Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy and unhappy endings

Dempsey had a surprise visitor tonight. While I was in the garage, cleaning some nose prints off the car window, a big gray dog came trotting down the alley and into our garage to say hello.

Not seeing his person anywhere, I introduced big gray dog to Dempsey and let them play a bit while I called the phone number that was on his dog tag. Within ten minutes, big gray dog was safely at home.

In a remarkable bit of synchronicity, I was reading the paper later tonight when I saw that Target, the dog who saved lives by thwarting a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, had been accidentally euthanized in Arizona.

Animal control had clearly made a tragic mistake, but I have to question why Target didn't have a microchip. Or a license. Or even a $5 dog tag. Or why Target's people had enough time to go on Oprah, but not enough time to take care of her. Or why the organization that had raised the money to bring Target to America didn't follow up and insist on having proper ID for Target. With a simple dog tag, Target could have been safely at home in ten minutes, instead of dead.

Like plane crashes, this tragedy isn't the result of a single person making a mistake. It's a systematic failure. There were lots of people who should have been looking out for Target, who didn't. It's no way to treat a hero.

I feel sad for Target's family, but I really feel sad for Target. Dogs do so much for us, and yet people always seem to find ways to let them down. The only consolation is knowing that Target is going to heaven.

[Disclaimer: These views are solely my own, and not necessarily those of Helping Paws.]


  1. I thought the same thing! I felt so bad for Target. This terrible accident was SO preventable.

  2. Yeah -- the horror of what happened to Target was an accumulation of small things going wrong rather than one huge catastrophe. My only hope is that this tragedy puts those "little" tasks in proper perspective; take care of the little things now, folks, because when the crunch comes it might be too late.
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