Today, my partner and I are taking on a major commitment. We’re adopting a dog. This is not out of the blue; we’ve been discussing it for a few years now, but until recently circumstances have not been optimal for integrating one into our home. With me now working from home on my thesis, we agreed that this is the best time for it, but simply hadn’t found the right dog yet.
We found her yesterday. She’s a rescue, but not the kind you may be thinking of. She doesn’t come from the local humane society or a no-kill nonprofit. Though her litter has only just become available for adoption, she’s no longer a puppy.
She was born in the gutter on the streets of Kabul in Afghanistan, where contact with dogs is taboo under hadith. A local teacher volunteering in the city found mother and pups. I won’t delve too deep into his story, as it’s his to tell; the most pertinent details are well-documented here and here.
My partner and I met the mother, now called Emma, yesterday. Despite the horrors she has been subjected to – her ears were sliced off and her tail half-amputated, a calculated abuse beyond the realm of kicks and thrown rocks – she is a sweet, affectionate and even-tempered dog. Her puppies, now young dogs, inherited her disposition and though currently untrained, display all the characteristics of successful companion animals. Regardless of what one may think of the effort and resources poured into these dogs to bring them here, they are here now and they deserve better than what they were born to.
For me, the most important thing is this: They embody both the depths of human cruelty and the heights of human compassion. I am not fit to judge the circumstances into which they were born, nor do I have the benefit of the personal experience that informed the drive to bring them here, but I am fit to give one a better life than she would otherwise have had.