Puppy Rescue ~Conclusion
I travel often and talk about human trafficking, the trauma of child sexual abuse and my experience with juvenile sex trafficking and coerced abortion. While traveling to Texas for my son’s wedding, what should have been purely a pleasure trip was anything but. I hope my experience will be an education for you as much as it was for me.
Three hours after I noticed a small terrier puppy running along the edge of a busy highway in Texas, we found the animal control complex. The puppy, previously unconscious, had awoken stunned and disoriented. He had moved his bowels- an almost universal reflex to trauma of this kind. He’d subsequently slipped in it and spread it all over the back of the brand new rental car I was driving to pick up my son’s bride.
When we arrived, there were no cars, few animal sounds, and a locked door. I walked around the building to find an open gate and in the courtyard a man with a trash bag and a maintenance uniform met me. I explained that I’m from NH. Don’t know my way around. I had seen the dog hit by a car. He was unconscious. I had a brand new rental car to take care of. My time is limited. My Airmen needed to get back. I couldn’t take care of the puppy. This was the first time I allowed any of the emotions about the situation bubble up to the surface. He immediately called for the officers.
An officer looked at the pup and told me to drive around to the other side of the building. After a quick exam, feeling for broken bones, another officer looked at me incredulously and asked if I was sure the puppy had been struck by a car. “Oh, yes,” I said. I saw him get hit, he was unconscious, but breathing, which is why we picked him up.” She looked at the pup, who was now responsive and interacting, making eye contact. “He looks good. We’ll have him checked out further,” she said looking at the other officer. They assured me they would be able to get him adopted and sent me on my way.
We drove to the hotel where my husband had been waiting for me to join him for a pleasant morning stroll along the River Walk. It was now 96*. He was not pleased. My son and daughter-in-law went on their way and Mark got into the car. My plan was to find a car wash and clean the feces, hoping that we wouldn’t incur the $400 cleaning fee. Driving with the windows open, yelling directions and straining my eyes, because I’d misplaced my glasses to drive had nearly warn me out. He drove.
I explained that the puppy was now in safe hands and he’d be ok. I hadn’t taken a photo or anything like that. GPS found a carwash. Well, after an empty lot where one might have been. The car washes are not do-it-yourself types, like we have at home. We negotiated for the young man to clean the crap and he did a fair job, but it still stunk. I decided we needed pet stain cleaner. After a few more minor mishaps, we had the spray and I set my mind to cleaning the mess.
My husband, who hates the heat, found a shade tree to stand under while I got down on my knees to clean up the mess that resulted from my decision to stop for a puppy in the middle of a trip to my son’s wedding. As I scrubbed for 45 minutes, getting the corners of the seat mounts and the inside of the air-conditioning duct under the seats clean, I thought about how other people might react to my story. My husband paced in the heat of the day. It was 1pm by then.
For those involved in the work of human trafficking rescue or prevention and awareness for that matter, there are consequences to the work that impact other people. My husband had anticipated a lovely morning with me, but spent it alone wondering what kind of trouble I was in.
Families of people who serve traumatized individuals are often left in the same kind of holding pattern. Spouses, family members and friends await, sometimes missing planned events, while their treasured loved one ministers to another who has either not known love or has had true love and kindness mangled to the point that their recognition of it is impossible.
As I scrubbed, I thought about some different personas and their perspectives. The dog lover might think we were heroes for rescuing the puppy. The business owner would think we were jerks for risking the brand new rental car. Bystanders might think we were idiots, since the puppy wasn’t hurt when we first saw him. Pragmatists might think of how many other dogs were roaming and shrug at the whole thing.
But I’m not as concerned with what they think as I am consumed with the thought of how this story relates to the issue of human trafficking. There may be as many as 300,000 children trafficked in the US alone, based on the number of missing and runaway kids known. Millions around the world are thought to be sexually exploited. Trafficking isn’t about transportation it’s about exploitation. The gravity of the problem is overwhelming.
So, do we rush in? Risk it all? Cautiously intervene? Mind our own business? Or turn the other way?
What do you think?