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Harry The Rescue Schnauzer's Tragic Death Caused By Adopter

Updated on October 27, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Meet Harry The Miniature Schnauzer

Harry was an adorable, scruffy, tiny 9 pound Miniature Schnauzer whom I met when my rescue, Sheila's Schnauzies, picked him up from a shelter six years ago. He had been found wandering the streets of Grand Island, Nebraska in a snowstorm! He spent six years with me because he was... a problem child. He had this habit of biting and would not stop it, no matter what... so he stayed with me.

I have countless memories of this little guy - he was truly adorable and had one very strong little personality! (His way, or the highway!) I think the high point of his life was the week we were moving to a new home and he got to be "only dog" with me and Daddy for that whole week. He went everywhere with us and had a fabulous time! Harry loved to go bye-bye in the car, and would actually behave very well! His big hates in life were anything to do with grooming (and I have the scars to prove it!!) and being held, except when he rode in the car. Then he loved it.

Harry never wanted to play with toys. His big thing was napping! That, and barking incessantly at the squirrels in our yard. He stayed on patrol every time he was outside. No creature wandered in without his knowing it.

Harry had his favorite furfriends among our other dogs, and his not-so-favorites... although he was tiny he had a mighty bark and would loudly voice his disapproval to Scrappy Jack, he had developed a real dislike for him for some reason lately. But still, we loved him.

He "miraculously" (so I thought at the time) found a forever home in 2010... at least we thought so. This is the story of what happened to Harry, shared in hopes that it will teach a lesson to other rescuers to prevent it from happening to another furkid... ever.

Schnauzie Crossing The Bridge by SheilaSchnauzies

Schnauzie Crossing The Bridge by SheilaSchnauzies
Schnauzie Crossing The Bridge by SheilaSchnauzies

In Memory of Harry Schnauzer

Went to Rainbow Bridge October 25, 2011

I received a call from one of my rescue's volunteers, Sheryl, this morning. She had recognized Harry in an email from another rescue appealing to save his life because he had been dumped into a city kill shelter in Missouri. As soon as I hung up, I called the shelter to let them know we would be coming down from Omaha to pick Harry up as we were his rightful owners.

The agreement with the person who adopted Harry stated if he did not work out, we were to be notified and we would take him back. That's the standard policy with all of our adoptions. Unfortunately, she chose to ignore that. Instead, after having him for many months, she contacted a different rescue in her area for help. They agreed to help her but she never called them back. She was leaving on vacation and it was more convenient for her to dump him.

A co-worker of hers notified someone in rescue of what was going on, and they started to do their job - spreading the word that he urgently needed to be saved. That was the email that reached my volunteer.

When I reached the animal shelter by phone, I was told Harry had been euthanized just this morning. I was a couple of hours too late to save him. The shelter workers were just sick about it, and so was everyone involved in rescue - they had found a permanent adoption placement for him and were going to pick him up today!

So, poor little Harry ended his life confused and terrified at age 12 in a cage in a shelter. The workers assured me they gave Harry a lot of love before they put him down. I can take small comfort in that, but this dog did not deserve this kind of end, no matter what. Harry, may God give you a safe journey to Rainbow Bridge. Please forgive me for placing you with that bad person. I love you.

Rescuers And Dog Adopters, What Can We Learn From This?

This was a completely avoidable tragedy.

I have spent most of the day thinking about how I can prevent this from ever happening again. A couple of things have occurred to me.

- If I had microchipped Harry with our rescue's info, they would have found it and notified us when he was dumped at the pound.

- If I had made more follow-up calls to the new owner, maybe she would have let me know there was a problem. But how much can/should you bother a new owner within reason?

- Definitely more thorough background checks will be done on future adopters. I've learned my lesson about trust.

Here is a photo taken of Harry that I received with the email. Obviously he was not being well cared for and looked scared and lonely, and the spark had gone out of his eyes.

Appeal to Rescue Dog Adopters

There IS Help Available!

Please, if your adopted rescue dog is not working out for ANY reason, contact the shelter/rescue group you adopted it from. They will always take the dog back or find someone who will. Leaving the dog at a public animal shelter is usually equal to signing its death sentence. You don't want that. The dog doesn't deserve that. Please, just make the phone call or send the email and get help. It's there for you.

Harry Playing With Six Furfriends!

Don't Leave The Rescue Dog At The Pound!

Leaving the dog at a public animal shelter is usually equal to signing its death sentence. You don't want that. The dog doesn't deserve that.

Furry Love...

Furry Love...
Furry Love...

Photos of Harry - In Happier Times, With Me

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Somebody got a haircut...Z-z-z-z-z-zHarry loves nappie time.Harry with DaddyHarry in his baby onesieHarry, being HarryHarry got to go on a big bye-bye to visit my BFF Sally in Kansas City.Harry lying on BooBoo - hey, it was soft!Again, that favorite activity...Harry with buddies Koby and Monty
Somebody got a haircut...
Somebody got a haircut...
Z-z-z-z-z-z
Z-z-z-z-z-z
Harry loves nappie time.
Harry loves nappie time.
Harry with Daddy
Harry with Daddy
Harry in his baby onesie
Harry in his baby onesie
Harry, being Harry
Harry, being Harry
Harry got to go on a big bye-bye to visit my BFF Sally in Kansas City.
Harry got to go on a big bye-bye to visit my BFF Sally in Kansas City.
Harry lying on BooBoo - hey, it was soft!
Harry lying on BooBoo - hey, it was soft!
Again, that favorite activity...
Again, that favorite activity...
Harry with buddies Koby and Monty
Harry with buddies Koby and Monty

Please Take This Poll About Preventing Tragedies Like Harry's! - Thank You!

To prevent this happening, what do you think would be the single best action for a rescue to take?

See results

Harry...

didn't have to die today.

A Silly Drawing I Made Of Harry Years Ago

A Silly Drawing I Made Of Harry Years Ago
A Silly Drawing I Made Of Harry Years Ago

YouTube

Harry In 2005

Harry In 2005
Harry In 2005

The Most Important Thing

If you need to get rid of a dog you have adopted, please Google for any dog rescue in your area. They're everywhere. Don't abandon animals at the pound, PLEASE. We are there to help you! If we can't take the dog, we will work to find someone who will.

Harry Napping With Furfriends, 2006

Harry Napping With Furfriends, 2006
Harry Napping With Furfriends, 2006

Duel Debate Module

Should people who abandon dogs at the pound be allowed to adopt other dogs from Rescue?

No, it's a conscious decision to abandon the dog and is unacceptable for ANY reason.

No, it's a conscious decision to abandon the dog and is unacceptable for ANY reason.

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    • JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Pet adoption should be taken more seriously. If one pet is abandoned without consequences, it's just too easy to abandon another pet for *whatever* reason.

    • norma-holt 5 years ago

      No, if they are so irresponsible

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Hell NO!!! Pets aren't disposable - like some damned toy that you can get rid of when you get bored of it and go get a new, funner one.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      NO. Dogs can be trained, changed, loved humans are the "old dog that can't learn the new trick" to love unconditionally. If they do it once they WILL do it again. They won't see the problem in what they did and will take in another dog at some point and won't be able to adjust, again and again. They WANT to love and be loved unconditionally but they don't know how.

    • BeyondRoses 5 years ago

      Anyone that abandons a dog, should not be allowed to adopt another dog. Sadly, when caring for the animal is inconvenient for them, they would just abandon another one.

    • ProsperityNow LM 5 years ago

      Heck NO! Once you abandon a pet at a shelter, you shouldn't be allowed to have a pet rock.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Absolutely NOT.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      no if they dump 1 they will dump others. screw them humans that would do that to a furbabie

    • I-sparkle 5 years ago

      Absolutely not.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Absolutely NOT!

    • coolgrey 5 years ago

      NO! What I think of people that do this is unprintable.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      You could at least give it away for free to someone else but if you just drop it at the shelter where it could be put to death due to no one wanting him, no way do those people get to choose another from Rescue.

    Yes, stuff happens, people should be given another chance.

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      • Wendy Hughes 5 years ago from Charlotte

        This is off topic but I have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and have MANY joint replacements. I wrote a lens entitled "Why My Head is on Crooked." My name Luv2help is a reflection of my plans to assist anyone who has questions about surgery (I've had over 40). I wish you the best and I'm happy to answer any questions. I understand if you need to delete this comment as it is off topic :) Best wishes and thanks for being a contributor in our delicate world. :)

      We Appreciate Your Help!

      Sheila's Schnauzies is a nonprofit organization. We have let our official 501(c)(3) status go due top the expense of maintaining it.

      If you would like to make a donation to help us with our work with Miniature Schnauzer rescues, you may do so by Paypal to SheilaSchnauzies@gmail.com. Or if you prefer another means of donation, please email me at sheilaschnauzies@gmail.com.

      Thank you for your kindness. Photo: My daughter Cari with Harry in 2007.

      Harry Napping With Baby Ivy - They Are Together Again Now At Rainbow Bridge

      They were good friends while Ivy was a rescue baby with us. She was, unbelievably, half schnauzer and half pit bull! A sweet girl. We miss her.

      Harry's Friends At Rainbow Bridge - They Were Waiting To Greet Him!

      Click thumbnail to view full-size
      Sparky LynnSarahCase with DuckSarah and BonnieTeddy Bear, belonging to my friend AnnieBaxter, adopted by friends/volunteers Sheryl & BobSparky a/k/a Pookie looking pretty!Sparky loved the fish!Sparky with Baby Ivy, together again at Rainbow Bridge
      Sparky Lynn
      Sparky Lynn
      Sarah
      Sarah
      Case with Duck
      Case with Duck
      Sarah and Bonnie
      Sarah and Bonnie
      Teddy Bear, belonging to my friend Annie
      Teddy Bear, belonging to my friend Annie
      Baxter, adopted by friends/volunteers Sheryl & Bob
      Baxter, adopted by friends/volunteers Sheryl & Bob
      Sparky a/k/a Pookie looking pretty!
      Sparky a/k/a Pookie looking pretty!
      Sparky loved the fish!
      Sparky loved the fish!
      Sparky with Baby Ivy, together again at Rainbow Bridge
      Sparky with Baby Ivy, together again at Rainbow Bridge

      Harry Day of Rescue November 2005 - He looked huge until I picked him up!

      Harry was a real challenge to groom, apparently he had never been before. He looked like a completely different dog afterward. The hair weighed more than he did!

      This Kind Of Seems To Fit...

      Condolence Card Received - I thought this was so sweet...

      Don't Forget!

      November Is National Senior Pet Month!!

      Please Sign For Harry

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        • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
          Author

          Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

          @KimGiancaterino: Kim, thanks so much for your kind words. My heart is still hurting almost a year later, and it probably always will... but I do have peace knowing he was happy with me. The rest of it just makes me sick at heart. Good for you rescuing those kitties and being so careful about who they go to! Thanks again... -Sheila

        • KimGiancaterino profile image

          KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

          P.S. I agree with Kathy that taking legal action against the adopter would likely be futile. Best to concentrate on animals that need help now. The person who abandoned Harry must live with that selfish deed.

        • KimGiancaterino profile image

          KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

          I'm currently fostering four "death row" kitties and will be very particular about who, if anyone, adopts them. My experience is that people who take possession rarely call the rescuer if there are problems. They dump animals at public shelters where the road ends for most. Mine are all microchipped, but I'm still reluctant to let go to just anyone. RIP Harry. Certainly this was not your fault, and I hope you find peace in knowing that you gave Harry so much love while he was in your care.

        • julescorriere profile image

          Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

          This is such a heartbreaking story. I wish I had the right words to share, but I can't find them.

        • squidoopets profile image

          Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

          Thank God Harry had you for those six years. What a lovely tribute to a beautiful boy.

        • Auntiekatkat profile image

          Auntiekatkat 5 years ago

          Congrats on being nominated for Community Favorite Lenses of 2011. A wonderful lens. Fortunately we both share one thing it was easier to vote than for most as mine was my "why-I-am a- vegetarian was nominated as well. A proud moment for all of us. Good luck in the voting.

        • Dianne Loomos profile image

          Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

          So sorry for Harry and you.

        • JoyfulReviewer profile image

          JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

          What a heart-wrenching story! Congratulations on being one of the final 100 favorite Squidoo lenses of 2011!

        • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

          Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

          Your reminder is so important...just make the call, and not put them in the pound! Very sad about Harry, although suing the adopter isn't something that I would guess would have a lot of benefit for anyone. To me, the lessons you learned are the most beneficial. *Blessed*

        • OhMe profile image

          Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

          Back to congratulate you on being in the Top 100 Community Favorites.

        • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
          Author

          Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

          @norma-holt: Thank you very much for that!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Hello, I just ran across your story of Harry while looking for Cyber Monday deals. It is absolutely horrible what people can do to animals! This woman couldn't find someone to watch him while she went on her precious vacation? Asinine! Hopefully this woman doesn't have any kids or she might drop them off at an orphanage the next time her vacation rolls around.

          I believe in Heaven and I know that Harry is there, waiting.

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 5 years ago

          Very sad story. Featured this on Top 10 Dog Tributes

        • HomeArtist1 profile image

          Wendy Hughes 5 years ago from Charlotte

          I'm feeling SO sad now for Harry. He may have loved you and your family and couldn't love someone who was obviously far less committed. I truly hope this woman is brought to justice; she did so little to help her situation and made wrong choices. Dogs are not heartless; they know and feel far more than we give them credit for!

          Best wishes in your fight for justice!

          HUGS & SMILES

          ~Wendy

        • profile image

          BeyondRoses 5 years ago

          So sad Harry didn't get his forever home. Some people can be so heartless. I can imagine him scared, and alone. A sad ending for a sweet little dog. I'm sorry you couldn't save him again.

        • Timewarp profile image

          Paul 5 years ago from Montreal

          What a sad story, I will give my Schnauzer Max some extra scruffles just for Harry. Harry reminds me a lot of my dog who was also skinny and wild misbehaved I got him but he is a little gentleman now.

        • choosehappy profile image

          Vikki 5 years ago from US

          Blessed by a squid angel;)

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Feel sorry for Harry. Thanks for sharing this touching story!

        • Paul Ward profile image

          Paul 5 years ago from Liverpool, England

          Thank you for telling a difficult story so well. Angel Blessed.

        • VarietyWriter2 profile image

          VarietyWriter2 5 years ago

          Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

        • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

          hughgrissettsr lm 5 years ago

          heartbreaking story ! i have 2 dogs, a chihuahua and a shi tsu and would be devasted if any thing happened to them. yhey are such lovable, loyal creatures.

        • coolgrey profile image

          coolgrey 5 years ago

          I wish I were in a position to send you a donation. I wish you well and will help spread the word through my Facebook account. Kind regards

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          we have a medium sized yorkshire terror, we got her from a shelter just before Christmas last year at Petsmart. We love our dog and were grateful to take one from a place that she had to find a home, if I had a angel to give you I would, for now a 'thumbs up' will have to do.