I met and fell instantly in love with a little black French Bulldog with the thinnest white stripe down the center of her forehead, and a white patch on her chest. Her name was Snookie.
The first time I met Snookie the owner was telling me that the dog was about four months old, she had her for about a month, Snookie was not yet house trained, had spent the first three months outside somewhere (not in a house or an apartment), and she was her ex-boyfriend's family's dog. Apparently they couldn't keep it because there is a three dog per household limit in Innisfil.
To my horror this woman who had not yet learned how to house train Snookie was prepared to hand the dog back to its original owners for breeding. She was saying they would just breed her once. Then she would get Snookie back, with one of the pups and live happily ever after.
By the end of the first conversation my advice was a) get the dog a harness instead of the collar that it was wearing (I have an English bully. Plus, I recently said a heartbreaking good bye to my 15 year old pug Frankie, So I know the problem these dogs already have with breathing. Wearing a collar further restricts their airways.). b) buy a training leash that she can commit to wearing 24-7 until the dog was properly house trained. & c) I also suggested that possession is 9/10 of the law. Her boyfriend had left the dog in her possession when he left her. The family back in Innisfil was obviously incapable of taking the dog back without being in violation of city ordinances.
The second time I met Snookie was in a very crowded elevator. You see, there was a three alarm fire in my building that had caused severe damage to two of the three elevators. Snookie was, at the most, two feet away from a very yappy, very scruffy, Kleenex box style dog. (That other dog is still in desperate need of both some obedience training and a spa day. Just sayin'.)
To make a long story short the mouthy dog wasn't being corrected. I couldn't punish the bad dog. So I rewarded the good one. I picked up Snookie. Snookie's owner didn't even flinch.
Let me tell you, if Snookie was mine, NO ONE would ever be able to just randomly pick her up. As a matter of fact, in a crowded space like that elevator I would have already had her in my arms so she wouldn't get trampled on, or, bit by the uncontrollable mangy beast two feet away.
Snookie was quite happy to have me pick her up. The feeling was mutual. So much so that once I set her down outside the elevator after all the other people had departed I decided to keep them company on their walk. We made it as far as the front lawn of the building. Snookie kept trying to climb up on me the whole time the owner and I are discussing the useless excuse for an ex-boyfriend. In addition, she discussed how she was pIanning a party for all her single friends. I zoned out. I only cared about conversation relevant to Snookie.
During this time however, I noticed that Snookie didn't acknowledge her owner. My English Bulldog, Daisy, will let other people pet her, but she always looks to me for permission first. Then she comes around for additional affirmation afterwards. Snookie didn't give a poop, literally or figuratively, about her current owner's existence.
The conversation still revolved around her returning the dog to her ex boyfriend's family, and me trying to convince her not to. Here I am repeating that possession is 9/10 of the law. I just didn't want to see Snookie returned to a place that seems more like a puppy mill than anything else. Honestly, who in their right mind seriously considers breeding a four month old puppy?
After that conversation I realized I cared about Snookie and what happens to her.
The third, and final conversation, I had with Snookie's owner was on my way home from a shoot at the Gardiner Museum last week. I am as subtle as a tonne of bricks when I want something. So I just came right out with it. "I want your dog." She insisted she's giving Snookie back to her ex boyfriend's family. Now she is saying that they were going to breed Snookie then return her after the owner recovers from her surgery some time in March. I'm like SMH and WTF. I had already been informed, by a vet, that responsible breeders shouldn't even think about breeding until the dog is at least 18 months old.
Then she goes on to say that she is already separating herself from the dog. It's not Snookie to her. It's "the dog" or "the ex-boyfriend's dog." The final bomb was when she told me she planned to return Snookie the upcoming - as in this past - weekend. I was floored. My mind went into overdrive calculating how much money I could free up in an instant. I told her I would give her five bills. (As in five hundred bucks.)
She responded with "I'm not giving it away." My mind was racing. I know she didn't have to pay for Snookie. Remember her ex-boyfriends family couldn't keep her due to by-law infractions. Technically, this was a free dog for her. Her boyfriend had moved out leaving the dog behind. Plus, she wasn't successful with the house training. So how likely was it they would want Snookie back?
Then she says that she's allergic to Snookie. That if she ever gets another dog it'll have to be one that doesn't shed. I think her bleached platinum blonde bowl cut represents more, or should I say less, in the intelligence department.
Once again, we end up in the same elevator together. Desperation is seeping out of my every pore. This time, as I am backing out, I'm offering her a thousand.dollars, and clearly stating that I would not breed Snookie. She lowered her head. No response. I gave her my apartment number, insisting if she would like to discuss it, to just stop by.
I never heard from Snookie's owner.
Maybe that dog at The Music of Queen - A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular last week could sense that I had tried to intervene on another dogs behalf.
Honestly, I don't care if you agree with my reasoning or my methods. My intentions were honourable. As of the last time I saw Snookie she was full of life. My fear is that they, the ex-boyfriend's family, will extinguish that glow in less time than it would take to listen to Queen's You Are My Best Friend.