It came as no surprise when scientists announced this week that dogs are genetically closer to humans than mice. I've suspected for years that dogs share more human DNA than rats, monkeys and some presidential candidates.
Even an average dog can do better floor tricks than Curley of the Stooges, mooch like Kramer from Seinfeld and patrol the yard like John Wayne chasing Apache squirrels.
A cat, on the other paw, shares DNA with Robin Williams, Peter Jennings and Jacques Chiraq. If a burglar breaks in, the dog is leading a coalition to war while the cat is still vetoing United Nations resolutions.
I wouldn't say dogs are better than people, but there are people who are worse than dogs.
"He was breaking everything in the house," Joanne said. "When I tried to call for help, he yanked the phone out of my hand and hurt my arm. He sat there and watched me until 2 a.m. because he was afraid I would call the police."
She's talking about her husband, not her dog.
When he threatened to kill her, Joanne and her three young children fled to a shelter for battered women. Unfortunately, the shelter had no place for the family dog, "Foxy." So Joanne dropped her off at the Hamilton County SPCA shelter, where she would be safe.
"We pride ourselves on that. We have held many dogs for women who go into these shelters," said SPCA Operations Manager Andy Mahlman.
He's seen lots of abused dogs in those situations. "Unfortunately, innocent creatures often get mixed up in domestic abuse. There is an established link between animal abuse and child and domestic abuse. People use them as a tool to get back at somebody."
That was true for Foxy, too. The 4-year-old black Labrador mix has a white tuft of fur under her chin, where she was thrown out the door by Joanne's husband. "He had hurt the dog over and over," she said.
So she promised the children that this time, they would all be safe, including Foxy. But somehow, the system at SPCA broke down.
The number assigned to Foxy was found on another dog. But Foxy could not be found when Joanne found an apartment and returned in late June to pick her up. "Unfortunately, our information is very sketchy. We just don't know what happened," Mahlman said. An employee remembered giving the dog away in an adoption, he said. "My feeling was it was adopted, but we don't know for sure."
Mahlman and others at SPCA were heartbroken that Foxy was lost, Joanne said. "I'm sure it was mix-up."
The SPCA gave Joanne and her kids another dog. But if Foxy was adopted sometime between June 3- and June 27, they want to find her.
"The kids have lost their home, their school and their dog," Joanne said. "Even if we could just find out where she is and tell her goodbye.''
So here it is. Lost: Foxy, a lovable little black Lab mix, about 25 pounds, 14 inches high, with white toes and white tufts on her chin and chest.
Anyone who knows where she is should contact Mahlman at the SPCA: 541-6100, ext. 103.
I don't know what DNA Foxy shares with humans, but I know she is very close to four people who love her as a member of their broken, but healing, family. I hope she finds her way home.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 768-8301.
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