Dogs have been attached to our family for as long a I can remember. And we have always believed that once one has decided to acquire a dog as a pet, or any animal for that matter, they should be treated well and taken care of with special kindness.
One day last summer, I arose early to run our dog Misty in our enclosed back yard.. As soon I opened the back door, I noticed a medium-sized brown dog lying down in the middle of a grassy patch. The dog made no effort to move, when she noticed me, but as I came closer, she growled in a low, pained tone. It was obvious that the dog was ill. She was being watched over by another larger tan dog, who was perched on a high wall above the garden. I had hoped to shoo the incapacitated dog away before our dog came into contact with her, but nothing seemed to work. The tan dog disappeared down the railroad tracks, never to be seen again. What to do? I had no previous experience in dealing with this kind of situation.
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. I called the desk clerk at the 104 Precinct, but then realized that this problem was not in their domain of responsibility. I recalled reading somewhere that the ASPCA no longer engaged in animal rescue. After making a series of phone calls, including one to the ever-available office of Councilman Tom Ognibene, I secured the number for the Center for Animal Care and Control which is 718-649-8600. Initially, a recording informed me that the office was closed, so I persisted in my efforts, until finally a human being answered. I was told that it would take some time before their skeletal staff would be able to respond.
We waited for several hours, but worried that the dog would suffer further dehydration with the hot sun beating down on her unprotected body. Finally after Noon, the Animal Rescue van arrived, and the dog was gently lifted from the yard, by an experienced dog-handled and whisked away to the Center. We felt a little sad thinking that most likely the dog would be “put to sleep.”
End of story? Not really. The following day, we received a phone call from a woman in New Jersey thanking us for “saving” her dog, and asking about the “one that got away.” Apparently an ex-boyfriend, who disliked the dogs and wanted to get back at her, took the dogs and released them onto the railroad tracks behind our house. She called several animal rescue units in New Jersey and New York, and was able to track her dog named “Mishu” to the Queen's unit. “Ashley,” the tan dog had disappeared, and she was never able to locate her. Sometimes, I go down to the back fence and call Ashley, Ashley, but so far there has been no sightings…