It was a dark and stormy night....
isn't that how all great stories start?
But... it was a stormy night when the call came in. Deborah Miller, a friend with the ASPCA in Manhattan, was on the other end of the line. She had a case that left her in a panic - an emaciated, aggressive Doberman had been beaten with a pipe, locked in a closet in an abandoned building and left to die on a short chain and pinch collar. Deborah was afraid to tranquilize the dog due to her fragile state. She emphasized that the situation was critical and that time was of the essence. Without hesitation, I knew I had to act.
Deborah wasted no time in alerting the appropriate authorities that I was on my way to the emergency, urgently pursuing a solution to the animal's suffering. Racing through the night in my IROC, I could feel the weight of the situation heavy on my chest. I could hear the dog's frantic cries echoing in my mind, urging me to hurry. When I arrived at the old crack house in record time, the sight that greeted me was overwhelming. Nearly three dozen emergency personnel were inside, trying to calm the dog.
Deborah spotted me and called out, "Hal, I'm glad you're here!" But when I asked the emergency crew to vacate the building, they were confused. What did I mean? Deborah intervened and told them, "He's here to take the dog out." They all filed out to wait in front of the building.
It took two long hours to coax the dog down from her state of terror. I talked to her, offered her treats, and slowly but surely, she began to settle. But every time she pulled on her tether, the rattling sound of the chain set her off again. It was a constant battle to keep her calm.
Finally, I decided to take a risk. I got in backwards, sidled up to her, and started touching her. Slowly, I reached around to get my leash on her collar and unhooked the other one. We got up and walked out to the amazement of all the people. It was a moment of triumph and the end of chaos.
Once we made it to the ASPCA, I asked Deborah if she had a camera. She grabbed it from her desk, and I told her, "When I say now, take a picture." With a deep breath, I lifted up the hide on her back, stepped away and said, "Now!" The flash went off, and the photo showed the hide- still extended outwards. It just slowly drizzled back around the dog's body.
Deborah shook her head in disbelief. "Wow! Should we put her down? What do you think her chances of survival are?" But I was adamant. "I say 100 percent! I'm taking this dog home!" Deborah was stunned. "Really?!" I replied, "It's a Doberman! I love my Dobies!"