“Through a Glass Darkly” column for Feb. 6, 2013

A half-dozen weaned puppies frolic atop strewn newspaper.

All of them have black coats except one, who is brown and has more angular features. He darts and tumbles among the others as if they were his brothers and sisters.

Brought to the shelter alone, he was added to the family because he was the same age. He is one of the dogs I would like to take.

In a corner of another small room, seven nursing puppies gather around their mother. As cute as they all are, it is the mother who I would make my own if I hadn’t reached my limit of pets.

She touches the back of my hand with her wet nose and looks at me with eyes that show the ability to love.

She came in with a group of other dogs that were confiscated in an animal hoarding case. The night she arrived at the shelter she gave birth to her puppies.

The puppies seem happy inside their little, fenced-off area. As puppies, they stand a good chance of adoption.

For a gray dog suffering from mange, the chances may not be as good in an often overcrowded shelter.

As I read an explanation that the Livingston Parish Animal Shelter’s $60 adoption fee includes vaccinations, worming and spaying or neutering, a black pit pull begins to moan.

It’s a sound that makes me feel she yearns. It’s a sound my dog makes when she wants to go outside or wants to have her ears scratched.

As I go to the pit bull’s tiny kennel, she seems glad to have a few moments of company. She may never get adopted, because of her breed’s reputation.

In the same room another dog shivers in his cage. The room isn’t cold.

The dog is feral.

The presence of people in the room obviously frightens him. The tiny confines instead of the wide world in which he roamed until recently don’t help.

Saving this dog would take weeks of attention and patience.

A cacophony of barking accompanies my walk through the runs where most of the dogs reside. I halt when I see a dog that appears to be mostly a pointer.

She reminds me of the first dog I had as a little boy. I ran dragging old clothes for her to chase and grab. My father and I taught her to come, stay, heel and fetch.

She’d climb the fence of her dog yard, no matter how high my dad made it, to be with me whenever I went into the yard.

We went on adventures together in the fields behind my house, hunted together on cold mornings and sprawled together under a pecan tree on hot afternoons.

Sometimes when it rained, I’d slip into her tin-roofed dog house and we’d feel cozy as drops danced on the roof.

While my eyes meet those of the quiet dog in the run, I wonder if she and some little boy will have a chance to share that kind of time.

Contact Advocate Florida Parishes bureau chief Bob Anderson by email at
banderson@theadvocate.com.