A Year ago, Today

Corruption is a very hard thing to fight, but a very easy thing to get used to. As an Animal Control Officer fresh out of the academy, I thought I could do it all.  I also believed that my Director knew everything, and I believed everything he said.  As the days and years went by, I found that I was devoting most of my time to covering up his mistakes, making excuses, and I was getting tired.  Doing both of our jobs was exhausting, and one day the Director impounded a little shaggy dog named Sebastion.

Sebastion was in for a 10 day quarantine, and all I ever knew about him was that he had bitten a child in a provoked attack, and that the owner, K., did not want the dog back.  The Director had written on his card “destroy per owner at end of quarantine”.  His time came up, and I hesitated to do my job.  He was such a sweet little dog with a sunny disposition, and I couldn’t make myself believe that his owner didn’t want him back.  I took a deep breath, uttered a curse word, and destroyed him as ordered.  Ten minutes later K. called and asked how her little friend was doing and could she come over and visit him.  I later found out that she had made several calls to the shelter, and none were ever returned.

To make a long story short, this incident prompted and investigation that quickly led to the resignation of the Director, and K. and I became fast friends.  364 days later, the former Director relinquished ownership of his small breed puppy to the shelter, and I immediately called K. as she was still looking for something small and shaggy to fill the void I put into her heart.  I gave her a description of the pup, told her who the previous owner was, and she said she would be in the next day to look at it.

K. came in as scheduled, and immediately fell in love with the pup.  She then casually reminded me that I had killed Sebastion “a year ago, today”.

I’ve never forgiven myself for not following my instincts that day.  I’ve never forgiven my Director for not doing his job right, and I’ve never forgiven K. for not calling eleven minutes earlier that day.  Above all, I’ve never forgiven a God so cruel that he would let an innocent little dog be sacrificed on the alter of bad politics.  Sebastian’s death fixed alot of wrongs in ways that I could not, or did not.  The shelter is a much better place now because of that small sacrifice, but I think the cost was too high.

Well, we’ve come full circle now, and maybe all is forgiven.  All wrongs made right in the end, so they say….If that’s true, the I believe that Somewhere, there is a cute little shaggy dog wagging his tail in forgiveness of it all.

Written by the current Director of the Animal Shelter (me)

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