My friend, Erica Kutzing, is VP of Strong Island Animal Rescue League, and when it comes to speaking for the voiceless, she is passionate, direct and eloquent. Always seeing the diamonds in the rough, always giving them the time they need to reveal their inner glow. No amount of ground-in dirt, averted eyes, lumps or bumps, doggy breath nor dire medical diagnoses will deter Erica when she has her heart stolen by an animal in need. She hears the words “hospice case” and says yes. She knows her heart will break, and she does it anyway.
Recently, a tan and white mix from Texas, with painfully cropped ears and a cancerous lump distending from his chest, got his golden ticket. Like many in Rescue whose families are extended by unplanned additions, Erica’s Laredo was simply waiting for her to find him. With the help of SNARR, Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Northeast, Laredo found his soulmate.
When Erica put her pen to paper about Laredo, her words struck a chord in me and with many others in Rescue. The ones who share her disgust with and intolerance for any so-called human who not only purposely ignores but contributes to the suffering of the voiceless. While you and I, and Erica, and the members of Strong Island, would go without a meal to ensure that our pets get fed, there are far too many who would not do the same. Who do not seek medical assistance for their animals, and ignore their obvious distress. Who do not make them part of a family. but banish them, chained to a post, in an empty, dusty yard.
If Laredo could talk, I’m sure he’d consider himself one lucky dog. Here are Erica’s words about her new furchild.
An open letter to Laredo’s “owner”,
Let me start off by saying we are two completely different people. We are cut from different cloths and I couldn’t be happier about that. We will likely never see eye to eye on how to properly care for a dog. While you decide to isolate, neglect, abuse, and ignore your dogs, I prefer to include them as a part of my family.
I don’t know if your parents didn’t hug you enough but there is no excuse for the suffering you’ve caused. While this dog could have had a lifetime of memories and love, he had to wait until this year to see that there is a bright side. There is a light at the end of a tunnel that was consumed with very dark days.
This dog was never yours. I will never share the ownership title with you as you’ve never earned it. When you looked out of your window every single day and saw a dog with so much potential rot at the end of a heavy chain, it was in those moments that you were stripped of any other title than monster.
Let me be clear, he is my dog. And as fate always works in mysterious ways, he’s always been my dog. We just hadn’t had the chance to meet yet.
While you slept inside, my dog slept in the dirt.
While you covered yourself in a blanket on cold nights, my dog shivered.
While you sought cover from the hot Texas sun, my dog baked in the heat.
And when you developed a cold or the flu and received medical care, my dog developed cancer and you just let it grow.
Ignorance exists but this was far more than that. This isn’t a cultural difference. This was abuse. Anyone with a brain knows better. If you are living and breathing, YOU KNOW BETTER. And you did nothing to change his life.
Rescuers did. Rescuers were the first piece of compassion my dog ever experienced. And the day they took him off of your property was the first day of my dogs life.
It hasn’t been easy, taking in my dog and helping him recover from what you’ve done to him. Everyday hasn’t been perfect but everyday has been worth it. I’ve watched him heal his internal wounds caused by a lifetime of being forgotten.
I’ve watched a beautiful and sweet dog emerge from a hardened shell.
Did you know he likes to play? Did you know he loves to cuddle? So much of who he is was kept tucked away deep inside of him. He had no outlet to show you who he truly was. You robbed him of that.
Your day will come when you will be judged. Your day will come when you meet whatever god you believe in and you are critiqued for the way you chose to live your life and how you treated others. That’s when the karma for what you tried to do to my dog will take affect.
My dog and I are just fine. We will continue to grow together.
You didn’t win. You didn’t destroy my dog beyond repair. And much to my gratitude but not surprise, he forgives people. For all he’s been through he holds no grudges. And not even I will waste my energy to hold a grudge towards a person who doesn’t deserve a second thought.
I know while he stood there day in and day out he dreamed of a life like this. So every single day I will work my hardest to make MY dogs life everything he imagined.
You lose, sir. We are the winners, here.
Erica and Laredo Kutzing
Welcome to the Kutzing family, Laredo. They’ve been waiting for you.