When I read this letter, I had a lot of sympathy. It seemed unfair, to keep this man's dog at a shelter because he could not afford multiple bail-out fees.
And then when I read today's update, my feelings - fair weather friends - changed a bit.
It turns out this is the third time animal control has dealt with this man and his dog. The first time, the dog was left tied up to a spigot, seemingly abandoned, while the man went shopping. The second time, the dog was loose and animal control returned him. And this is the third time, in which the dog got out of a backyard and was found by a good Samaritan.
Is what's best for the man best for his dog?
I won't judge this man's economic status. It is my belief a person's ability at caring for his dog has little to do with income. What makes for a responsible dog guardian does not, by necessity, require a lot of money.
And for someone who relies on emotional support from his dog, keeping them apart borders on cruel.
Still, I cannot help but give pause. In the nine years I have had Mina, she has gotten out once. A gardener left the gate open and Mina explored my parents' neighborhood. Since I am anal-retentive when it comes to checking on Mina, it was 30 seconds from the time she waltzed out to when I discovered her gaping absence. I called to her and behold, she came running. The horrifying things that could have happened made me even more ridiculous about Mina's safety. Celeste has never gotten out.
Granted, I have never endured this man's situation which involved living in a vehicle for a period of time. I try to keep that in my mind - it is easy for me to say a million and one things about this guy's ability to care for his dog, but I have never been in dire financial straits without friend or family to lend me their homes, paychecks, whatever.
Do I think this dog would thrive in a different, more stable environment? Yes. I really do. I believe he would do better in a home that could provide a secure housing situation, consistent opportunities to exercise and explore the world. To be honest, I think he should have been given that chance, but that is not coming from a place in which I switch the dog with Mina (because hell no!)
So I am happy (sorta) he has been reunited. He has a person who loves him, even if he does not offer the most stable of homes for this dog. But the dog is alive and with someone who loves him.
What do you think? What's fair for the dog and the man?