeth close around my hand.

Faster than I have ever done anything in my life, I pulled my hand away and shut the gate behind me. I inspected my hand for wounds, but all I saw were the marks where the dog grazed my hand. “I took a step in the right direction,” I thought to myself, “if I didn’t move I would have been his chew toy.”  “Bad dog,” I shout at him as he slams his body against the cage trying to finish his fight. I exit the kennel only to see Shelley running to me.

“Everything okay?” Shelley asked my with a concerned look on her face.

“Ya,” I say, “Buddy just tried to bite me, but I’m fine.”

“Let me see,” Shelley says looking at the dog behind me, then back to me. I hold out my hand and let her inspect it.

“Let me take you home and you can relax,” Shelley says with a frown growing on her face.

“No,” I say almost shouting, “I barely did any work, I’m not just going to quit.”

Then Shelley turned and looked at me, intently, trying to see if I was just joking. To her surprise, I wasn’t, and I really wanted to continue. “Alright, if that’s what you want,” She said skeptically as she shook her head. “Oh, Buddy knocked over his water, can you walk the dogs inside while I situate him.”

“I can get his water,” I said a little shaken, “just I’ll need you there, to be sure.”

Shelley looked at me as if I was a nut job, “Okay, give it a go, just don’t show any fear, dogs can sense that.”

I turned away from Shelley and walk towards Buddy’s cage, not ready to give up.

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