Snow Cloud

Like a lot of people who have shared stories here my wife and I have loved many dogs and cats. There are a lot of beautiful stories and I would be hard pressed to choose one over another were it not for the lasting effect her memory has on both of us.
Snow Cloud was a white German Shepard who shared our life along with a black Labrador. She was timid and gentle. I remember when we had a cat with kittens. Whenever the cat would leave her babies Snow Cloud would gently take them away and hide with them to protect them. She would be so upset when the mother would show up and demand them back. Never the less she would leave them and the mother would take them back. This was just an example of her personality.

We had recently moved to a very desolate neighborhood due to some bad economic times. There were roving packs of stray dogs many of which had a bad rash and most of the dogs owned by our neighbors had the same condition. Before long first the Lab and then Snow Cloud came down with the same condition. Our neighbors shared their remedies with us and they worked a little but the condition would keep returning. It seemed like a true epidemic but although the ASPCA was constantly in the neighborhood rounding up strays no one seemed to have any good information about this condition which was referred to as mange. We and our neighbors were very poor and there were no Veterinarians nearby. Finally I decided that second hand information was not good enough and I had to take one of the dogs to the ASPCA clinic. I chose Snow Cloud.
When it was our turn we were seen by a veterinary assistant who took her to the back to be diagnosed. By the vet. Snow Cloud tossed a glance back at me as if to say “Don’t let them take me” A little while later the aid came out and told me she had a bad case of mange and that this was a public health issue so she would have to be put down. Yes they killed her. I left with a leash and the memory of her looking back at me which would last a lifetime.
I did find out that mange is actually canine scabies which is a tiny insect like “crabs”. We gave our labrador washings with quell shampoo and he was fine. It was easy. It took a while to heal but he lived to a ripe old age of 19.
I will never get over the grief and the guilt but there are also some important questions that need to be answered. With all of the presence of the ASPCA in the neighborhood why didn’t they diseminate information to fight this epidemic? With so many dogs infected why was it so important to kill mine? The ASPCA wanted to come to our house and kill my lab also and hounded us for a year. My wife told them that I left her, took the dog with me and she didn’t know where I was. That seemed to stop them. Meanwhile I told everybody I knew about what mange was and most of the neighborhood pets were eventually cured. What more can I say except that I carry this with me every day.

Douglas from NY