Monday, July 11, 2016

Kari and Monster's Story

The bond that happens between (wo)man and animal continues to blow my mind.

I am an animal lover through and through. When watching a movie with animals in it, I'm that person that will cry when the man and a horse get injured. But I'm crying for the horse. That's just me.

Stories like the one I'm about to share with you make me love what I do all the more. Kari's family bought her a photo session with me for her birthday. Her mom called and asked me questions to make sure I would be a good fit for her daughter and her beloved dog Monster. She told me how much Monster means to Kari and that she will just love this gift.

When I met Kari and Monster, I was able to witness the love firsthand and I am so happy to have been a part of that. We met at Papago Park in Phoenix early in the morning before it got too warm and the results are precious.

Thank you for sharing your story with me, Kari!

"A little backstory on Monster…He was my last case with the AzSPCA. I used to be an animal cruelty investigator.

November 2003, I had gotten the call from Surprise PD, they had 3 dogs and a horse they needed me to pick up because they were arresting the owner, a 67 year old woman making meth out of her home. (you’ve seen 30 year olds on the stuff, let me tell you, a 67 year old on it looks worse than walking death – it’s scary!)
When I rolled up, I spotted the other two dogs and then I saw Monster tied to an RV with one of those 3 1/2ft metal leashes with the leather handle. He had just enough room to move out from under the RV or go underneath it. I asked the woman what his name was and she didn’t seem to even recall the dog at all and flippantly named him Spike for me. This poor kid had been living off his own urine and feces. At 2 years old, he was so malnourished he weighed only 12lbs (he is 40lbs now), had mange and hair-toe. I took a look at him and when our eyes met I recognized him immediately – he was my dog. I called my supervisor and told her I needed help picking up a couple of dogs, a horse and my dog – she laughed and said incredulously “You’re really going to do it!?”

When I untied him from the RV, he immediately flattened and soiled himself. Having his world go from a 3ft diameter to unlimited was overwhelming for him. When I brought him to the vet for a physical, I had to fight off two vets and a vet tech who wanted him. Even in such a sorry state, he was still adorable and you could see it in his eyes that he would be an amazing dog. “How To Loose a Guy in 10 Days” was my favorite movie at the time and in this state, his looks were reminiscent of the Chinese Crested from the movie, so I named him Kroll. It wasn’t long after his hair grew back in that he got his nickname Monster – he was just such wild-looking, scruffy kid
He spent the first 2 months under my bed and wouldn’t come out except at night while I was asleep to eat. After about a year, we started going out to my best friend’s horse rescue, The Luv Shack. The rescue focused on rescuing horses and pairing them with at risk youth. The ranch is where Monster really blossomed. He took it upon himself to greet everyone who came to the ranch and was truly gifted at helping those kids who were intimidated by the horses feel more comfortable.

Beyond potty training, I never really had to train Monster. He’s picked up on hand signals and reads me so well, I’ve never had to do anything (he’s spoiled me!). The leash has always been for show, I’ve never needed it. He’s been a perfect dog in every way. After getting carsick the first time, I told him he needed to figure it out because I like to go to the desert and I wanted to take him with me. He figured it out – we go on road trips all the time and he loves them. He’s got excellent manners – he’s always welcome where ever we go, and we go everywhere together. Not as much anymore since he’s older. But he still goes to my parents’ every day to spend the day with them and their dog, his best doggie friend, Lola while I am at work. I have 3 cats that all seek his attention and kisses. He is the most loving pup and my best friend. My mission now is to make his golden years the best ever – he totally deserves it."