"She wanted so much to be the best dog she could be," said Carolyn Erler. "When she had to be put down I just held her and said it's not your fault. She kissed me right on my cheek." Carolyn spent only six weeks with her new puppy before scattering Pearl's ashes in the waterfall where they once played.
"She would lay in my lap and suck on my fingers. For someone whose never had kids that was pretty powerful, and it was just horrible to have her taken away," said Erler. Veterinarian Jeanette Lubenau says she euthanizes puppies recently adopted from Animals Services about once a week.
The majority of those have distemper. "We see it in the animal shelter a lot," said Kevin Overstreet, director of Lubbock Animal Services. He says they've made tremendous progress since the outbreak last summer, but the building itself is the main culprit.
"The shelter is so old that it can harbor that disease even though we clean it from head to toe every single day," said Overstreet. "They're doing everything they can out there with what they have," said Lubenau.
Carolyn is still outraged and says the dogs cannot wait any longer. "It's our duty, our obligation, to care for those who can't care for themselves, and we need to find the compassion and the public will to just make this happen." The final plans for the new shelter must still be presented to the city council. Overstreet says they hope to break ground in August.