Wayward dog Chale Machete seeks a forever home
A little over a week ago, I posted a photo of a coal black pit/lab mix that we found across the street from our house. Chale Machete, as we’ve taken to calling him, is still with us.
In spite of his menacing (to some) appearance, he’s a great dog. From the first night, as soon as he realized we wouldn’t hurt him, he showed an affectionate spirit. Sixty-pound Machete lives to snuggle — nearly as much as my miniature pinscher does. He likes to lay at your feet in the kitchen and sprawl across you on the couch, bed or in the car. Having vehemently resisted a leash initially, he’s now come to realize it means an exciting chance to go outside.
Of course, life with Machete isn’t all puppy licks and cuddling. His incessant curiosity and eagerness to play inspires growls from the cat and our dogs, none of whom seem all that stoked about adding to the pack. Adjusting to his presence means changing the routines of feeding time, walks and guarding any open door because he’s always ready to run out and explore.
Having found no trace of anyone searching for him, we are now faced with fostering Machete until someone will take him off of our hands.
I’d be lying if I said this whole experience hasn’t caused me to question my desire to keep chasing after stray dogs. From having taken in Minnie and ultimately deciding to keep her last year, I have always understood that in catching loose canines, you run the risk of getting stuck with them.
And that can be expensive, inconvenient, even — depending on the animal — dangerous to you or your pets.
As I write this, I can see one of our neighbors walking past. A day or so before we caught Machete, he also attempted to capture the dog and failed. A few days later, his family ended up with a big, fluffy black and white dog that was running around, barely able to breathe due to a tether knotted tightly around its neck. I know my neighbor, who has the strange dog and not his own with him now, is experiencing a similar sense of “What have I gotten myself into?”
But what’s the alternative? Letting people-dependent animals roam freely until they die or, even worse, attack a runner, pedestrian or child out of illness, fear and general confusion?
I completely understand that everyone isn’t up to the task of taking in — temporarily or permanently — lost dogs that may or may not rightfully belong to someone else. But getting them off the streets is important, even if you aren’t in the position to care for the animal yourself.
Animal shelters are depressing places, and I hope that we never have to surrender a creature to one and the high probability of death that comes along with that fate (especially for black dogs and cats). But the fact of the matter is that no one wants a neighborhood overrun with half-feral dogs. I have been to cities in Latin America with that problem. It’s scary.
Shelters exist for a reason, and so does the huge network of animal rescue organizations and resources available to people who have lost or found pets.
We are extremely grateful to one local organization, Friends of Halfway Home, which has helped us to help Machete. (Please consider making a donation to Friends if you can.)
Thanks to this group’s amazing support, he’s now neutered (in accordance with Kansas City, Missouri, law for pit bulls), microchipped and up to date on shots.
Unfortunately, Machete happens to be heartworm positive, but he will begin treatment for that next week. We are optimistic that Machete, who is otherwise vigorous and younger than our dog Luke was when he recovered from heartworms, will be just fine.
We are also optimistic that someone will come forward to give this dog a new life in a less crowded home with snuggles to spare. Please contact me if you or anyone you know is interested in adopting Machete. He deserves love.