“When he came to us he could hardly stand upright. He had lived his life in a cage with a wire bottom. In order to keep his feet from going through the bottom he had to splay his legs outward. His feet were web-like and he walked with his toes extended as far as possible as if he was still walking on wire. He has finally figured out how to keep his legs underneath him.”
As I watched this ten-year old Jack Russell hobble about in the grass enclosure he still looked as if it was painful to take a step.
“If you look at the pads of his feet, they appear as if they’re deformed from spending so many years on those wires,” Sandy explained as we watched him hobble about while my two Jacks darted here and there in their joyful abandon.
He may never walk or run as other dogs do, yet, as he hobbles from tree to bush to fencepost, peeing on each and every one, he looks happy in the fact that after ten years in a small 2 x 2 cage he has the room to move. And move he does, non-stop as if he doesn’t know what it’s like to sit or lay in the sun. He just slowly keeps moving around the perimeter. Sudden motion or loud noises frighten him. People are not to be trusted.
In his kennel with him that very first night, in the lovely barn of Arizona Jack Russell Rescue I sat motionless, leaning against the wall. Slowly I stroked his ears, scratched his back, and gently petted his head. I didn’t say a word. I tried to imagine the horror, noise, and stench of 175 dogs penned together in abject misery. This poor soul must never have had a moment of peace, a good rest, a decent meal or an ounce of love. Suddenly he moved just a bit, raised his head and looked directly at me. Those eyes said so much in just one instant, such pain and suffering at the hands of humans. That he allowed me in his space was gift enough for the moment.