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"Open Letter" From Dog Rescuer Divides Animal Welfare Community

Discussion in 'Rescue & Adoption' started by Vicki, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    “Open Letter†From Dog Rescuer Divides Animal Welfare Community

    “Open Letter” From Dog Rescuer Divides Animal Welfare Community

    September 16, 2013 By David Deleon Baker

    Early Monday morning, Jamie White of the Huffington Post published “An Open Letter to the Person Who Left This Sweet Dog at the Kill Shelter.”

    Her letter, which minced absolutely NO words, quickly went viral, amassing nearly 18,000 Facebook likes by day’s end. It’s no wonder it went viral, given the intense emotion behind White’s writing.

    White described saving a 12-year-old, ailing dog that had been dropped off at an Animal Control shelter. She gave the sweet dog, Cocoa, a loving home and costly health care for the remaining weeks of her life. (Here’s a photo of Cocoa.) And when it was time for Cocoa to go to the rainbow bridge, White was right there with her:

    “Instead of dying on a cold floor in a cold building with people who may or may not give a damn how her end happened, she died in my arms. I held your dog’s head in my arms and I whispered in her ear while she slipped away. I told her what a pretty girl she was. I told her how much I loved her as I stroked that spot just above her eye.”

    Then White, still grieving over the dog’s death, obviously angry, proceeded to relentlessly rip into Cocoa’s original owner, the one who after a dozen years had decided to relinquish this family member to a lonely shelter existence:

    “I’m writing this letter to let you know just what a piece of shi*t I think you are. If you ever do read this letter, know that I, along with my many animal-loving friends all over this world, think you are the lowest of the low. You don’t take a 12-year-old dog, a ‘sweet old girl — a wonderful companion,’ and dump her at a high-kill shelter. You didn’t even give her a good chance.”

    Animal lovers are divided over Jamie White’s words. On the one hand, some commenters at HuffPo called her an “angel” whose piece needed to be said. On the other hand, this animal rescuer was accused of being unacceptably self-righteous.

    Commenter Eric Webber put it this way: “This story could have been written in one sentence: ‘I’m Jamie White, and I’m better than all of you.’”
    Below, published with permission, is a reaction from ColoRADogs rescue founder and president Nancy Tranzow, who says White’s rush to judgment was “hateful” and does not serve the greater good.

    An Open Letter to the Woman Who Wrote: “An Open Letter to the Person Who Left This Sweet Dog at the Kill Shelter”

    Dear “Rescuer,”

    I read your blog — and as I did, tears rolled down my eyes. But not for the reasons you might think, and certainly not in some show of emotional solidarity. I cried because of the cruelty of your words and the complete lack of insight that this person, who relinquished their dog, might have not been able to keep her, and perhaps in relinquishing Cocoa, made the most excruciating decision she ever had to make.

    The shelter gave you the intake form? I can’t imagine they ever thought you would use that information to rant against Cocoa’s previous person in the manner in which you did. So let’s review what information you gathered in to decide why this person “dumped” their dog.

    They had no money to care for their dog and had to move to a place where they couldn’t keep her. You assumed that they must have known she had cancer and that’s why they relinquished her. I wonder, if someone says they lack funds and have to move into an area where they cannot take their senior dog, why would you think that they would know about her cancer? Do you believe that somehow they had the funds for expensive diagnostic work and then, having spent all their funds, took the dog to the shelter? Or perhaps they spent all their money on vet care and then had no more money for rent so moved into pet-restricted housing.

    That just doesn’t seem to make sense. You did not say Cocoa was dirty, skinny, scared, acted abused or any of the usual indications of an unloved dog. I will assume she was well fed, clean and loving as I have no doubt you would not have failed to mention it in your blog had it been otherwise.

    I am in rescue too. I see the worst of the worst as we focus on pit bulls. We see the dogs from true fight busts, you know the large scale ones, dogs who have lived on chains their whole lives, dogs who are scarred, disfigured, and abused. Dogs who people truly do not want, nor care about.

    I have also rescued dogs from the shelters. Old dogs who seem to know what it is to be loved, sleep on a bed, know what a good pizza smells like and have a disease like cancer. But here’s the difference.

    When I see an intake form like that, I wonder. Did Cocoa’s person enter senior assisted living. Are they going through chemotherapy and can’t get out of bed most days? Have they become homeless? What circumstances or lack of resources put them in this position and Cocoa in a shelter environment?

    Then I take it a step further. How can my group help? Can we find their person and see if we can at least let them know their dog is safe? Can we change this story?

    I understand you had just put Cocoa down, but it is not an excuse for such a cruel and hateful diatribe against a person who you know nothing about. Rescue is about compassion for both sides of the equation. People AND the animals. If you can’t choose compassion, then maybe it’s time for a new perspective and a new line of work.

    Oh, and one more thing. I am sitting in the middle of Colorado as I watch our state’s devastation increase by the minute. We are seeing, and will continue to see, evacuees’ animals come into our shelters and rescues as we take in the overflow. Some pets will make it home and some will not. Resources are not infinite, and “sh*t happens.” You are more than welcome to come help, and we’ll show you an example of “There but for the grace of God go I.” Hopefully it will change your perspective and open your heart.

    So, was Jamie White being hateful? Must we publicly demonize people who, for whatever reason, make that excruciating choice to relinquish their pet? OR: Is Nancy Tranzow, in her reply, being too hard on Jamie White? We would love to hear what you think — tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

    And if you enjoyed reading this, please share it.

    Update: White’s “open letter” was originally published on her own blog. Here is the link. Shecamethisclose to revealing the original owner’s name, calling her “Jean (last name withheld).” It’s interesting that the Huffington Post chose to edit out the multiple mentions of the woman’s first name.

    Update 2: Here is an interesting conversation on Facebook about this topic:

    Kim Wolf

    · 3 Mutual Friends

    There's an ugly, ugly blog post making the rounds about a woman who surrendered her 12-year-old dog to a shelter. The person who later took that dog wrote an "open letter" to the dog's previous owner -- a person she never met, never talked to, and knew noting about.
    If you know me, then you know I love senior dogs. You know I have a soft spot for people who help them.

    I'm gonna call this "open letter" what it really is: bullying.

    It's mean. It's hateful. It shows a serious lack of understanding of the human half of the human-canine bond.
    This blogger, however, doesn't speak for the people I know in animal welfare.

    The people I know in animal welfare are compassionate individuals who understand that helping pets is about helping people. They understand that if we want to prevent animals from suffering, we have to address the root causes of human suffering, too.
    They don't judge, they support. They don't hate, they help. And when they need to vent -- and we all need to vent sometimes -- they don't do it at other people's expense.

    Nancy Tranzow of ColoRADogs is one of those individuals. I hope you'll read the "open letter" Nancy wrote in response to the original blog.
    Perhaps our field is divided on the meaning of compassion.

    But individuals like Nancy are challenging the old ways of thinking, and dismantling the false dichotomy of "helping animals" versus "helping people."

    Individuals like Nancy are supporting the human-canine bond. I'm proud to know her.

    From Dog Rescuer Divides Animal Welfare Community

  2. Lee D

    Lee D Good Dog

    I couldn't read it past "a 12-year-old, ailing dog that had been dropped off at an Animal Control shelter"... that shit burns my ass
  3. kady05

    kady05 Krypto Super Dog

    We have a couple dogs at AC right now that are older.. it's so hard not to say anything when I see their owners there signing them over :(
  4. CrazyK9

    CrazyK9 Good Dog

    I don't care what kind of situation you're in, an old dog you've probably had most of its life has more than earned the right to die with you by their side, not in the arms of strangers at a shelter. Sure it could have been an instance of an elderly person going into a nursing home or dying and the family dumping the dog. Could have... but I seriously doubt it. Probably just some heartless asshole that couldn't take care of the dog and decided to let someone else deal with the problem.

    You can't afford treatment, let the dog pass at your home or have it put down.
  5. Poisoned

    Poisoned GRCH Dog

    Well, I actually read the letter and it states they moved somewhere that doesn't allow dogs/didn't have the funds. So that kind of makes the other letters against her pointless.

    There is no excuse for doing this to a dog like her, euthanasia would have absolutely been a better choice, even though that one dog made it out it's extremely uncommon. And I do completely understand and sympathize with the woman who gave her a dignified end.

    The letter reminds me a lot of one I sent the woman who caused my foster dog to die. Worthless hunk of crap human.
  6. omgrobyn

    omgrobyn GRCH Dog

    Also, some people just don't have the balls or decency to put a dog down themselves. They'll wait around while it rots from the inside and cancer eats away at it or dump it on someone.

    It cost me $78 to put a dog down. Yeah it sucked. I felt like shit. But it had to be done. I just put a big double shot of rum in my thermos of coffee before I went, good old liquid courage. But $78 isn't that much money and she went out after a ton of treats with her head in my lap.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
  7. MsAcer

    MsAcer Good Dog

    Someone called that letter "Bullying". What a CROCK OF SHIT. If you're a human you could use that big ol' human brain to figure something out besides dumping a old dog. I would cry in all the vet offices in town till I had a vet that would put her down, I would work it off.
    Taking the dump off route will hopefully kick some karma into action.
    Poor old dog. Glad she had someone care.
  8. PocketPal

    PocketPal Big Dog

    +1 I just can't understand the inhumanity, the lack of compassion. AND...the total lack of understanding what a shelter (high-kill shelter) is for.

    quote..."wake up! it's time to die!" -Blade Runner 1982
  9. blaukind

    blaukind Puppy

    If the surrender-er were in a situation where they absolutely couldn't take care of their dog, like going into assisted living with no family to take the dog, becoming homeless, etc, then they should have gone in with their dog and held her while she was put to sleep.
    I agree with the second letter in that rescues should try to reach out to people more, but ultimately it's the person taking the dog to the shelter who should have reached out to a rescue or someone. It's worth asking and begging to help a dog who has been with you for a decade. When it comes down to it, they didn't see their dog as worth the effort.

    The "some dogs have it worse" argument is ridiculous. So because some people don't care about their dogs at all and beat them on a daily basis, it's ok for someone to throw their dog away when they become inconvenient?
  10. CrazyK9

    CrazyK9 Good Dog

    Thanks for pointing that out Poisoned. I guess I was focused on what the author of this piece had written which gave different scenarios in which it would have been "understanding" to surrender the dog.

    Yeah the person who wrote the letter had every right to feel the way they did/do.
  11. BlaznJon

    BlaznJon Little Dog

    I beg to differ on the subject.There are a lot of old people out there,that can not afford to take care of there pets and it comes a time when either they are moved into convalescent homes or some kind of assisted living.that could have been the case.having worked with people and animals there is a side you don`t see with the elderly. they are giving the food that meals on wheels is giving them to there pets to feed them. I have seen that and them not having away to get to pet food banks.its sad.they also have the misconception because they most likely got there pets from a shelter.that they will be rehomed.and they are doing what they thought was best in the situation.chew what ever ass you feel like,but releasing some ones name is unprofessional.

    I asked in kims thread if some one had a dog that was exhibiting da and had 3 instances of causing damage in a multiple pet home and they brought the dog to a shelter to be euthanized if it was anyone's business at the shelter to ask why.when i say damage we are talking broken bones ,degloving of legs.The reply i got was like they wanted it done for free.and it could be rehabilitated.really should they just turn the dog over to a rescue to be re homed knowing what damage the dog can and will do and let some one else find out the hard way? let me add that the people with the da dog are dog savy,breed savy,have fostered 100`s of dogs over decades.or should the high energy dog be put in a no kill for its whole life?there's two sides to every story and you can`t save them all.being brutally honest goes both ways.
  12. PocketPal

    PocketPal Big Dog

    A kill shelter is a merciful LAST CHANCE for problem dog. A family dog is NOT a PROBLEM dog. A shelter should NOT be used as PET DISPOSAL facility. Am I making myself clear? These people and yourself are either don't want to understand/ignorant or abusing the system.

    The lady that sacrificed her emotional state for the sake of a dying dog has the right to teach us a lil about compassion. you should take heed.

    'nuf said!
  13. blaukind

    blaukind Puppy

    She didn't release the person's full name, she said their first name, which won't get you anywhere trying to find out who it was. And the letter was posted 20 minutes after she had Cocoa put to sleep, so if anything it shows a lot of restraint to me.

    Everyone's situation is different, and it can be very hard to make the decision to put an animal to sleep because of social circumstances instead of health, but sometimes it's the best choice for the emotional health of the animal. Maybe the person who took Cocoa to the shelter thought they were making the best choice, we'll never know unless "Jean" comes forward. But more times than not in these cases, it's just the easy choice. And I feel like her letter is partially about this one dog, but really about the millions of others who die afraid and alone with no Jamie to save them.
  14. xchairity_casex

    xchairity_casex Good Dog

    I know a lot of people say "the previous owners should have put the dog to sleep themselves" but, i found out for myself-some vets WILL NOT put a pet to sleep Unless THEY feel its the best option. When Chimera had an Ear infection and i was waiting around for the vet to deep clean her ear (it was bad) a man came in to ask about having his older cat euthanized who was biteing his daughter severaly enough that she needed stitches. The receptionist told him he needed to contact the shelter and take the cat there because no vet would even consider putting a healthy cat to sleep for a reason like that. The guy argued a bit with her and after he left the receptionist vented to me a little about how awful he was for even considering that. I was a little surprised and had mixed feelings about the entire thing and didn't say much. But, it wouldn't surprise me if their are plenty of other vets who also will not simply put a pet to sleep because theo wner wants it.

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