Animal Rights

Dog Which Stood by Fatally Injured Friend Going Home

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

The loyal Labrador who would not leave the side of a deceased companion dog after it was fatally struck by a vehicle was scheduled to be adopted by the caring person who placed cones in the street and stayed to comfort her as lanes of traffic whizzed by in the busy La Puente street. However, this story took a different turn when the purported owner of the dog came to the shelter to claim her on Monday.

"Grace" (as she was named by the employees and volunteers at the Los Angeles County Baldwin Park shelter) is actually "Maggie." She reportedly responded happily to the sound of her name and the voice of her owner, who provided a photo of her and identified physical characteristics that "only the owner would know," according to Lt. Marie Rosales at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center. Lt. Rosales added, "Her tail started wagging and she lit up." 

However, no owner claimed the larger brown dog that was killed, and the real story may be quite  different from the romanticized version that touched hearts all over the world. Maggie was not spayed and was in heat.  The owner reportedly told shelter officials that she had "escaped from the garage" at the home in which she had been living only a few months. It is, therefore highly likely that it was the hormonal mating urges of Springtime that brought the two dogs together in the streets, rather than a long and devoted friendship.

Maggie was kept overnight at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center, where she was spayed on Monday, anticipating that she would be picked up by the courageous person who stayed with her in the street until animal-control officers arrived and who placed his name as the first interested party after she was taken to the shelter.

Lt. Rosales stated that Maggie will remain in the custody of the Animal Care Center overnight so that an inspection of the owner’s house can be made. “We have to ensure that’s she’s going to go back to an adequate home,” she said.

The owner, who is unidentified, claims to have owned Maggie for only about three months. She will be cited by the County for having an unleashed, unvaccinated, unregistered dog.

The video of Maggie lying in the street beside her dead companion was seen by millions of viewers internationally. There was also a touching post on Facebook by the motorist, named  Eric, who stopped to put out cones, stayed to comfort Maggie and then penned his personal anguish of this experience on Facebook.  He should not be the forgotten hero in this saga.

Maggie's story and that of her deceased companion emphasize the critical need to spay or neuter pets so that they do not die in the streets merely from being compelled by mating instincts and so that the fate of thousands of roaming or homeless pets does not become the painful responsibility of those who stop and risk their own lives to help or save them. We can only hope that Maggie's owner and millions more throughout the world who were touched by her plight are equally impacted by the message to spay or neuter pets to safeguard them from the urges that result in these tragic incidents.