Failing to help…feeling guilty…what would you do?

Thursday had to be one of the most incredibly frustrating days of my life.

Driving to my in-laws’ house to drop my baby boy off, I noticed a dog roaming down their street.  I opened my door and right away knew this wasn’t a pet that had recently escaped…this poor girl had been living on her own for some time.  She looked hungry, dehydrated, and dirty.  She was desperate for help, but obviously extremely fearful.

She was a pit bull.

Having my 4 month old son with me and being on my way to make my daily dog walkin’ rounds, I wasn’t really sure what to do.   Not only did this gal have no collar or tags…she wouldn’t let me get anywhere near her.  (And regardless of breed – it’s never good to force yourself on an unknown dog.)  I left some water for her and politely asked her to hang around until I could figure out what to do.  I worried about her my whole day.

A few hours later, I cruised the neighborhood before picking up my son.  I was hoping to find her roaming around (but praying she had found her way home).  Eventually giving up, I drove to my in-laws’….only to find the sweet girl laying in the shade of their front porch.  She got up and gave me a tiny tail wag when she saw me.  I had come prepared with water AND food this time, but despite being STARVING, would only approach either if I backed up a few feet.

I decided I HAD to do something.  I asked my in-laws to keep an eye on her and drove my kiddo home to begin the quest of finding someone to help.

I had no idea just how hard this would be.

The hours that followed were filled with emails, calls, tears, and lots of Googling.  All pit bull rescues/independently run shelters in Houston (the 4th largest city in the country, mind you) very clearly stated they weren’t accepting dogs as they were filled to capacity.  The ASPCA would take her for a fee (no problem) but I would have to bring her in (BIG problem.)

City animal control would come and pick her up, get her into a vet, and (assuming there were no major medical/behavioral  issues) get her healthy and up on their website for adoption.   The words “animal control” scared me, and they definitely gave me no guarantee that she would not be euthanized….but at this point, it sounded like the best shot.  I spent an hour wondering if I was actually prepared to send her somewhere that didn’t guarantee her survival.  Finally, I decided this was my only real option.  I called…oh,wait…they won’t come to that neighborhood.  (While in the city of Houston it was not in the city limit’s??)

They referred me to the county shelter.  Sounded like the same thing as the city animal control…until I inquired how I could get updates on this specific dog status.  (I was hoping I could help get this dog adopted or at least bring her to the attention of pit bull rescues once she was officially in “the system.”)  I was then notified that she would be held for 3 days to wait for her owner to claim her and then she would be euthanized.  They did not keep ANY pit bulls.  It was their “policy”.

After another round of tears (and a very compassionate woman on the other end of the phone), I was able to get the whole report canceled.  All that point, there was only one thing I could do.


So I went to bed that night wondering where she was.  Wondering if there was anything else I could possibly do (and realizing that there probably was).  Feeling guilty that I did nothing for her…

9 thoughts on “Failing to help…feeling guilty…what would you do?

  1. I would keep bringing food and water for her and develop a relationship with her over time. She will begin to trust you. She’s wasn’t waiting outside your in-laws house by accident, she could scent you there. Build a relationship. And don’t be afraid of pitbulls. Don’t judge a dog by its breed’s reputation. She needs help and you need peace of mind. The rest will unfold as it should *cyber hug*

  2. I had a situation with an older lab once at the public park who was obviously a pet (collar, clean coat). I’m in Phx and it was only 113F that day (obvious sarcasm) and the poor guy was obvious lost, but stuck in the city park. Thirsty past the point of drinking, was drooling, etc. I tried to give water but he denied.
    He kept trying to follow me and my Chihuahua but I couldn’t take him home (rental, one dog limit) and the city wouldn’t come. I hated to just leave him there and have often wondered what happened.
    At least I know I’m not the only softie out there. Thanks for your honest post!

  3. It is that way with every stray dog in my community. That is why we have taken in and cared for so many dogs, cats and other animals over the years. I am so sorry you could not get help for that sweet girl. If you keep seeing her maybe you can keep giving her food and water and at least keep her from starving until maybe help comes her way. Bless you for doing what you did for her. I hope this all turns out with a happy ending for both her and you. Big hugs!!!

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