Our children have been wanting a dog for a long time. They have begged, pleaded and bargained. We finally relented. Ashley is a rescue dog. She seemed so perfect for our family - quiet and sweet, doesn’t shed, loves to snuggle, gentle, etc. We were told that her only down side was that she was really shy. Not a problem. This family understands introverts! When we brought Ashley home, we couldn’t believe our good fortune in finding such sweet dog! She almost acted like a service dog. On walks, she would stop and wait for anyone lagging behind and would even stop before crossing a street. We were amazed!
We picked her up on a Thursday and spent the weekend snuggling, going on long walks and playing with our new member of the family. The kids were ecstatic!
Then on Sunday, we left home for a couple of hours. When we returned home and opened the door, Ashley bolted. Faith and I pursued her. A nice lady picked us up and drove around following the naughty dog for about a mile or so as she crossed over a four-land highway (stopping traffic in both directions) and continued to run through neighborhoods. Lots of people got out of their cars and tried to help, but to no avail.
We did all of the things that you do when you lose a pet: put up posters, post on Craig’s List, call animal control and local vets, etc. But Ashley seemed to have disappeared without a trace. On Thursday (four days after running away) we received a call that our dog was sighted in another part of town. Could it be? Had our little pooch really survived the cold and rain and evaded being coyote prey or roadkill for four days?! Hope rekindled but was short-lived. Again, she disappeared without a trace.
On Monday (eight days on the run!), Michael heard a single bark on the side of our house around 5:00 am. He went outside and there was the crazy mutt staring at him! However, she would not let him get too close. Somehow, she had found her way back to the home that she only lived in for a few days and was letting her people know that she was still alive. But something inside her would not trust humans enough to let us get close.
For the next few days, Ashley stayed in our neighborhood. She happily ran around taunting us. She ate from her food bowl on our porch. The construction workers at an apartment complex next door would feed her. Neighbors followed her. But she still would NOT allow anyone to get close.
We were beyond frustrated! It seemed that our only hope was a trap. The local animal control officer loaned us a trap and instructed us on how to use it. Since Ashley was already accustomed to eating from our porch mornings and nights, our plan was to set the trap the following night (Thursday). However, Thursday morning the pursuit was brought to an abrupt end.
Ashley was hit by a car on Hwy. 99W after ten days of running free and evading capture. The jerk who hit her just sped off. However, thank God for kind people who stopped to help the little injured mutt. The people who stopped were busy people. They were headed to work but took the time to stop and care.
Conveniently, Ashley was hit very close to an animal hospital and was immediately cared for. The x-ray showed shattered pelvic bones that would require surgery. Amazingly, she had no life-threatening internal injuries and no sign of paralysis. If the bones could be repaired, her prognosis was very good.
Here comes the hardest part of being a pet-owner/parent/human-being-with-a-heart. Could we afford to pay for a pet’s surgery? Of course not! It was out of the question! The kids were crying (okay - we were all crying) and telling us they didn’t need any Christmas presents and would sell all their toys and help out at the animal hospital to help pay... And then there were those sweet, tearful little prayers!
But there was just no way we could...
And it made no sense to...
It’s just a...
Ashley’s surgery went very well and she is recovering!
|Hi. My name is Ashley and I am super adorable (and naughty!).|
Have we completely lost our minds and abandoned all common sense? Yes. Are we irresponsible and crazy? Absolutely! Will I be mopping floors and the animal hospital for the rest of my life? Probably. But we couldn’t do it. We couldn’t euthanize the sweet little (albeit psychotic) dog who was smart enough to find her way back to us and clever enough to keep herself alive in the wild for ten days. So we abandoned all reason.
We are currently looking into organizations that help out with this sort of thing. One local group has already committed to paying a small portion of the costs. We may very well sell some of the kids’ toys (might as well while they are motivated!).
In the meantime, please don’t judge us. Sometimes you just don’t know what you would do until you are in a situation.
I will keep you updated on the little pooch’s status. She’s tough and she’s a fighter. Something tells me there is a good chance she will survive and live a very long life.
Side note about the Palmas and pets:
Michael and I are what you call Overly-Conscientious Pet Owners (OCPO). That is why we should not have pets! We have an oldest-child, over-sense-of-responsibility complex. When Michael was a kid, he cried hysterically when his mealworms died. I once prayed over a dying worm. Years ago, we won a beta fish as a door prize. We were told that beta fish are “happy” in a very small space and only need to eat once a week. However, we extensively researched What Beta Fish Want. Our fish (named Omega-Three Fatty Acid Palma) had a nice big tank and was hand fed three pellets twice a day. We took our garage-sale-rescue Guinea pig to the vet multiple times (mites, allergies, eye infection, old age...). Michael constructed a little Guinea pig condo for our two little rodents. Bob, our remaining piggy, is fat and happy and even has his own little heating pad for “cold” summer nights on the porch.
Because we knew of our OCPO disorder, we were hesitant to get a dog. Lesson learned.