“Come here buddy,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, as she pet her new friend. “See that’s what he wants? This is all Watson wants right here. He just wants to lay down and be petted.”
Lanier has a soft spot for animals -- a side of the police chief that most criminals will never see. She has a history of rescuing shelter dogs and currently has five of them, including a blind, deaf white Aussie.
The latest one to enter her heart: Watson, an 8-year-old border collie with a rare birth defect who now calls the Washington Animal Rescue League home.
“When they told me he was 8 years old and somebody decided to put him out or surrender him after eight years it was just so heartbreaking,” Lanier said.
An X-ray of Watson showed his condition, called spondylosis. He barely has a neck because of missing vertebrae. The ones he does have are fused together, causing him to be about half the size of a normal dog.
“I’ve been practicing for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Washington Animal Rescue League CEO Gary Weitzman. “You wouldn’t think he could live like this, but he’s already within 7 or 8 years old and he’s doing great, and we don’t have any reason to continue to believe that he won’t do that way.”
So for the past three weeks, Lanier has come in to play with Watson, but unfortunately she can’t take him in because her other dogs are too big and might hurt him.
“I just try and do the best I can to come and visit him to keep him company,” Lanier said. “I have a picture of him on my computer and I show him to everybody I see and say, 'Don’t you need a dog?'.”
At any time there are about 60 dogs at the shelter available for adoption, but Lanier hopes Watson soon won’t be one of them. She said she regularly checks the shelter’s website to see if anyone has taken Watson home.
“I think dogs with special needs make the best pets because I think they realize they need you as much as you need them,” Lanier said.
If you would like to be that lucky person, head on over to www.warl.org where you can start the adoption process. You can also call 202-726-2556.