Today should be the first installment of WINK Wednesday. But it is a special day that supercedes WINK Wednesday because it is the 5th anniversary of my dog, Olive April, coming to live with me after being pulled from the home of some animal hoarders.
It is also my Mom’s birthday, so, shout out to Mom!
It also would have been the 16th birthday of my sweet kitty, Sabrina Sally Sue, who passed away last year.
April is a bittersweet month.
This is a story of horror, neglect, and leaving the house looking like a soccer-playing prostitute who aspires to be Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation. It is also an update of the story of one of the 800 dogs who were pulled from a triple-wide mobile home in Arizona.
More specifically, this is the story of my little Olive April, or as she’s known on this blog, Olive the Bad-Ass Mother Truckin’ Renegade. Olive the Renegade was pulled from this mobile home with all her paws intact and, as far as I know, not in labor with puppies. Which is more than I can say for a lot of the other dogs pulled from the mobile home that day.
I know what you are all thinking: WHAT kind of sick people keep 800 dogs in a triple-wide mobile home!? They should be dragged through the streets with TWO big scarlet A’s on their chests for “Animal Abuser.” Unfortunately, there are two problems with that scenario:
1. People would just think it was some new AA hazing ritual and then alcoholics would never want to join AA because they would be terrified of the public shaming.
2. These people were hoarders. And yes, I know you all have binge-watched Animal Hoarders on Netflix and want to storm the homes of these people with torches and pitchforks, but it can’t work like that. And also, you need an updated way to storm peoples’ homes.
When I managed that animal control facility in Iowa, I had to go in on a hoard situation where the woman had 200 poodles in her house. Also, her husband had committed suicide in front of her a year earlier. So yes, we do feel bad for the dogs.
But she fucking watched her husband commit suicide.
Sidenote: the police decided to wait until I was just about to enter the house to health check the dogs to let me know she hadn’t cleaned up the remaining mess left behind by the crime scene investigators, and the coroner’s office. Assholes.
So it’s easy to be angry at these people when we watch the sliced and diced versions of animal hoarding we see on TV, but there is often much more to the story than we realize and, many times, these people warrant a bit of compassion.
Except the lady in that one epsiode who was hoarding chickens in plastic bins in her trailer and had three-legged goats. She was truly a wretched evil incarnate of Satan himself, and I hope a bird craps on her face.
Back to Olive the Renegade.
Olive came to me in April, the month after the big bust in Arizona went down. She was transferred from Arizona, all the way to the Marin Humane Society, in a covert operation called, “Operation Tiny Teacup.” From what I understand, Seal Team 5 (not to be confused with Seal Team 6, who killed Bin Laden) were sent in to grab the dogs from the Southern Arizona Humane Society (SAHS) who, despite being a non-profit organization that is always accepting donations, inexplicably has an impressive helicopter landing pad, and kennel staff who are secretly trained in military-style, hand-to-hand combat. The dogs were then stuffed into the choppers and immediately flown to California to the other non-profit animal shelter who is always accepting donations, the Marin Humane Society (MHS). Once at MHS, army medical personnel were waiting to unload the dogs, triage them, and then pump them full of highly addictive doggy pain medication that would later turn many of those tiny little dogs into addicts, leaving them to troll the streets for table scraps while they awaited their next “fix.”
Witnesses said it was the most darling display of drug addiction they had ever seen.
Wait, I think they were just loaded up and trucked in by SAHS volunteers, and then met by MHS shelter volunteers. That makes way more sense. Disregard the last paragraph.
It just so happens that, at the time of all this tiny teacup madness, I was in the market for a small dog. I already had two chihuahuas and needed a third to complete my act, “Jessica and the Yappy Dogs Three.” We were a song and dance group, but finally had to break up due to differences of direction and complaints from stage managers about all of the tiny puddles of pee they kept finding backstage.
I had a very nervous bladder.
The first chihuahua that I had was only a few years old, so it wasn’t long before we decided she needed a playmate. I dangerously looked on Petfinder.com to view adoptable chihuahuas and, since it is California, we are lousy with chihuahuas. Seriously, people need to stop with chihuahua breeding already. You did it, we’re full. Good job. You know how to make lots of tiny dogs with your boy dog and girl dog. You’re practically God. Now knock it off.
As I scrolled through the pages and pages of chihuahuas available for adoption, I, being someone who worked in the animal adoption biz for many years, naturally zeroed in on the 12-year old, partially blind chihuahua available through a rescue group I knew well. I decided that we NEEDED to adopt that one. So we did.
Then upon noticing that a 12-year-old, partially blind dog is a horrible playmate for a dog who is only the tender age of 2, we struck out to find yet another chihuahua. Preferably a young one who could see.
About this time, we heard about the MHS Operation Tiny Teacup, with all these dogs who had been
helicoptered in trucked in from Arizona. And since my background is what it is, I breezed right past the hundreds of other applications for the tiny dogs that MHS had received, and immediately got a call back from one of the shelter staff, who was also a friend of one of my coworkers.
“I received your application and it is perfect, we love getting people with animal backgrounds adopting from us,” she said, enthusiastically, “and since you have the background that you do, we saved one of our most fucked up chihuahuas for you!”
Ok, she didn’t really say that. She actually said, “We have a few left who are special needs because they are exhibiting more behavioral issues than the others, and I think you may be a good fit for one named ‘Rosie'”.
And since working in the animal rescue field usually means that you have “BIG FAT SUCKER” white-inked on your forehead, and also makes you prone to bringing home 12-year-old blind dogs, 3-legged pit bulls, and cats in renal failure, I gleefully shouted, “YAY! I will gladly take your most fucked up dog because nothing brings me more joy than caring for the most mentally screwed up dog I can get my hands on!”
And with that, Rosie became “Olive” and she came home with me.
And it was later that night that I accidentally sent her flying headfirst into a wall, which ended up in a trip to the doggy emergency room.
Would Olive survive her head injury?
Did she ever forgive me for accidentally flinging her headfirst into a wall?
WHEN did I leave the house looking like a soccer-playing prostitute who aspired to look like Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation?
Read here for the exciting conclusion of “Operation: Rescue Olive.”