Posted 12-05-2003 at 05:55:35
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....and left the old Red Dog behind. This is a hundred pound plus, square headed dog that seems friendly enough but is not a tail wagger so it's difficult to tell. Anyway, I know he has been laying on the front porch of this empty house for three days. The first day I was not alarmed because I saw activity over there, so I assumed that someone was leaving food out for him and that they would be back for him.
Then two days go by and I don't see anyone over there but the dog. It appears to be a clear cut case of abandonment. Supported by the fact that I called yesterday morning and left a message at the number posted for the sale of the house, and no one came to get him. Compounded by the fact that I called a second time and the phone was answered, and once I told them what I was calling about, they hung up on me. Such nice people.
Anyway, after they hung up on me I called animal welfare. They sent a truck. A very nice man showed up and informed me that he could not remove the dog from the property as he had no idea whether the people were coming back or not. I told him about the days events and he said, 'sounds like you may be right, I suppose they dumped him.'
He was at my house for two hours waiting for the office to track down the owner of the house to find out about the intentions regarding the dog. I tried to tell them that she did not have a phone down at the New Hope Memorial Cemetery and that they would not get in touch with her, as she died a couple months ago and it was her shiftless kids that left her dog there to starve.
Now, they took the old car and they took the porch swing and they sold the old imitation well and they snatched up even some pretty plants in pots that were scattered around by the door. They spent days on the stuff they took, and up to the last minute they wasted no time on taking stuff out of and away from that house. All except the Red Dog. In fact, now I wonder if they were feeding him at all, even while they were there all day busy as beavers removing mama's memories and treasures.
"Well, I reckon I can go up there and check and see if they've left a food and water bowl." Says the dog pound man.
"Okay." I say.
I watched him walk up to the house carefully, armed with nothing but a dog snare and it was a long walk. He was a brave man, as the Red Dog walked a ten foot circle around him the whole way barking and baring his teeth, still on duty, still protecting mama's house, while he checked the porch and under the carport and all around looking for some evidence that the dog was being fed. Then he picked his way back to me, where I stood at the road, one eye on the Red Dog the whole while.
"Nope. There ain't the first bowl or pot of water or nuthin'." His said, letting out a little sigh of relief, when the Red Dog went and laid back down on the porch.
"So what's gonna happen now? You can't take him without....what is it... permission from the dead owner? The family is not going to take him, so we just wait til he gets hungry enough to start killing my chickens and then we shoot him? Is that the deal? Or worse yet, because he's been trained not to kill chickens, he just lays there and starves? Or am I stuck with a dog I don't know and am a little scared of by default? You know if I feed that dog, I'll own it, and I've got four of my own to feed, but I can't just let him lay there and starve. Besides I've spent three years training that dog not to come down here to my place just for general purposes, I don't think he would come to me anyway."
"Nah.....he looks like he might make a fine hog dog, he's got some Florida Yeller Curr in him, I'll take him myself." He scrawled a phone number on a slip of paper and handed it to me. "If someone shows up looking for him, which you and I both know isn't going to happen, then you give them that number and they can come get him, which I kinda hope they do, as I've already got seven dogs just like him at home, and my wife is going to skin me when I pull up in the yard with this one."
"Well...I'm sure he will make a fine hog dog..." I started to give him some support on the matter and he shot me a look that said, 'I said I'd take the dam dog, so quit trying to sell me on him', and I shut right up.
I shook his hand and watched him back his truck into position to capture the dog. He talked to him for a minute or two before he slipped the snare over his head and I watched with a lump in my throat as this old Red Dog put up the fight of his life to hold on to what had been his for as long as he could remember.
He dug in all four feet and whipped his head side to side trying to escape the snare and when it became real to him that he was not going to get away he started to whine and I wanted to tell him that he was going home with a good caring man who would take care of him and listen....the old lady is gone dog, and you just have to face that and get over it, because with her, she took all the love that you were used to and now you have to start over thanks to a bunch of shiftless kids who were only in it for what they could get, not what they could give.