Results from Week 3 of the stray pet conudrum

December 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

OK – so “a week or so” became three. I blame (in no particular order):

a)      the holidays

b)      global warming *or* El Nino (tie)

c)      Rush Limbaugh

d)     the merlot

Actually, I take full responsibility and apologize for the delay.  I know that many of you were prolly all a-twitter, waiting for the next installment and putting off important things like holiday shopping, breathing and kidney transplants.

Well, as they used to say on ER; call UNOS and alert the transplant team! It’s time to see how folks voted last week.

Remember – we had the stray, who we have affectionately dubbed Twinkletoes, in the hands of our capable, affable and all around laughable Dr. Mantooth Codpiece after the dog sustained injuries from being HBC (hit by car, in ER parlance), which is not nearly as bad a being HBW (hit by wombat – invariably fatal) or BEBZ (brain eaten by zombies).

She has a femur fracture and a few other bumps and bruises and we are trying to balance the humane and the financial as we slog ahead and ponder our next steps.

NOTE to tiny and loyal readers: Most of you didn’t go for the options I posted — the runaway leader was option D: something other than else. I will post the fourth and final installment next week with the resolution of the case, and you guys can have at me with any response you like while I brush up on my option-generating skills.

I learned that, at least among my readers, we have a group people who would actually take action and jump in — giving of themselves and stirring others to do likewise. Apathy did not win this week, and there is still some hope for humanity. I may be extrapolating just the tiniest bit, but I am pretty sure the world can be saved now.

Here’s the breakdown of how folks responded:

Option A: Continue the current course –  Nobody.

The folks who responded said this was pointless and cruel, as Twinkletoes would just linger in limbo with a busted flipper.  While I agree with the sentiment, this is often what really happens –  the dog sits there, getting possibly inadequate pain control while we hope someone will show up and take financial responsibility for the medical care and pay the bill.  Many on the caregiver side are either too busy or too burned out to look for alternatives.

Option B: Fix the darn leg –  4

Many of you joined this option with some form of fund-raising or appeal to rescue organizations, which shows spirit and a spark of humanity.  If anything gets people out of a burnout slump, it is people taking acting and doing something.  I am pleased that so many folks said they would contact rescues and network to get the leg fixed and paid for –  even if it is just for cost.  Obviously, this takes some finagling on the part of Dr. Codpiece, as his avaricious partner at Blood & Guts, Dr. Chaleco Salvavidas, is always watching the bottom line and might not take too kindly to too much pro-bono work.

Option C: Euthanasia –  Nobody.

I think this was a realistic level of response for this one. While I have had to euthanize strays, they usually have far worse injuries than “just” a busted femur.  You have to make sure that you are not performing convenience euthanasia and will be able to justify your actions to the owners if and when they show up –  and in some cases, the media, too.  I think that all avenues should be exhausted before this irrevocable action is taken, and the injuries have to be severe enough that the animal faces a pretty grim future.

Option D: Something else

OK –  we hit paydirt with this one. You guys threw out everything from networking to bake sales! There’s a whole lot of grass-roots inventiveness out there if you know where to look for it –  and I think that is the antidote to laziness, burnout and plain old, garden-variety greed that comes into play in these sorts of situations. If there is no one looking out for poor Twinkletoes, her future could be pretty grim –  one vet, with a monocled boss looking over his shoulder, may not be able to juggle it all and may end up throwing in the towel.  But if people (staff, good Samaritans, recues) all work together to raise awareness and keep some pressure on, then something might just happen — something good.

I am very pleased that you all were hopeful and showed the initiative to help our little stray out.  I think all this positive energy could very well be translated into a network of concerned pet-lovers, rescue organizations and veterinarians to effect real change.  When I have been in this situation, I can tell you that the pressure and the moral issues can become overwhelming. When I have worked in conjunction with kind bosses and energetic and resourceful rescue organizations and individuals, I have felt like I am actually helping out instead of prolonging suffering.

If only this level of inventiveness and cooperation could be applied to the whole stray and pet overpopulation problem, we could all actually start fixing things.

Thanks to all of you who responded with thoughtful, inventive and caring responses.  I will post the fourth and final week of Twinkletoes’ journey after the holidays.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and safe holiday season! See you in 2010!…

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Mommy Marty and the lamb Dusty The Poodle Mixed Dog

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