Sad Dog Days of Summer

Sad Dog Days of Summer

Hey all, Konrad here. Originally, getting into this career I knew the struggles I would face in the animal industry, whether exotic or domestic, it really doesn't matter, even us as humans, we are all wild. I learned in a very difficult way that while we may love our pets as our own family, fostering someone else's pets brings a certain shade of truth to the natural selection as they say. Being involved with animal rescue and conservation work, many people reach out to me for help, this is where my work took a turn and left me heartbroken.

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Sniffspot! It's like AirBNB for your Dog!Β 

Sounds cool, right? I thought so too. When I first heard about the app, I had jumped at the opportunity to open my very own dog park. However, not many people knew about the app, and it wasn't making any money just yet. This all happened within the first week or so after I had built my dog park. What you read next won't have your tails wagging. I encourage the app and its developers for what it’s meant for. I just want to share my story so that other hosts might not end up in the same predicament. Thank you.

I have kept exotic animals for all of my life. When I was a child, my family had a dog named Lucky. When I grew up, my mom would always seem disappointed when I brought a stray animal home. When I lived in Poland, someone abandoned a box of 8 kittens in a National Park called 'Ojcowski Parc Narodowy,' near Krakow, PL. We took care of these cats until we found them a home back then. I used to catch toads and rabbits in my backyard while growing up just because I loved interacting with wildlife. I would always release them back into the wild. I just wanted to say hello.Β 

Ojcow National Park - POLAND ACTIVE Travel Agency - Explore Cracow and ...

Photo from Ojcowski Parc Narodowy, Poland.

Sniffspot sounded like an awesome idea to me! I had trained dogs before for good civilian training, and I worked with dogs for many years. Unfortunately, you can't invite strange animals into your territory where your pets live. I received a call shortly after opening my gate as a dog park that my friend had recently been arrested. For the sake of their privacy, I will not be posting his name here. The dogs were confiscated by Clinton Township Police Department and taken to Macomb County Animal Control shortly after his arrest. This person made a mistake, but I know them to be a good mechanic and caring father. So, when I was called to help, I did.

Before I knew it, I was fostering three pitbulls on my property for a woman who was struggling to keep her children afloat after the father was arrested. I stepped in because I knew them to be good people, but what happened next took a dark turn. Typically, you would assume that if an animal is nice to you, then the animal should be nice with other animals, right? Wrong. I had made a mistake that cost me the life of my Bengal cat, named Mara. She was 10 years old.Β 

Before I dive into what happened, I need to discuss my prior experience with dogs as a whole. I have worked with Police K-9 dogs for Protection Training at a facility in Michigan. These breeds included the two most famous for working with Emergency Responders, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. I sat in on many training sessions. Apart from that, I have worked with Siberian Huskies, Rottweilers, Canaan Dogs, and multiple mixed breeds. I currently have a Dachshund Retriever that lives peacefully with my other cats and he tried to protect my cat during the incident. I also own a Rottweiler/Coonhound mix that also cohabitates with cats at my residence in New York. I volunteered with Macomb County Animal Control for several months in my youth, before Michigan became a No-Kill State by the end of 2018. Source:Β https://www.newsweek.com/michigan-becomes-no-kill-state-shelter-animals-1458407Β 

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This lead to shelters becoming overwhelmed with animal intake and many dogs and cats sit in the shelters without homes now. That being said. I have plenty of experience with canines and I understand some breeds have a higher small game prey drive than others. Pitbulls are notorious for their aggression and ability to hunt. My mistake was trusting their soft nature and ability to also love over their true instincts. PitbullsΒ are not a bad breed, they just need proper training. I had made a mistake and bad timing lead to this incident. It is very unfortunate. However, the dogs will be better off with their new owners.Β 

Mara was the sweetest kitten you could ever experience. She gave kisses like a dog would, licked you until she fell asleep, and even cuddled to pass the time by! She was a playful and adventurous little thing. I hand-raised her for 10 years! Living with her was like magic. She would come when I called and respond to me much like a child would to their parent. She was my family. Unfortunately, these dogs were not hers.

I had agreed to watch the dogs for a few days while the owner got her things together and found a place to live after being evicted from their home. The family reached out to me in desperation, and they were scared where their dogs would end up. I had the means to care for the dogs, but unfortunately one of the dogs turned on me, and killed my cat. It was a tragedy. These dogs were untrained and aggressive to what would otherwise be a loving and sweet little cat.

Even when all was said and done, I couldn't bring myself to hate the dogs. They didn't know any better. The one dog almost looked as if it was trying to apologize to me as it was trying to bite me when I retrieved my cat's body from their feet. It was, and still is, a very traumatic experience for me. Even after taking my cat, Mara, to the vet, holding her while she died, and getting the confirmation that she passed from a fatal dog bite, I still couldn't bring myself to hate these dogs.

I had begged the owner for several days to get the dogs back from me, she had refused. It was a nightmare for me. I had to continue to take care of these dogs even after they had killed my cat. Even so, I did my job and made sure that these dogs were fed and safe. After days of hassling with the owner, I decided to put the two dogs in a foster home and separate the male from the two females. They acted like a pack and could have been potentially dangerous if kept together.Β 

Now, the two females (one larger female and one puppy), were at the foster family's home, and the one male was still in my garage. I reached out to Macomb County Animal Control to help me, and they refused. I was trying to get them back to the owner, yet she still refused to take them. Before I knew it, my ex-girlfriend had gotten involved and my neighbor too. It was when they got involved that the city pressed charges on the owner, and she showed up on my property to retrieve her dogs. I gave her the information for the foster family, and she took the male dog right away.

My ex girlfriend and some friends of mine did some digging and that was when they found out that the female pitbull had delivered puppies in the past. Unfortunately, the male and the female were being irresponsibly bred. The three dogs in question were a family. The parents and their pup. I believe that these dogs were neglected and unfortunately they did not receive proper training. It seems as though they were in shock from being transported from place to place, or perhaps they were just out of place and didn’t know any better. The fact is that I did not make this Blog to attack Pitbulls as a breed. I only wanted to shed some light (or hairs) on this so that others don’t get into a similar situation. These three dogs were not brought up properly.Β 

Fast forward a week later, come to find out she abandoned all three of the dogs in a vacant home in Warren. I will leave the owner of the home out of this Blog to protect his privacy. He had posted to Facebook that the dogs were abandoned yet again in his house illegally, and of course it popped up on my feed. When I woke up that morning, all I could think was that this was not over, and I had to do something about it. I had a friend pull up his address for me, and I went to this man's house to help him with the dogs. Still, the original owner was nowhere to be found and she had been harassing him on Facebook messenger.Β 

Hundreds of people in the community stepped up to help, and soon enough I was on this mans front porch telling him my story. I had to see this through. Regardless of my feelings about my cat, I knew it was the right thing to do. These dogs made a mistake, but they deserve a life if they are placed with good trainers and people that will help them. I made sure the three dogs were split up to avoid them acting like a pack in the future and causing issues.

Now, to end this Blog post I need to leave out a lot of details to protect the safety of these dogs and everyone involved. The dogs are being rehomed to responsible owners through my network of animal rescue groups. They will be placed in good homes. The original owner will not get them back. I lost my cat while trying to do something good. I never thought that day would come. Rest in Peace, Mara. Please, to whoever is reading this, be aware that dealing with animal rescue and having a career like the one I have is not easy. Things like this can happen. I will get through it, but I will forever be mourning the loss of my family-member, Mara. She will be furrrever missed!

Even in tragedy, there can still be light.

Β Thank you for reading!

Β Rest in Peace, Mara. This is a photograph of her when she was a kitten!Β 

REVISED: 06/22/2024

Thanks for reading!

-Konrad


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