Gaston, North Carolina – Gas Chamber and local Vet school

The woman who went around with the portable gas chamber was named King. I don’t know her first name, I knew it, but I can’t remember it. I can’t find it, either. I don’t even want to remember.

They killed every day – I pulled a beautiful lab/shepherd boy on a Friday afternoon. He had been sent to Gaston College, a local school that has a vet tech program, for the week, where they poked and prodded him all week, and then sent him back on Friday morning to die on Friday afternoon if he didn’t find rescue in two hours. I grabbed him. How many did I miss? How could these vet tech students do this week after week and not say something? Go rescue the dogs? What was wrong with them? And when I think about all those dogs and puppies I missed, I feel like I’m going to swirl down a black hole of pain, rage and despair. I try to stay out of that hole. So I try to not think of these experiences, but it’s time. I need to get them out.

The head of the “shelter” was called Reggie. I called him numerous times, cursing him out, raining hell down on his shoulders. If I could have locked these people up and done to them what they did to these innocent animals, I would have. Gladly. Dog rescue festered my soul, made me drink, made me want to die rather than deal with the anxiety and pain of trying to save dogs and puppies and being thwarted at every step. By the lack of resources in even wealthy southern communities. By the lack of foster homes, or kennels, or vets who would board dogs the few days I needed them to be held until a transport could get them the hell out of there. It’s better now, thank God, due to the internet and Facebook. But then, around 2009 when I pulled from Gaston and Robeson, it was still hell.

I got two labs from Gaston, both females. They were horrible skinny, deathly so. I got a kennel to hold them, and they had to get spayed before the shelter allowed them to come here. It almost killed them. One of them, Nancy, crawled off the truck at my friend June’s New York kennel. After being spayed, she was sent back to the paid NC kennel for a week where I swear they didn’t even feed her, and when she got here, she almost died at June’s feet. June cooked her chicken and rice for weeks. Slowly, slowly, she gained strength and health. Even after all she had been through, she still loved and trusted people unconditionally. The lessons our four legged buddies teach us. To love. To trust. Even after being kicked, starved and abused. I think they are a lot better beings than I am.



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