New shelter will give dogs like Howard a second chance

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As I walked down the concrete sidewalk in the middle of the kennels, the stench of urine hit my nostrils and almost made me wretch. But I was on a mission. We wanted another dog; one whose life we could save. As I spotted him, I looked, and he was to be put down the next day. He had thick white hair, and had once been a beauty, but he had been abused. I put my name on him after I made sure he would walk on a leash. The deputy said, “Are you sure you can handle such a big dog?” Yes was my answer.

My husband came over later, and he selected the same dog. We knew this shelter rescue was right for us. Husband Greg named him Howard. We fell in love, only to learn he had heartworms. So we did the treatment and we began to fatten him up, as he was skin and bones. He was frightened of his own shadow. Someone had beaten this poor animal, and he kept looking up while he ate. The nice deputy said that a farmer had called and said (about Howard), “If you all don’t come and get this starving animal off my farm, I am going to shoot him.”

So, you see, 10-year-old Howard, with his bad teeth and some scars, came into our home. We had him groomed, his nails clipped, and he began to look like the (part) Great Pyrenees that he was. We fell in love. So did our other two dogs. Howard would not take to a dog bed, or a couch. He would only go underneath our bed and stay for hours at a time. It was as if he was looking out to see who was coming for him. He was so afraid!

One day I became very ill. When the paramedics came to take me to the hospital, Howard became aggressive to several people, including our son Asa, and animal control had to be called to assist in that strange situation.

We have a mat outside our front door that reads, “A dog rescued this family.” We lost Howard in the early spring this year. I feel like he had a rotten life despite the saving of his life by the animal control deputies; us adopting him the day before euthanasia; giving him a good home, nourishment, walks, play time, grooming, and lots of rubs, kisses and love.

Even though three-plus years is a short time to have a pet, Howard is fondly remembered as a loving (though sad) dog from the Wilson County Animal Shelter. Thanks, Sheriff Woodard, deputies and all who assist these “fur babies.”

I know this letter is long, but it is important. I say all this to ask: County commissioners, please rethink your budget and set aside the money to build the new animal shelter that we have been paying taxes for all this time. We are willing to help in so many ways.

Don’t forget the “Howards” of Wilson County. Give us a shelter that will do the dogs and cats proud — and give them a chance at a new life in a new loving home.

Bobi Gregory