Jon de Vos – New leash on life |

Jon de Vos – New leash on life

Jon De Vos / The Friday Report
Winter Park, CO Colorado

Discarded animals have become a sad sign of our tough economic times. Rescue shelters do heroic work finding new homes for these poor confused creatures.

Last weekend a shelter took over a mall parking lot with a pack of abandoned strays, hoping to find new backyards for them to live in and explore. Tears welled in my eyes at this sad sight. Caged, hollow-eyed and hopeless, these pitiful creatures lined the fence as I walked by. I tried not to see them as if my blindness meant they didn’t exist.

Yet, even now, so very near the end of their leash, their little ears would perk up whenever someone walked near. It was heartbreaking. All they needed was some love, a clean floor and fresh water, a warm bed, and a pat on the head.

Their coats were greasy and ill-cared for; they had all seen fire, they’d all seen rain, they’d all seen lonely times when they could not find a friend. Suddenly, I was astounded when I realized that one of these disconsolate beasts was my best friend from college. “Louis! Louis?” I cried out and rushed to the wire cage he was trapped behind. Our fingertips touched as he broke into racking sobs. I stared, bewildered. We hadn’t seen each other in more than 25 years.

A man in a blue blazer clapped his arm over my shoulder and said, “I’m Roger Jeffries, founder of Husband Rescue. I try to find homes to bridge the gap and get these poor, pathetic creatures off the streets, out of abusive situations, and into decent homes.” He gestured to the penned husbands. Their cage was really nothing more than a few strands of wire. They could have stepped over them easily, but these were strays without spirit and my heart cried out to them.

“Louis, what happened?” I cried. He trembled, mute, as Roger narrated his sad story. “Louis is a sorry case. Louis! Yo Louis! Come here, Boy. Good boy. Yes, you like that scratching behind the ears, don’t you? Look at him thump. Louis was a Real Estate Agent for more than 20 years. Came home one day to find his kids and all the furniture gone, including his favorite couch where he’d watched more than 300 Bronco games. He was helpless. Never ironed a thing in his life. Lost his job when he wore the same shirt for 42 days. We got the call, went out to bring him in and found him dying for a cup of coffee. Poor little fella had no idea where his wife kept the water.”

I watched as George discretely wiped away a tear. Here was a good man doing a noble deed. I pointed to one particularly scruffy guy picking a fight with a balding accountant type over a gravy-stained pocket protector. “What’s the story with the vicious one?” I asked.

“Sad, sad situation there,” George said, “He’s an attorney who once had a beautiful wife and a wonderful home but for one problem. She constantly nagged him to take out the garbage. One day, he snapped, clawed open the cupboard and threw the garbage all over the house. Broke into 22 more houses later that day and did the same thing. Animal Control Officers finally trapped him under a porch, snarling and chewing on an old leather briefcase. Poor old guy really needs a good home.”

“And a good bath,” I added.

I waved good-bye to my friend, Louis. It was terrible to see him sunk so low, but what could I do? I didn’t even know if he was housebroken. Turn your back on these piteous brutes if you can, but remember, and think of their plight the next time your wife barks one too many orders at you.

– Cash donations for, um, charity are always appreciated by Willard, Jon de Vos’ pet rat who writes this column. Send them along with your comments to: