From Michael Ian Black’s book “You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations“, here’s a few paragraphs on getting a dog, and what happens with it:
So one Saturday morning in the spring, we take the subway uptown to an animal shelter. Martha and I are both adamant that we should adopt a shelter dog. It feels like the morally correct thing to do, allowing me to play Oskar Schindler for a day.
When we arrive at the shelter, we are greeted by an affable young woman who has me fill out some forms and asks me a series of questions about my ability to care for a pet. Then she gets a little more personal: how much do I make? I give her an approximate figure. She asks to see a bank statement. I do not have a bank statement. It never occurred to me to bring a bank statement to the animal shelter because I did not think income verification would be part of the pet adoption process. For a human child perhaps, but not for an animal that would otherwise be put to death.
I do happen to have an ATM statement crumpled in my pocket, which shows my current checking account balance. (Not to brag, but it is considerable. Okay, I am bragging.) I show it to the lady thinking, Surely, this will suffice. It does not suffice. “I’m sorry,” she says. “But this shows how much money I have.” “It’s not a bank statement.” “Yes, but it’s a statement from a bank.” “But it may not be your statement from your bank.” I show her that the last few numbers on my ATM card match the last few numbers on the statement. I offer to go to an ATM and procure another, identical statement. She can even come with me if she wants to make sure no pet adoption chicanery is taking place. No. Only an official bank statement will do. Is she kidding? She is not kidding. She tells me to come back when I have a proper bank statement.
But I do not want to come back. Coming back means waiting until Monday, when my bank is open. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want a dog on Monday. I want a dog NOW! Surely, even Oskar Schindler never had to work as hard as this! We leave, incensed.
Fuck those shelter dogs. Let them die. My only recourse is to find a pet store. Any pet store will do. I will march into the first one I find and bellow, “Show me your dogs!” I will select their most expensive specimen, fit it with a rhinestone-crusted collar, and buy every single stupid squeaky toy they have. Then I will march back to the animal shelter, where I will press my new dog’s face against the window and scream, “LOOK AT MY EXPENSIVE DOG!” to the hard-hearted woman within. Then I will run away.
And, of the death of his beloved dog:
The vet gives us a few moments to talk, then asks what we want to do. We look at each other and I tell him okay. At least some of the reason I have just agreed to let him kill my dog is that I feel bad he drove all the way out here. “Let’s do it in the bedroom, on her dog bed.” He says that’s fine. I ask if I can be in there with her. Yes. Martha says she can’t watch. I don’t know if I can watch, either, but I want the last face she sees to be one of ours. The three of us go into the bedroom. Mattie curls up on her bed, tail still thumping. I sit on the floor beside her while the doctor extracts his vials and syringe. I scratch behind Mattie’s ears and tell her I love her. I go “shhh,” over and over even though she’s not making any noise. The doctor inserts the needle into her side. Mattie flinches a little at the needle prick, but after a few seconds starts to relax as the first drug, a sedative, takes hold. I feel my chest seizing up. “Shhh,” I say to her and I am crying. “Shhh.” Her eyes start to glaze over, but she is still here. I know she’s still here, I can see her watching me. Her eyes are deep and clear and she is dying. I can’t sit here. I can’t. Before I know what I’m even doing, I am on my feet and fleeing the room. Leaving Mattie before it is done is the single greatest shame of my life. Martha stands, arms crossed over her chest, in the living room. “Is it over?” I can only shake my head no. A few minutes later the doctor emerges from our bedroom, his black bag zipped tight. I write him a check, thank him, and he leaves.
The book is good.