I know it’s the day before Christmas and I should be posting things that are happy and joyful, but I am sitting here with my soul in pain. Last night, I was scrolling through Facebook, just seeing what people are up to, what their Christmas plans are, how their holiday season is going, stuff like that when I came across a video post that my best friend had shared. The title of the video post was something along the lines of “What this dog does when it realizes it is being rescued after years of abuse will break melt your heart.” Innocent enough. I was thinking I was clicking on a feel good thing. It turned out to be the most devastating thing I have ever seen in my entire life. If you love a dog, like dogs, have any good feelings toward dogs, I would recommend not watching the video if you should come across it.
The video shows this emaciated, German Sheppard looking dog that is cowering in a corner as a person is slowly and gently approaching it. The dog is screaming. I had no idea that dogs could scream. It is the most horrible sound and does not even sound like a dog. The person is trying to pet it, comfort it, rubbing its head tentatively and gently. The dog turns toward the person, who is squatting down, places its head in the gap created by the persons legs and head as they crouch, and the dog stops screaming, pleads a little, and gives a little lick to the person’s face. This is where I think the title for this post comes from. It looks as if the dog is thanking the person, but it is not. If you pay attention to the dog’s body language, it is hoping that this person won’t hurt them, trying things that may have worked once along its long, horrible road of abuse to keep the abuser from hurting them, if even for a second. Then the dog turns away, screams a bit more, cowers in the corner, again, for a minute, the turns out of the corner, as if looking for a hiding spot, a way to get away.
I sat watching the video in shock, waiting for this wonderful moment that the title promised me. When the video finished, I just started crying, uncontrollably. My heart and soul have been damaged in a way I could have gone my whole life without experiencing. This is not a video that I think anyone should ever have to see. No dog should ever figure out how to scream in terror.
I know dog abuse happens, much more than one would ever want to begin to believe it does. I know it. I’m aware of the abuse that still happens despite all of the animal cruelty laws, rescue organizations, high levels of public information about animal abuse and the extreme wrongness of it. The image of that dog, of hearing it scream, learning that dogs can scream in terror, was more than my soul could handle. I am a mess. I keep having the image of that dog in the corner screaming run through my head and its like a semi truck running over my heart with spiked tires.
I keep trying to let it go. There is nothing I can do about that dog, and it was rescued. It is no longer being subjected to the inhumane treatment that no one – animal, human, or otherwise – should ever, ever have to experience. To scream in all-consuming terror at the very sight of someone approaching is something no one should be able to even conceive doing, experiencing, witnessing.
I don’t know what to do with the soul-shattering feelings this video has brought me. Perhaps this is a grieving process that needs to happen. I do not think I will ever quite be the same. There is a huge difference between knowing that there are dogs out there being abused, that there are people who should be given the same abuse as they have given a dog or dogs, and actually seeing a dog that has lost all sense of living and has nothing but terror in its life.
I think today, I will need to pray, to meditate, to somehow find peace inside of myself to help my heart and soul heal from what they have learned and witnessed.