When Wookie first arrived in rescue I felt awful for him but I also felt terrible for his family. I searched online classifieds in the Ottawa/Gatineau area for "missing schnauzer" ads but found nothing. Stray dogs always rip away at my heart just a little more than others because I wonder if their owners are looking for them. I imagined them knocking on doors, calling out his name, and suffering through many sleepness nights. Having shared lost dog stories for the past two years, I know just how difficult it can be to find a lost pet. Even if a shelter is pro-active enough to scan for a microchip (and some just don't care), not all microchips and scanners are compatible so it may not even read the chip. Or in the case of Halladay, it might go missing.
But then I started to get to know Wookie and much of what he displayed seemed to say that he'd been abused. He would duck his head if your hand came near him and he was always on the look out. He wanted nothing to do with Randie and I in the very beginning, and he seemed to be afraid.
More often than not, those of us involved in rescue tend to presume the worst about the history of a dog we've rescued: they were abused, left out in the cold, ignored, used for breeding and discarded, neglected -- the list goes on. Basically, their people didn't love them enough and that's why they ended up in a shelter.
I don't know why we do this, but we do. And the worst part of it all is that it doesn't make us feel any better and it really just makes things harder for the dog while they try to cope with these new changes. Imagine if something bad happened to you and people spent the rest of your life throwing you pity parties and saying "Aww, that poor Bob" every time they saw you.
Newsflash: Bob doesn't really care. He just wants to go pee on that tree over there and make some new friends.
I stopped feeling bad for Wookie long ago but that doesn't prevent me from wondering what his life was like before us. Was he happy? Was he loved? Did he sing his off-key schnauzer song for them the same way he sings it for us?
I used to imagine Wookie running through the streets, lost and scared, looking for his people. But truthfully, that's not my boy. More than likely he was looking for some cats or squirrels to chase, found some noms along the way, and decided to continue on with his adventure to see what kinds of shenanigans he could get himself into. He may have rescued a family from a burning building along the way, drank some beers with Stephen Harper afterwards, and then learned how to do the tango. When you're a schnauzer on the run the possibilities are endless.
If your dog's past is a mystery, what kinds of stories have you come up with?