Harry The Rescue Schnauzer's Tragic Death Caused By Adopter
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
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.
Photos of Harry - In Happier Times, With MeClick thumbnail to view full-size
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?
didn't have to die today.
A Silly Drawing I Made Of Harry Years Ago
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
Duel Debate Module
Should people who abandon dogs at the pound be allowed to adopt other dogs from Rescue?
Books That Have Been Recommended To Me
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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...
November Is National Senior Pet Month!!