Sunday, September 22, 2013
Sunday's Grab-Bag: Hercules and Craigslist
Readers you know I try to keep the blog as upbeat as possible and today is no exception. I am going to tell you a happy story about a beautiful dog. However, I would be remiss if I didn't use today's post to caution you about getting animals from the classifieds or Craigslist.
In other words, DO NOT GET or GIVE AWAY PETS THROUGH THE CLASSIFIEDS OR CRAIGSLIST. Hercules was advertised on Craigslist, and he is the subject of our post.
Zoe got Hercules when he was just 5 weeks old (not from Craigslist). He was a bit young, but it was that or to the pound for him so she took him.
She presented him as a birthday gift to her then boyfriend. The yellow lab/German Shepherd Dog mix was playful and bright, and mastered a number of commands as she and her boyfriend worked with him.
Below is an adorable video of puppy Hercules with his basic commands. Just click on the picture.
Zoe and her boyfriend spent every waking minute with Hercules. They both lifeguarded, so they even took him to the pool with them.
As time went by, however, the dynamics of the relationship started to change. Zoe's boyfriend told her she had to stop working with Hercules. She wasn't to feed him, call him, or work on any of his commands with him. He didn't give her any explanation, but rather would just yell at her if she whistled for Hercules or coaxed him.
Obviously this didn't sit well with her. Her boyfriend lived with her, or otherwise wouldn't have even been able to have a dog.
One day, her boyfriend casually mentioned that someone had offered him $850 for Hercules. Zoe's intuition, after her boyfriend's protectiveness of Hercules from her and then this statement, told her something was very wrong. She was especially curious why someone would pay $850 for a mutt.
She started to search the classifieds and Craigslist and guess what she found? A yellow lab/German Shepherd mix named Hercules for sale for $850, and her boyfriend's contact information.
YIKES! WHAT THE CRAP!?! She was steaming, obviously, not to mention heartbroken I'm sure. The good news is she found out about it in time.
She didn't even confront her boyfriend about it. Instead, they broke up, giving him no choice but to move home with his dad, which meant no dogs.
Zoe got to keep Hercules and to this day her boyfriend doesn't even know she saw the ad. Hercules is growing up into a wonderful dog and she is thrilled to have him, as we are thrilled he wound up with her.
It would be great if we could tell ourselves this was a rare and one-time sort of thing, but the truth is there are far too many stories out there like this. You can click this link to "Animal Rights Action" or even just do a quick Google search and you will be able to find more links than you would ever want to about stories like this.
Not only might the animals belong to someone else, as in this case or the MANY cases where pets are stolen right out of their own back yard, but when you give animals away they can become bait dogs, dogs used to fight, used as live food, sold again for a profit, sold to animal testing labs, or used in "animal crushing" videos. Yes, that's a real thing.
Please don't support these practices. Go through a shelter or rescue organization. Use petfinder.com. If you have to give up your pet, don't give it away free to a stranger. You're better off taking it to a shelter if you can't find someone you know and trust. If you can't save it from death you can at least spare it from cruelty.
Of course, the best thing to do is research the costs and responsibilities of getting a pet before you commit to it, and to spay/neuter it right away when you do get one. If some unfortunate circumstance arises where you find yourself with a pet in need of a home, exhaust every possibility you have. Ask your friends, family, neighbors, vet, church, Facebook friends before you even consider an ad in the paper or on Craigslist. And don't give it away for free. Charging at least a little something will weed out some of the more nefarious people.
Getting back to this beautiful dog and his smart mommy Zoe, you can follow her on Instagram at @zoe_odien. It's worth following her just to see Hercules' tongue!
Wiley and I want to thank Zoe so much for having the courage to put herself out there by sharing this story. It's not easy to talk about past relationships that we feel were mistakes, but she did it just so we can see the dangers of and potentially unethical users of Craigslist and spare animals(and their rightful owners) the possible fates that await them.
Please share your story with me. If it's not as dramatic as Hercules and Zoe's that doesn't make it any less relevant! Readers come here because they love animals and they love happy endings. If you have those two things we want to know about it.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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