Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Milton sunning himself.

A few weeks ago a sanitation department worker from a neighboring county called Project Hope asking for help for a dog she'd seen on several occasions. She explained his plight and I responded. I set a trap, went for tea and very shortly thereafter received the call I was hoping for - the little matted dog was in the trap. The trap was set just outside the Sheriff’s Office and an inmate aided me in carrying the trap to the van. I asked his name and he responded, “Milton, my name is Milton.” I asked if he would like me to name the dog after him. He was so sweet in helping and expressed such concern for the little dog. So Milton it was.

Milton was left behind when his “guardian” moved out of his life. I know the area he came from well. I know that there are caring people that provided food for him once they realized he was at risk, but except for sustaining him, there was no remedy for his homelessness. Frightened and hopeless, Milton had already been chased off several times by property owners who didn't want him hanging around.

I took Milton to Dr. Abernathy for an exam, bath, shave, and assessment. He was scared and defensive at the clinic and had to be sedated for the exam and shave.

Once back at the Sanctuary, his mood greatly improved. It was as if seeing the other happy dogs made him feel a hope he'd not had in a while.

In no time at all Milton pranced, literally skipped, and definitely smiled. He wouldn’t allow us to touch him, but would climb up and sleep on my legs when he thought I’d slipped off into dreamland. This precious happy little fellow was blossoming.

Yesterday I noticed Milton’s right ear was troubling him. He was due for another shave, and he probably needed a dental exam. As any of these procedures would require sedation, it only made sense to sedate him to ease his concerns.

This morning I picked little Milton up from his overnight vet visit - I could hear his terrified cries from the kennel area. As I’m welcome in most areas of the clinic I went to aid the staff member handling him and to help ease his fear. Milton had chewed the leash bound to him in half and was just starting to realize he could flee - which he then did - becoming wedged behind some crates. I placed his crate near the ones he’d wedged himself behind and put my hand on his shoulders. He was terrified and uttered a weak growl. I gave him a minute and then gently eased him around and aimed him towards the open crate. He went in and quickly settled down.

Back at the Sanctuary, as Milton’s little feet touched the ground he began to skip. He went to check out his favorite hangouts and then joined the grazers. For the rest of the day Milton was my shadow.

Hard to believe he was referred to as vicious, even dangerous this morning. I spoke up like any good guardian would and said he was just misunderstood. I know the concerns for his behavior were real, but it was a stab to this loving guardian's heart.

I know there’s a world of suffering out there, but here in this little haven of hope there is safety and security for animals who have suffered traumas, like Milton, that we can only try to understand.


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