Puppy Rescue – Scapegoat Style

Here’s a story about a dog named Deanie.

My batshit sister was living in St. Louis with a boyfriend and their pup, Deanie. Boyfriend, having weathered more than enough of sister’s instability, packed up and moved back to Cali. Without Deanie or the sister. So the poor dog got stuck with the Batshit.

Deanie was a truly gorgeous dog. Huge, she was, with the lean, muscular body of a Greyhound and the spotted coat of a Dalmatian. She wasn’t the smartest canine in the world, but she was very sweet. She tried to be. Unfortunately, my sister was severely abusive to her so the sweetness got buried down deep.

I realized this the first time I met Deanie – when I picked her up from the airport, several hours ahead of my sister’s flight. I was in the cargo area, staring at a tiny dog carrier, wondering where in hell Deanie was. The cargo guy waved me over, telling me “She’s in this crate, but it’s too heavy – I can’t lift it.” I thought he was lying – no way could a 50 pound dog fit in a crate designed for a Chihuahua. I walked over to the carrier and sure enough, Deanie had literally been stuffed into it. Her face was all smashed up against the grating. She was marinating in her own body fluids. Ya’ll, it was bad.

I popped opened the crate and was sickened by what I saw. Blood was oozing from her eyes and nose. She was wobbly, could barely stand and her back was completely hunched over. She was only 9 months old and starving. Her rib cage was sticking out (I later learned that my sister was only feeding her a quarter can of dog food a day, period.) I leashed her, coaxed her into my car and drove to my mother’s house, where Deanie and Batshit would be staying.

Deanie before Nini

At mom’s, I let Deanie loose in the backyard. It took awhile, but eventually she was walking as normal as possible, despite her humped back. All was good until later that night, when Batshit arrived.

“Oh my God!” she screamed upon seeing her dog happily romping outside. Shaken, she burst into tears, grabbed Deanie and shoved her back in her crate. My mother immediately began apologizing to Batshit, blaming me for the infraction. After all it was me who did the awful no good deed of letting a dog do what a dog does.

It’s called batshit for a reason, ya’ll.

Thing is – drama always ramped up a notch when the three of us were together. My mother treated me one way, my sister another. Scapegoat & Golden Child. One could do no right, the other could do no wrong – even in the face of all that is illogical, irrational and nonsensical – the roles remained the same: Me bad / her good. Separately, my mother was barely tolerable – but the three of us together? Having my toenails yanked out with pliers would be more preferable.

So as Batshit was was being comforted and coddled by mom, I left. Broke my heart leaving Deanie behind – but I had no choice.

The following day, Batshit called me, asking if I’d keep Deanie for a few months while she looked for a larger apartment for them in St. Louis. Against my better judgement, and because I am, at my core, an animal lover, I agreed. Sure, why not. Give this gorgeous pup a real life, you know?

So I’m back at mom’s to pick up the dog. True to her nature, Batshit burst into another round of hysterics. “Promise me you’ll keep her in her crate!” she cried.

“Oh fuck no” says me. “I’m not taking the crate”.

She turns to mom “I don’t want Deanie catching any diseases! You don’t understand, she can’t be outside! She could die! She has to stay in her crate!”

Then mom starts in on me. “Denise! This is your sister’s dog and you will do as she says, understand? She knows what’s best for Deanie!”

I know, right?

So I’m standing there, leash in hand, trying to calm a shaky, hunched up, half starved terrified dog while the Batshits scream at me about “proper care” for her.

“Fine, give me the crate.”

Halfway home, I dumped the crate in an empty parking lot.

Deanie – after three months with me. Gorgeous!

Sadly, things did not go well for Deanie and me. I already had a dog and the two of them were not feeling each other, at all. Deanie was skittish, snappy & antagonistic. Red (my three legged mutt) was an alpha and doing his best to let her know her place in the pack – they fought all the time. Also turns out that, though no big surprise, my sister had neglected to house train Deanie – she was crapping all over the place. Constantly. I tried everything to break her of it – nothing worked. On the flip side, Deanie put on weight and after spending endless hours running free in the yard, the park, the hills when we’d go hiking – her spine straightened out. She was gorgeous. Still, I believed then (as I do now) that she was so damaged and confused by my sister’s cruelty and abuse – the poor pup had no idea what she was doing, or why, or how to correct it.

After about four months of this – Batshit called to tell me she had no intention of ever taking Deanie back. She even laughed, saying “She’s all yours now”.

Cool, said I. “I’ll find another home for her“.

Batshit went, well, batshit. Lost her mind and started screaming “She’s my dog and you will not give her away!”

Then she called our mother, who called me, screaming that I’d better not give Deanie away.

Then she called our grandmother, who called me, screaming that I’d better not give Deanie away.

Then she got a few acquaintances (she has no friends) in St. Lou to call me, screaming that I’d better not give Deanie away.

She even called a few of my exes (cause she has none of her own) who called me, telling me I had no right to give Deanie away.

Know what? 1- Not one of those sorry motherfucking flying monkeys offered to take Deanie or 2) considered the hypocrisy of Batshit physically abusing her dog, jamming her in a crate, shipping her half way across the country, and abandoning her.

That’s how good Batshit is at faking emotional breakdowns.

My response to them?

Fuck all ya’ll bitches.

I placed an ad that day and the very next morning, a young, athletic guy showed up in an open top Jeep. Swear, he looked like an ad out of an Australian Outback travel magazine – brawny, muscular, free wheeling. We sat. We chatted. I told him all about Deanie’s history of abuse and big heart. Deanie, meanwhile, was all over this guy – tail wagging, licking his face, all kinds of happy barking. They say children and animals have an innate sense of the good (and evil) in people and I believe that with everything in me. It was a love fest, ya’ll. I asked him to please call me if things didn’t work out cause despite all her craziness – I loved that dog. Then I watched as Deanie jump into the passenger side of the jeep and rode off into the sunset with her new human.

He called a few week later, thanking me for Deanie. Best thing that ever happened to him, he told me. First time I’d ever heard the term “Road Dawg”. They did everything together – hiking, caving in the desert, camping on the beach. He owned a motorcycle shop and his customer’s loved coming in and seeing Deanie at his side. She was safe. Spoiled. And truly loved.

I rang my sister and told her all about Deanie’s successful adoption. You know, just to brighten her day. Guess what? She hopped on the first flight to mommy’s, calling me to announce that she’s “Back to reclaim her dog”.

Bawhahahaha!  I hung up on her.

Barely three minutes passed when my mother called, screaming horrible things at me and threatening to take me to court over Deanie. Again, I hung up. My older sister called to tell me what a horrible person I was to kidnap Deanie, only to turn around have her euthanized. Hell she even had my grandmother calling me, telling me how heartbroken she was over my decision to kill Deanie.

THIS. IS. WHAT. TRIANGULATION. LOOKS. LIKE. With a nice dollop of smear campaigning to spice things up a bit. This is what my sister did to her dog, To me. And to everyone she lied too trying to shame me for finding a wonderful home for the dog she dumped.

So days later when she and our mother were banging on my door, demanding that I give them the address of Deanie’s new owner so they could take her back – I handed them the photo I’d taken of Deanie in the jeep with her new owner. She was healthy, glowing, tail wagging and most importantly of all – she was FREE. And very much loved.

They were livid. I told them I understood – it’s fucked up knowing your dog is happier without you. They ranted, raved, carried on, more threats and losing themselves in their hysterical accusations. I ended up grabbing a note pad and scrawling a fake address somewhere in Needles – a desert town some 200 miles away. “Fine. Here you go. Go get your dog back”.

Oh yes I did.  

They never forgave me for that. Even better – they stopped speaking to me for a year! It was a really, really good year.

Only in a toxic family can you do the right thing, and be disowned for it.

Fuck ’em.

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