Thursday, May 01, 2003

the diary of a storm

Thursday, May 1, 2003

Today I learned there is a dog named Storm. Now, that would not be of much interest to most people, but Storm is not your usual dog. He is currently experiencing unemployment and will, most likely, never work again. His owner has expressed some desire to have him adopted. I have expressed a reciprocal desire to adopt him. If his owner finds me suitable. If Storm finds me suitable. I will let you know how that turns out, but today I want to tell you what I know about him.

Storm is a trained 'search and rescue' dog. It seems even in the canine world there is career specialization. He was trained to find survivors. His job was to go into to burned out or collapsed buildings, or caved in caves and dig among the rubble to sniff out survivors. His first big assignment was in New York City, at the site now known as Ground Zero. He was sent from Louisiana to find survivors.

And he failed. He looked. He dug until his paws were burned and continued to dig. He dug until his stomach was burned and continued to dig. He became desperate and despondent because there were no survivors for him to find. Only cadavers. He was not trained to find cadavers. Other dogs were trained for that.

When the burns became too painful to look at, and hope of finding anyone alive was exhausted, Storm was sent home to his trainer. He arrived home discouraged and with a real sense of failure. He had not been able to do his job. He had not been successful. He had been taught that if he did what he was trained to do he would find someone alive. And he failed to do that. Dogs thus trained want nothing more than to please their trainers, to do the job they were trained to do so they can wag their tail at the end of the day and know they deserve that pat on the head.

Storm was unable to wag. His trainer hoped he would recover with time and special care, but he has not. Two and a half years later, Storm appears to suffer from something similar to "failure to thrive." He is not dying, but he cannot maintain a healthy weight. He continues to be despondent and unsuitable for work. He is loved by his trainer, but living in a kennel where dogs are trained to assist in search and rescue is not the same as living as a family pet. It is hoped that if he finds the love of a family he will recover his love of life.

Moose the beagle, expert at "licking the love back into ya,'" and I hope we are found to be suitable. However, if a family can be found with little children abounding with glee, I will be just as happy for Storm to be with them. I only know that I cannot let him stay in the kennel. With all the sadness he has inside.

I will keep you posted on the outcome.

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