Tuesday, December 22, 2009

He's Still Blind and Cant See Me

I always thought it an amusing concept that prospective adoptive pet owners are screened, vetted and investigated within an inch of their lives before granted permission to bring home Fluffy or Spot. Yet the same rigorous standards go virtually out the door when someone signs up to receive a seeing eye dog. These service animals, who spend the remainder of their lives working for their owner, often never have the chance to have their plight and suffering documented partly because they're no longer viewed as pets and partly because their owners lack the capacity to see the depth of mistreatment.
Take for instance the gorgeous black Lab I see frequently on the bus leading his visually impaired owner about. He is yanked, shoved, batted about the face and have his paws cruelly stomped by a can whenever his owner moves about his bus seat and readjusts his weight or belongings. During the short twenty minute ride this snow battered day I saw the poor creature wince but not moan twice as the cane struck his tender nose and the environmentally correct bag of groceries rested on top of hid head. His collar got pulled half a dozen times as owner tried to shove the dog deeper into the well under the seat. Each time a straw paw stuck out it was swept back callously by the sole of a dirty sneaker.

I wonder- would the animal police consider this the abuse of a pet or what a service animal should learn to tolerate? After all, he is fundamentally a sweet Lab meant to be cherished and loved.

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