Anyone who is my friend on Facebook knew this post was coming. I had quite the start to my week. I’m going to rewind to about the second week I got to North Carolina: I met this random girl (let’s call her Brandy) in my apartment complex when she was walking her brand new black lab puppy, Raven. She seemed nice enough, I told her I had just gotten here from California and she said that if I ever wanted to go out for drinks, I should let her know. I was playing with Raven and we were getting along, so Brandy said, “hey would you ever puppy-sit for me? I’ve got a crazy end of the year with school coming up and I just need some help watching her.” I agreed, on the premise that I at least get some kind of warning so I could be sure to have a puppy-proof apartment.
Didn’t hear from her for almost a month. The next time we talked, she was asking me to puppy-sit. Actually, the only time we talked was when she needed me to puppy-sit. Which was a total of maybe three times.
This past Sunday was just like any other, until I got a text from Brandy asking me to puppy-sit. She said she needed me to watch Raven for two weeks, which seemed excessive. But it was puppy time and I’m actually kinda lonely in this apartment. So why not? I can take care of a puppy. I mean, sure, it was completely annoying that I had less than a day’s notice, and she didn’t exactly give me a return date… but the Good Samaritan in me wanted to help out in any way I could, regardless of any of those details.
I picked Raven up around 2pm on Sunday, we had a pretty interesting first afternoon together. Brandy had mentioned that sometimes Raven was a little weird about eating, sometimes it seemed like she just didn’t want to… Brandy didn’t understand why, neither did I, but I also didn’t know what the reason for it could have been. I was under the impression this was a healthy dog. So I put out Raven’s dinner on Sunday night, she didn’t touch it. The night went on and eventually I had taken her outside so she could sprint out all her energy, by the time we got back inside she gobbled it all up. I think that she had done her business while we were outside and I just didn’t see it. I put her in her crate, we went to bed.
The next morning we woke up and I set out her breakfast. Again, she didn’t eat but instead walked over to the door, so we went outside. First thing she did was poop, first thing I saw was what looked like white rice… that was moving. My heart dropped into my stomach. WORMS. I immediately pulled out my phone and tried calling Brandy — no answer. I made the executive decision to get on Google and go to the first vet that came up in my search. Thankfully, they were opening in just the amount of time it would take for me to drive there. Parents, answer me this: if you leave your tiny mammal with another human, wouldn’t you check your phone a little extra and answer immediately if you saw the phone ring at 7am? Wouldn’t that scare the piss out of you?
At the vet, we got Raven completely checked out. She was given two doses of the worm medicine and Frontline as an added precaution, I even had her nails trimmed. The vet bill was $120, and I was completely expecting it to be at least double that. I was delightfully surprised. The vet gave me a lot of great puppy info, and told me to make sure Raven was going out regularly throughout the day. It wasn’t until we were driving home that Brandy responded to my call…with a text. Yes, after this whole thing went down, this bitch is “Dog Abuser” in my phone.
This conversation was all I needed to do some digging. I called the vet she claimed to have taken Raven to, they had never heard of her. I called my friend Elizabeth, who used to live in my apartment complex and had also met Brandy. When I started to introduce the story to Elizabeth, she told me she had a horrible feeling she knew where it would end up. I learned that, in addition to Raven having zero vaccinations, she had fleas and worms since the day Brandy picked her up from “the guy who was going to take her to a kill shelter.”
You do not take your un-vaccinated, flea and worm-infested dog to a dog park. Ever.
One thing led to another, I insisted that Brandy take responsibility for her dog. I was mad. I am mad. She made arrangements with some other friend to take Raven off my hands, that friend called me so we could arrange a time to get together so she could pick up Raven. When I gave the friend the rundown of the care Raven required (according to the vet), she said, “Like… isn’t the type of dog that Raven is… like. I thought they were born with worms.”
As if I wasn’t angry enough. The friend’s name in my phone is “The Dumbass Who Thinks Dogs Are Born With Worms” because nothing else is appropriate. I gave her an earful about how Raven needed to be cared for, I doubt she’ll listen. She’s “never had a dog before” so she “doesn’t really know anything about dogs.” Nothing in this world makes me angrier than knowing a tiny mammal is going to live in an ignorant, ill-equipped and neglectful home. (I would include humans in this, too. But that’s a totally separate blog post.)
I posted it in an Instagram: My 48 hours with Raven will forever hold a special place in my heart. I don’t know what made me agree to watch a stranger’s dog, it might have been my homesickness and how much I miss my Riley. But it really has forever changed the way I think about owning my own pet.
A pet is not an accessory. They are not toys. They’re a whole life, with feelings and thoughts and likes and dislikes. They cost money, and they’ll cost more money if you’re irresponsible with their care. If your first priority isn’t your pet, you don’t deserve to have them in your life. SHAME ON ANYONE who would act like worms aren’t enough of a priority to fix as soon as they learned about them. All I heard from Brandy and Elizabeth were Brandy’s claims that she didn’t have the money for Raven to get her vaccinations or worm medicine. She barely has the money to make her rent. Yet apparently she has the money to go out drinking. LIAR LIAR I HOPE YOUR PANTS GET SET ON FIRE.
I saw that dog change into a whole other person in less than a night. She is a completely different pup from the first hour I had her. Why? I took the initiative to give her the care she deserves. What did Brandy do? Criticized me and told me I should have gotten PERMISSION to make her dog healthy. So much of me wonders why I was asked to watch over Raven, and so much of me thinks it’s because Brandy was under the impression I wouldn’t react to the worms the way I did; but on the off chance I knew what to do, she would take the gesture and act defensive to make herself feel better about being a terrible owner.
The thing I hate most is that if this sweet girl was a human, there would be no question about what I should do when I learned how sick she was. If Raven could speak and had told me about how long she had felt sick, there is NO WAY Brandy would ever see her again. I had grand plans to notify the apartment complex and Humane Society of what this dog was living with, but then I remembered I’m in the South — where people have guns and are a whole other level of crazy. It’s such a ridiculous situation, but I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I stayed in it any longer. As much as I hate to say it: Raven isn’t my responsibility.
My heart is totally broken in a totally new way. Yet I’m completely content to know that I helped her as much as I could. Raven, it did not take long at all for me to fall completely in love with you, I so hope that you end up in a home that will love you the way you deserve to be loved.
You guys, dogs are people, too.