Many years ago, I was playing with a dog named Elsie outside San Francisco Animal Control. Like so many others before her and sadly, after her impound at SFACC, Elsie was scheduled to die.
A bevy of media personnel was in house that day covering the high profile case involving Hera, the dog accused of mauling Diane Whipple one year before. Although evidence had been offered that Hera was not guilty of the mauling and had shown nothing but gentle behavior to all who handled her, she was going down. Somebody had to pay and once the trial was over and Hera's use as 'evidence' with completed, she would be killed.
This particular day, a lone photographer wandered out to the side yard, note the fire hose in the background, the notorious fire hose that would nearly kill another dog a year later, Slappy.
The reporter lowered his camera and asked me, 'What do you think it is that makes these dogs go bad?'
Elsie and I didn't miss a beat and as she soared up into the free air for a ball, I answered him. 'The media.'
We both laughed and he continued to go about his work and took this shot of Elsie, a wonderful dog, scheduled to die like so many others at SFACC just for being a pit bull.
Elsie had a sad story like so many others. She was spotted by Angela, a longtime MacLaren Park resident who'd walk her own senior dogs in the San Francisco Excelsior neighborhood. Angela noticed Elsie with her companion, a black lab, running and playing in the tall Eucalyptus groves.
On one particular morning, Angela saw city workers removing the body of the black lab who'd been run over by a car. Elsie was sitting by his body. Angela remembers, "There was a police officer on site and he told me to stay back. I saw her and she looked up with those human eyes of her. I brought her a bowl of food and water."
"When the woman from the Animal Control came to pick her up and the other dog. She laid her whole body over the dead animal. The police officer, the woman from Animal Control and myself could not believe what we had just witnessed."
"You hear about these things all the time, but to actually see it brought tears to your eyes. Dolce went very willingly with the woman. She put her in the back of the truck. I went around to see her and that is when she grabbed my heart and soul. She literally had tears rolling down her face, and those eyes. I will never forget those eyes."
This is much how life works in rescue. So many do not make it out of the confines of high kill shelters, but ever so often, there is an Angela, a Dolcie and a happy story for a change.
The media usually isn't knocking down our door to report these stories, but there's always my little blog, Pit Bulls and Other Animals which can try and tell one happy story to make up for all the nasty horrible ones.
Dolcie had a happy life. "We went on long walks in McLaren Park and she would slide down the hills head first on the green grass in winter. She swam like an Olympian -outswimming every dog in McLaren Park."
"She loved it here in Sonoma, after we moved from San Francisco, on October 12, 2005. She had a big bag yard with green lawn to roll around in and we went on long walks. That's where we met Panda Bear, our neighbor's dog (part Poodle and English Sheep dog). She loved him and when I took him in at seven months, she mothered him like her own."
"She was healthy and well until the time she left us on October 7, 2011, and now patiently awaits our arrival at Rainbow Bridge."
Dolcie will be remembered on our memorial walk with Hope and Pam on September 21 at Treasure Island in Best Friends Strut Your Mutt. Hope and Pam's walk is open for anyone who had a Dolcie in their life and would like to walk with us.