By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)
I like to think of myself as pretty wise, now that I have learned to recognize most of the red flags of dishonesty and people high in psychopathic traits. But I recently got scammed by three people working in concert. They also scammed another party as well.
I bought a dog that was actually stolen. Here’s how it happened:
I went to a web site in Georgia looking for dogs that are trained as protection dogs. They cost quite a bit of money, starting at about $5,000 and I knew this. This man offered me a “sport” trained dog for $4,000 plus freight which would put her in the $5,000 range, but he had a woman trainer here in Arkansas who could teach me to handle the dog (for more money of course). Since I had trained dogs most of my life in obedience and other high level training, I felt secure in handling a dog, but wanted help with this particular kind of training.
I spoke to the woman trainer here in Arkansas (about a two-hour drive from me), whom I’ll call “Sue,” and she and I talked and talked about dogs and training dogs. Over the telephone and in e-mails we exchanged, we just seemed to be almost instant “sisters” (the love bomb). Then the guy in Georgia quit returning my calls and I got frustrated with him. Meanwhile, the sweet woman trainer here in Arkansas said she had also had some problems with this guy, but she left her information up on his web site anyway, but guess what? She would rescue me and she had the perfect dog for me here in Arkansas! For only $1300! WOW what a bargain.
Son D and I drove to Little Rock, about an hour from our house, to the home of a large man I will call “George.” I watched as George trained dogs and their owners in obedience in a large field next to his house. Then I watched as George, in a leather body suit and a “bite sleeve,” trained dogs in protection. He was amazing and the dogs were amazing. I met Sheba, the dog that Sue, the female trainer, said was perfect for me. I watched as Sheba flew through the air like a frisbee to latch onto the arm of the decoy in the bite suit. Even for a 70-pound dog, she was powerful.
Son D and I spent over an hour talking to George after the training was over and also felt this instant attraction (love bombing again) for this man.
We agreed that I would buy the dog and that I would leave her with George for two weeks of additional training every day. Then I would pick her up, and Sue and her son, “John,” would come to our home and work with Sheba for an entire day for about $250 per day. Sue wanted to come two days each week … for how long? I am not sure on that, I think as long as my money held out.
Well, “Bob,” the guy who had sold Sheba to me, said he had “forgotten” to get her hips x-rayed while she was staying at George’s kennel. No big deal Sue assured me, that the dog had good hips. I was so in love with Sheba by that time, and with the fact that she was “really cheap” by protection dog standards, I paid for her before getting the hips x-rayed. Bob assured me he would reimburse me for the vet x-rays. I took the dog home from George’s house and put her in a crate inside the house to let her get used to the house and the sounds and smells. She was let out of the crate only on a leash for several days, and she would go from room to room with one of us holding loosely on the end of the leash, sniffing for my “stash” of drugs. She was working hard.
Well, I finally got an appointment with my vet to have her hips X rayed and was totally dumbfounded when they were bad. I broke down crying in the vet’s office. Her hips are so bad on both sides that there is no way in which she can be helped. She is not a candidate for adoption, as she is like a loaded gun—only an experienced handler can handle her.
Dogs that are used for “personal protection” or for “police work” are bred to be ADHD, to be fearless. Sheba, as a Dutch Shepherd, was like an ADHD teenager on crack! She wanted to work and she wanted to bite the decoy. She was everything I could have wanted in a protection dog—including obedience and desire to please—but she was not a “pet” dog.
When I raised Border Collies I would never sell a pup as a “pet,” because high-energy “ADHD” breeds of dogs must have a job to do or they become neurotic. They must be continually exercised whether it is herding sheep or doing an agility course or hunting for lost people or decaying bodies. They must have a job and they can’t do it with bilaterally hip dysplasia.
I was set up for a patsy by a group of con people working together. Oh, by the way, Sheba did not even belong to “Bob,” the man who sold her to me. The original owner had placed her with Bob for sale on commission. Sort of feeling “something” in my gut about the dog when I got her home, I saw the old rabies tag and called the vet clinic to ask about the dog. Of course they knew Sheba and her owner, and gave me his name and telephone number. He was very surprised that the dog had been sold a month before because Bob had not even telephoned him to let him know that she had been sold, much less sent the money to the man in Mississippi.
This man, “Bud” had been so pleased, though, that Sheba was in a good home, that he was not even going to sue Bob for not sending him his share of the sale price.
After the initial phone call where I informed Bob that Sheba’s hips were bad and he assured me that he would pay me for the purchase price of the dog and the training I had invested in her, I have not heard from him, not one word. I don’t expect to hear from him either.
The female trainer, Sue, has sent me the advice that I should “be tender with Bob as he really is a good guy because she has seen him cry when a dog got hurt.” Sue has written a book on the psychology of dogs, and in her book she showed pictures of hip dysplasia X-rays and a picture of a normal X ray, yet when I sent her a scanned copy of Sheba’s X-rays she said, “Oh, I can’t tell if that is dysplasia or not without seeing the original X-ray.I wonder what made her think that X-ray scan might be normal? What vet school she graduated from? What about the letter I have from my veterinary surgeon who says the dog has hip dysplasia on both sides and due to her temperament and training should be put down?
Then it started to dawn on me, the way the scam went down. Bob got a dog that he probably knew had bad hips or he wouldn’t have sold it for “peanuts,” since it already had certifications for drug detection, and had protection training and obedience training as well … so Sue love bombed me and found me the “perfect” dog … CHEAP! Then I went to George’s place and watched the dog work and I was HOOKED. So George, knowing or not that her hips were bad, got two weeks work as a trainer. Then when I brought her home, Sue and her son John got two days work as well.
I have no doubt that I will get a judgment in court for the price of the dog, for boarding her and for the price of her training as well. But I also know that the likelihood of me actually COLLECTING a dime are between zero and none.
Too good to be true
When a deal is “too good to be true” it usually is. Unfortunately, I am left the one crying my eyes out for a dog that I have already become attached to, who has done nothing wrong except be born with bad legs and be so driven to work that she is not “adoptable” as a pet, but yet is unable to work either. No there isn’t anything that can be done for her hips surgically or to prolong her life. If there were it would be done. Her former owner is quite wealthy and offered to fund anything that might help her. There isn’t anything that can be done for the dog.
So we need to be on our guard in any business deal we make, we need to use caution and watch for RED FLAGS. In hind sight, I can see that Sue “love bombed” me and played up to my ego and held out the “carrot” of a deal I couldn’t refuse—the perfect dog and CHEAP. When her buddy in Georgia disappointed me, she came to my rescue and found just the dog for me!
Well, I have again paid the tuition at the University of Hard Knox for some post-doctoral studies. In addition to my lightened pocketbook, I also have a broken heart for a dog I have come to love already. I don’t know where the following story came from, but it made me weep. Right now I’m not sure which feels the best—weeping or cussin’.
God summoned the beast from the field and He said:
“Behold man is created in My image, Therefore adore him. You shall protect him in the wilderness,
shepherd his flocks, and watch over his children, accompany him wherever he may go, even into civilization.
You shall be his companion, his ally, his slave.
To do these things, I endow you with the instincts uncommon to other beasts; faithfulness, devotion, and
understanding, surpassing those of man himself. Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death.
Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to the faults of man. Lest it impair your understanding you are denied the power of words. Speak to your master only with your mind and through your honest eyes.
Walk by his side, sleep in his doorway, ward off his enemies, carry his burden, share his affections, love, and comfort him. And in return for this, man will fulfill your needs and wants, which will be only food, shelter and affection.
So be silent and be a friend to man. Guide him through the perils along the way to this land I have promised him. This shall be your destiny and immortality.”
The dog listened and was content.