It’s been a trying few weeks in DC’s dog community. There’s a lot of fear over if our dogs are safe in our streets since Parrot’s shooting (and another in-home police shooting of a dog shortly after). There’s anger over what happened. There’s cynicism if anything will be done about it. And of course, there’s sadness over what was done.
A recent posting on Parrot’s memorial blog was from one of his event handlers. Her tribute to him breaks my heart every time I’ve read it. This boy beat all the odds: he beat a rough start and a kill shelter. He was rescued, saved, looking for his home. He was supposed to be in the clear. And yet, this happened. After everything he’d been through, he died at a festival. Someplace that should’ve been fun and safe.
I’ll admit it, it’s been easy to feel blue over this. I’ve gotten weepy a number of times over Parrot. I’ve actually felt a little guilty for what happened to him—I’m part of the species who gave him a rough start and ended his life. And I feel guilty and angry that it happened on my home turf. It’s irrational, but the feeling’s there. He didn’t deserve what happened to him. He didn’t get the chance to have a long, happy life that he deserved.
But a few days ago, the endlessly and wonderfully cheery Dawn of Lydia and Pugs retweeted something from the Ellen Show that gave me a good little “Aha!” moment. Ellen was commenting on a news report of a dog who was dragged behind a truck and was—thankfully—recuperating. Linking to the report, she wrote “As an animal lover, this story broke my heart. As a human, it makes me want to help. You can help, too.”
My goodness, what a wonderful reminder that we can compartmentalize. As a dog lover, DC resident, and human, Parrot breaks my heart. As a dog lover, DC resident, and human, it’s my job to act and support the things that will work to make sure this never happens again, not on our watch.
The letters will continue to be sent to the police (who responded to mine with not the typical form letter that went out) and to the soon-to-be mayor (DC’s current one never responded—and then lost his primary two days after the shooting. Coincidence?), the donations to preventing animal cruelty and breed discrimination will continue to be made. And the successes towards making this place world safer and more secure for all dogs will be celebrated.
The first item on that list? Shana.
Shana’s an American Bulldog (a great breed—our neighbors just got one named Roxy and she’s the keeeeee-youtest character) and the first of “Parrot’s Pals”—dogs who are rescued using funds from the Parrot Fund. She was rescued in South Carolina just days after Parrot’s death and arrived less than a week later.
At events, Lucky Dogs wear green bandanas. In the early pictures before she arrived, Shana was wearing a red polka-dotted one. In more recent photos, Shana has a green one.
It’s bittersweet and heartwarming. That look of hope and happiness in her eyes makes genuinely want her to have the all the toys, treats, beds, love, snuggles, tennis balls thrown, adventures, and years that the world can offer.
So very , very much so.