I should’ve brought Tommy to the nearest animal shelter after I picked him up at Beverly and Rampart, but all I knew about shelters at that time was that countless dogs, particularly pit bulls, were put to death, and I didn’t want to see that happen to him. But I wasn’t in a position to keep him so I had to do something.
The Lacey Street shelter was closed the day he woke up in my bed, so after walking him around the Franklin Hills, I brought him to my vet to board him. I returned the next day to take him to the shelter.
A cacophony of barking dogs, out of sight behind cement walls, greeted me as I stepped out of the car. Tommy was on high alert.
Inside I loitered around the reception area while a couple signed papers and talked to a shelter worker at the front desk. A few other people sat waiting. I walked down the hallway and checked out the bulletin board crowded with cards and flyers of lost dogs. I hung a FOUND DOG flyer with Tommy's picture.
Cages filled with cats were stacked along one wall. I didn’t see any dogs though they made their presence known. The barking was relentless. Tommy’s agitation grew so I stepped outside with him.
A woman led a medium-sized dog past us, exacerbating Tommy's excitement. He barked and whined and bucked up just as a shelter employee, a man in a navy blue jumpsuit, walked by. With a nod of his chin he said, “He’s aggressive, huh?”
I knelt down to calm Tommy. “No, he’s just excited.”
I told him I wanted to place first adoption rights on Tommy but I wasn't sure how it worked.
"So I leave him for 5 days and if no one has claimed him, I can take him home?"
The guy shook his head. "No guarantees," he said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"But if I have first adoption rights and come back after 5 days..."
"You know how many pit bulls get put down here every day? No guarantee he’ll still be here when you come back."
I was horrified.
He shook his head. "If you want to save this dog, don't leave him here..."
And with that he sauntered through the glass doors into the shelter leaving Tommy's fate in my hands.
I walked to the car and drove back to the vet.