Homeward bound

Stray dogs face uncertain future, like many at animal shelter

No one knows where they came from. And, at this point, know one is sure where they'll end up.

The documented history of Doc and Casey -- two highly affable pound puppies boarded at the Craig Animal Shelter -- begins on a cold night a week ago on U.S. Highway 40, about 30 miles west of town.

A motorist found Doc, a 5-year-old, tri-color border collie, in the middle of the highway after he survived an encounter with an oncoming semi-truck. Casey, a black Labrador puppy and Doc's traveling companion, was found nearby.

"He hit the dirt, and the semi went right over the top of him," said Mickey Ford, animal control officer with the Craig Police Department. "(The motorist) brought them both in."

Buddies

Health professionals taking care of the dogs are unsure how Doc lost his left eye or how his health deteriorated so badly that a local veterinarian labeled him a "mess" upon examination.

"That's something we'll just never know," Ford said.

Nor do they know why Casey, a kind but timid dog a stall down from Doc, acts afraid around strangers unless "his buddy" is close by.

Even their names are not their own, instead monikers given to them when they arrived at the shelter.

The dogs' future, like their past, is just as uncertain.

Mary Blakeman, a member of the Humane Society of Moffat County, said Doc and Casey were scheduled to be transported today to the Summit County animal shelter in Frisco.

The city pays a daily boarding fee to McCandless Animal Hospital to shelter the animals. They are allowed to stay for 10 days before they are transferred to another rescue shelter.

With any luck, they'll be adopted, but there are no guarantees, Blakeman said.

Life and death

Doc and Casey are among the handful of unwanted, discarded or lost canines in need of a good home at the 10-stall animal shelter, inside McCandless on East Victory Way.

Last year, 773 dogs and cats were admitted to the shelter. Of that number, 240 were adopted locally, and 149 were transferred to an out-of-area facility to receive further care and await adoption.

Blakeman said the rest were euthanized. Those animals are ones diagnosed with fatal health problems or deemed temperamentally unsuitable. Blakeman said euthanasia "is the humane thing to do" in those cases.

Getting attached

Blakeman, Ford and Mc--Candless veterinary assistant Amy Andrews -- and numerous other area residents dedicated to the humane treatment of animals -- have the enviable position of completing uplifting work in benefit of wayward pets.

However, because they see the abuse some animals receive at the hands of owners, they're also exposed to the darkest shades of the human heart.

Horror stories include a batch of 54 kittens removed from a single home that were put down because of exposure to feline leukemia. Andrews, a former animal control officer, also recalls a 3-month-old border collie that was nearly decapitated by an angry man.

"As far as violent cruelty goes, that was the worst one," Andrews said.

The local community is lucky to have volunteers like those working on behalf of the animals, Blakeman said.

"They love animals and want to help," Blakeman said. "They are the most compassionate, caring people. There is a universe of caring people out there. It's inspiring."

Andrews said it's easy to get attached to the animals.

"You get attached more to certain ones," she said. "But, there are so many you can't love them all."

Happy together

Blakeman said Doc and Casey will continue to receive care at Summit County and will have a home there until someone adopts them. All efforts will be made to keep the pair together.

"It's our hope they will go to the same family," she said. "I know Summit County will do all they can."

While tending to the dogs Friday morning, Ford said she thought Doc and Casey should stay together.

"Certainly, if they went together, they'd be a lot happier," she said.

Then, turning to a melancholy Doc, she said words that brought a waggle to his tail, "Huh, Doc, you'd be a lot happier with him, wouldn't you? Yeah, he's your buddy."

Josh Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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