By Kate Collins
As I drove through my neighborhood two days ago, I spotted a tiny white and tan dog hobbling along the edge of the road. He (or she) appeared to have injured feet and a bad hip. He was dirty, had a shaggy tail tucked between his legs, and pointed ears and cute little pointed face. Sensing that he was injured, I slowed down and followed him up the street. He would stop at each driveway and look at the house, then continue on. Sometimes he would start up the driveway, then stop and return to the street.
I rolled down my window and called to him. He turned his head to look at me but kept moving. His eyes looked old and the fur around them was gray. I knew he was lost -- and at once, he had my heart.
I drove ahead and pulled into my own driveway, then got out of the car and walked back up the street toward him, calling softly. He stopped and studied me, then turned and headed in the other direction. So I hurried up the street on the opposite side until I got behind him, then I tried calling again. He gave a frightened bark, then ran back toward my house at the end of the street.
I followed as he scooted up my driveway. When I walked toward him and crouched down, he whined pathetically and dashed past on his hobbled feet. I called the animal shelter to see if anyone had reported a dog lost, but no luck there. I called a neighbor who knows almost everyone in the subdivision and she said she’d just heard from another neighbor that a shaggy black dog had been found sleeping on her back deck.
I started to realize then that two shaggy dogs in our neighborhood was no coincidence. This isn’t a place lost dogs gravitate to because it’s not easy to find. Had the two dogs been abandoned? Had this lost doggy been caged his whole life, deforming his feet? He was so mistrustful, that I fear he’s been abused.
I called the animal shelter again and was told to corral the dog in my garage and someone would come pick him up the next day. Can you imagine what that would do to an already frightened dog? It was a moot point anyway because he’d vanished
But there he was again in my backyard the next day. My daughter was home, so she took a chicken leg out to see if she could coax the dog in. Again, no luck. The dog snarled and ran. She tossed the leg, he dashed back to pick it up and ran off again.
Ever since then, I’ve been watching for him. I can’t seem to forget how sad and frightened he looked. I also worry because we have coyotes around. Could I have done more to help him? I don’t know. I’ve never had a dog. What would you have done?