Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's HonorI am a sucker for my pups. My husband and I picked them up when we were in the Army. We saved them from kill shelters when they had only hours left to live. They were my first babies, and I treat them like my children. They are family.
Dogs are the best for depression -- like the kind that sets in when a husband deploys on a dangerous mission, leaving his wife and baby in -50-degree Fairbanks, Alaska, with few friends and no family.
They absorb depression and tears and give back only adoration and kisses. When we had to let go of one pup suffering from cancer last year, it killed me.
So I can imagine how devastating it would be to meet a furry family member in war-torn Afghanistan. Then to have that same pup save my buddies and me from a suicide bomber. Then to move hell and high water to have that hero pup come home to me and my family ... all for naught.
Last weekend a pup named Target did not survive the weekend at an Arizona animal shelter after a shelter employee (now on administrative leave) failed to follow the rules.
Target had a rough life. She was so named because Afghan soldiers would shoot at her for target practice. She was shot in the leg, deliberately run over, and attacked by wild dogs, but American soldiers adopted her and cared for her in war-torn Afghanistan -- and in return she protected them with her life. Target attacked a suicide bomber and survived the detonation of the bomb (no soldiers lost their lives). She was lauded a hero on Oprah. Yet Target lasted only a short time here in the United States.
Target escaped through an open gate in her backyard and ended up spending the night in an animal shelter. She was, by all accounts, well-behaved and healthy. The sad part: She was euthanized before her family could pick her up.
Yes, she escaped from her yard. No, she wasn't wearing a collar -- nor was she micro-chipped. However, her owner enlisted a local news station and the Internet to find his dog. He discovered Target had been picked up by the pound on a Friday evening, and assuming the shelter was closed, he waited until Monday morning to call. Less than 72 hours after his dog went missing -- it was too late!
Understandably, the owner, Sgt. Terry Young and his family -- including his three children -- are devastated.
Kill-shelters make me sick! I wonder if such a healthy, beloved dog could be put down so thoughtlessly, how many other dogs have died needlessly in kill shelters?