Countless dogs are found and rescued everyday. I’d like to tell you my story of rescue. A rescue that seemed as though there was no way to save a life. And because of a place nestled in the heart of Mount Juliet this life was saved. As I was trying to find a home for this kind soul I began to feel discouraged and that I was spitting in the wind. About a month ago my husband and I decided to volunteer at the Mount Juliet Animal Shelter. I couldn’t officially be a volunteer until we go to their orientation, which I had gone to 10 days prior to where this story begins.
On a typical morning our American Bulldog Bruno always takes a while to wake up usually stretches, slowly opens his eyes, and gets up once the last person in our family wakes up… which is frequently me. This particular morning he was very eager to go outside and seemed somewhat agitated. So I open the back door and immediately hear barking. Bruno was excited, he thought we got him a new friend to play with. This “new friend” was not as excited to see him or me. After I separated the dogs I had to pinch myself. Was there really a dog in our FENCED in backyard? I mean I have a weird knack for finding people’s lost dogs and lost dogs finding me but this was just very strange. I looked her over and immediately realized she recently had puppies, she was very thin, and a little scratched up. I decided to leave her alone hoping maybe she would lead the way to her puppies. She just sat in the first position with her drooping ears resting on the walkway for about 10-15 minutes. I walked my property to look for holes where she could have dug her way through. No sign of forced entry. This dog was dumped in our yard. I’m wondering the same thing… how could anyone dump a dog and momma dog at that?
I called the volunteer coordinator at the shelter I was volunteering at asking him what I should do. He suggested we go ahead and bring her in to the Shelter so she can get the medical attention she needs. So we (my angel of a Mother and I) did just that.
The Mount Juliet Animal Shelter has strict rules on jurisdiction. Unfortunately we weren’t within the city limits so they sent us to a local animal rescue. While on the way we called and called until someone finally picked up, they informed us that they were full and told us to go to a facility that also takes in dogs. With a 3-year-old and a momma dog in tow we continued our adventure trying to find directions to this place. When we finally got the directions this sweet momma dog got really sick and made a huge mess in the car. While my mother was calling friends and family for directions I was calling this place over and over again. The answering machine said they were OPEN from the hours of 7:00AM-3:30PM. So we just assumed that someone was busy and unable to answer the phones. When we finally got to where this facility there were no signs other than that we were entering a Landfill. The sign said to please stop for the landfill before entering. Well, we weren’t going to the landfill so we didn’t stop. Why would we if we were going to a place that takes in dogs? When we got to the building there were 5 cars there but no one answering the door. I walked the property while numerous dogs were serenading us with their howls, kinda reminded me of that scene in Lady and the Tramp when they were singing along with a dog in the pound. I was thinking these people couldn’t hear us because of the dogs. My Mom looked at 2 outdoor fenced in kennels that were covered with shade, had a doghouse, water, and food. These kennels had no dogs in them on a perfect Spring day. It was also unlocked. The decision we made next was based on a few things:
- We were informed they were a place that tries to adopt out, like a rescue. We didn’t know any better because there was absolutely NO SIGNS ANYWHERE.
- Based on the fact that there were 5 cars parked at the facility (that was in the middle of a landfill in the middle of nowhere) and the message said they are open until 3:30 (it was about 12:30-1:30 PM) we thought someone was there just too busy to answer the phones and door. Or maybe couldn’t hear either because of the loud dogs.
- We had a small child in the car and the dog got very sick. It was a mess and we didn’t want to take the chance of this dog getting this child sick also.
- There were 2 kennels in the front shaded, and unlocked. We thought they were there for this very reason.
- The rescue we previously spoke to is well-respected in the area and if they told us this was the place to go well, we thought we were leaving her in the right hands.
So, we left the momma in the kennel that had food and water I called for about the 10th time still no answer and left a message with my name, contact information, and short story about what had happened. We drove away thinking we did the right thing. After doing this I spoke with animal control in Mount Juliet and asked if that was OK… I was told yes, that is what those kennels are there for. They could have been out on a call and are understaffed.
At about 3:30PM I received a voice mail demanding I call this facility immediately. I did. I was berated, scolded, and accused of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. She continued to tell me I was a liar and this was in fact my dog. She said that she is going to call the police and press charges. I was not given the opportunity to tell my side and when I forced my story on her I was told I was trespassing and not allowed anywhere near this facility. We don’t go to them they come to you. How was I supposed to know this? There are NO signs anywhere indicating that this is even any sort of animal control or government-run place. NO signs saying no trespassing. NOTHING. She then asked me where are the puppies and I should be ashamed of myself leaving a mother without her puppies. I was being bullied. I kept thinking this was a nightmare; I had to wake up at any moment. After a pretty good reality show type yelling match I took a deep breath and asked if I came and got the dog if she’d continue on pressing charges. She said no and to come first thing in the morning because we are now closed (how convenient).
I had a panic attack. All the emotions I was holding on to the whole day came pouring out. After I pulled myself together I called the director of the Mt Juliet Animal Shelter thinking he’s a great witness because he knew everything that was going on and knows this is NOT my dog. The intention was to ask him to call her and explain to her that my “story” was true. I tried to hold myself together while telling him how I was treated (didn’t work), He tried to call with no answer and left a message. I thanked him then explained to him how I didn’t know what else to do because she obviously needed immediate medical attention and I didn’t have the money to pay for this. I was at the end of the road helpless, had no clue where to go from here. He paused for a second and in a very calming demeanor said, you did nothing wrong. Go get that dog and in the morning bring her to me, I will be at the shelter waiting. He didn’t have to do this, his compassion and love for animals is evident to me and it warms my heart to know that the animals of Mount Juliet whether they be someone’s lost dog or a stray are all treated with dignity and respect. Even the folks bringing these animals in are treated without judgment and respect.
The way they treated me at the Mount Juliet Animal Shelter vs. the way I was treated at this facility was like Heaven and Hell. I don’t even want to say night and day because there are great things about the night. There was nothing great about this facility. The fact that they will bully you so you will never go near that place again tells me there is a lot of bad things going in there. Something has to be done.
I want to say thank you to the Mount Juliet Animal Shelter. Immediately when I brought Momma (that’s her name now) they began to look her over and got her to the VetMed right away. She has been given her shots along with a clean bill of health. They are working on fattening her up and moving her on to the next adventure. You all need to know how blessed the citizens of Mount Juliet is to have a facility like this. It could be your dog who gets lost, your cat who wonders too far. Mount Juliet Animal Shelter has fantastic Animal Control Officers with a passion and love for our furry animals along with over 300 volunteers who also love and care for these animals while they try to find the owner and/or a foster home, rescue, and forever home. I was excited to become a volunteer at the shelter. I’m still excited but now I’m honored because I know first hand the awesome job they are doing and I witnessed the lives they are saving. I am blessed to be able to be a part of this.
Save an animal, do the right thing even though it may not fit in your busy schedule because that is how we change the world. Doing what you know in heart is the right thing to do. Take it from me rescuing a dog is never convenient. But it needs to happen.
The Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter has adoptable animals both cats and dogs waiting for their forever home. If you are thinking about getting a furry new member for your family please consider first the Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter or your local shelter/rescue. They are waiting.