What a day it was yesterday. I was in the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the delivery of a stash of organic meats from a local farm to start prepping for a dinner we're hosting Saturday evening with some of our new friends. Great food, friends and Zuckfoltzfus beer. What could put you in a better mood? As usual, our dogs Porter and Otis were at my feet - just in case some scraps happened to hit the floor.
A bit about our dogs, since this is all about them ... Porter is about 15 months old. By our best guess, he's a red aussie shepherd. He came to us through Wags Rescue in December 2011, exactly one week after our wedding. Some people get married and have a human baby. We got married and had a dog baby. The day after his adoption, Porter nearly died from parvo virus and a host of other bad bugs living in his belly. He recovered nicely and there hasn't been a day that we've regretted our choice to max out a credit card to save him. He beat being dumped on the side of the road in North Carolina with his litter. He beat the all too common animal gas chambers of the south. And he beat parvo. Through this he remained probably the sweetest most docile little dog ever. Otis came to us through the same rescue shortly after Christmas this year. He's brown and round! We seem to have gotten lucky with this one, too. The boys love the , companionship and are either rolling around together, having eating races or laid out asleep.
Back to that scene yesterday ... so here we are in the kitchen with all this gorgeous chicken and lamb freshly delivered. And there was the deliveryman. Without getting into too much detail, it was perhaps the strangest thing I've seen in many years. And since it was happening in my own kitchen, it was quite surreal. Within a flash of a second, this man had our Porter pinned the kitchen floor, hands on his neck, full weight of his body on top of the 49lb dog. Porter screamed out for help, lost complete bowel control yet still did not bite this man (although he would have been welcome to at that point). The man picked Porter up, opened our back door - and threw him out. Porter stood quivering in the backyard, curled into a protective ball, tail tucked between his legs. He was covered in his own urine and feces.
In my rare stroke of good luck, I was able to be calm with the man. Did I want to gut him like a fish? Oh hell yes. But being able to maintain some calm in an otherwise insane scene, I knew what I had to do was be calm and get him out before he hurt Porter more, or turned on me. Once he left, my job became to first contact Amos and second tend to the dogs - both of whom were terrified. In the midst of the calamity, little Otis had hid under our bed.
In the hours that passed, Amos and I talked through how best to handle what had happened. I made a quick call to one of the business owners. I've done business with these folks before and I liked them. I expected nothing other than a very reasonable response. After that, we waited to hear from the other half of the ownership, and waited, and waited. We watched Porter's demeanor and could clearly see the effects of the assault. He was afraid to even go into his own kitchen. It was clear we needed to contact the police.
A call to the police doesn't always "pack the same" punch (no pun intended) of going Walking Tall on someone. But it was the right thing to do. People who so easily do things like this to an animal are capable of just as easily doing this to a human being. And animal abuse isn't something to glaze by "just because it's an animal." No. Not in this house, and not in yours either we're guessing. Hoping. This guy needs to be prosecuted.
We live in Mount Joy Borough, PA. I'm not sure how big, or maybe I should say how small this place is. It's tiny. Maybe we have two handfuls of police and fortunately our experience with them has been extremely limited. The two officers who arrived are to be commended. (And they keep getting younger and younger). Both with only six months on the job, MJPD is their first police appointment after serving in our military. Mount Joy is exceptionally lucky to have these two fine officers. They were extremely professional, thorough and compassionate. Compassion can be a hard thing to have as a police officer when all you tend to deal with is scum like the man who did this to our dog. (Sarah somehow magically has insight into this herself.) They promised to follow through, file charges and we trust them.
Hopefully what happened yesterday will be an isolated incident. It's an unfortunate part of doing what the Zuckfoltzfus' do: we open our lives to knew people giving them the benefit of the doubt that they'll be friends, customers and supporters. Yesterday we were gravely mistaken. Hopefully our faith in humanity is quickly restored and we'll go back to saying "hey, we've got xyz on tap today and we'd like you to come over and sample it." But for today, we'll be cocooning in the kitchen making lamb stew and chicken cassoulet. And our dogs will be safely by our side waiting for scraps.