Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just can't resist those puppy dog eyes

I met Max yesterday. He's perfect. Well-behaved, beautiful eyes, lovely hair, and an eagerness to please. Also he hardly barks and is well-behaved on a leash. Oh, Max, how little time we got to spend together.

Bridgit is a cat fanatic. I think I can say that and she won't be too angry. (Right, Bridgit?!) And she has a heart for animals and has been involved with an organization called OAARS (Okinawan-American Animal Rescue Society - motto "Leave No One behind") through emails for quite some time. Yesterday she finally had a free day to actually go and help at the doggie shelter down in Nishihara and asked me to come along. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

We drove down the coast to find this puppy shelter in the rain. We knew that we would be walking dogs in the mud, but we had no idea how messy things would get. After turning down a dirt road, we found ourselves looking at a dilapidated greenhouse and no one else was to be found except a Japanese man walking a couple of dogs. The barking could be heard from down the road. We walked in, smelling raw animal odors, and looked at all of the dogs begging and barking for attention in their cages. And then I met Max. He was looking out of his kennel with big black lab eyes and I teared up a bit as I thought of Endicott. I'll admit it.

The other volunteers arrived and soon buckets of bleach, doggy doo shovels, and brooms were handed out. Everyone got a job and with tons of rambunctious dogs, almost every moment was entertaining. I rolled up my jeans and after one lap with my dog, Fuzzy, my shoes weighed an extra five pounds with sticky orange mud (and probably poo). I got pulled through puddles, dragged over hills, and was praying that the ominous clouds wouldn't deliver their goods until we were done. I walked a few dogs and almost fought to get the chance to take Max out. He was such a good dog. Apparently he was just found and didn't have a name, so I christened him Max on the spot. Someone left him at a Hot Spar all day and after watching to see if anyone would come back for him, he was turned over to the shelter. This is a beautiful dog, most likely purebred and trained. I tried not to get too attached. My apartment doesn't allow for dogs, and bringing him back to the States would be impossible. Fluffy and her son were left by a military family who had to PCS. Another dog I walked had a crooked leg as a result of a bad break. If you can't take care of a dog, don't get one!

Meanwhile, the crazy Japanese man is yelling at people to do this/do that all in Japanese. The lady in charge said she was glad she can't tell what he says. The most important fact about this guy is that he LIVES in the greenhouse. He has his own set of dogs that roam about in the middle with their own doggy houses. He lives there. In the middle of the sugarcane field. With thirty barking dogs and no humans. He has a BED in between the kennels with blankets, lamps, cooking supplies. Did I mention that this place smells like thirty dogs live there?!

The fact is, Bridgit did an excellent job of scooping poop and cleaning up the puppy pen, and I fell in love with a dog. At the end of the day, we were both covered in various colors of mud, hair crazy from the wind/rain, and exhausted.

Here's the OAARS site. The good news is that quite a few of the dogs listed weren't at the shelter and have found homes. I am hoping Max will enjoy a happy ending to his Hot Spar saga.

It smells like Cheez-Its at school today. Hmm.


Kenneth Griggs said...

I could only look at that site for about 30 seconds. It is pathetic how much I miss my dog.

Carly said...

I want a dog SO bad! It is on my 101 list.

I think the dog toward the end, Tiffany, was named very well. She looks like a Tiffany. Haha.

Lisa said...

The dogs are cute, but I'm still a cat person myself. There's just something inheritantly evil about cats in general. And I like that. ;)