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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

She Was One in a Million

by Janie Martin, daughter of the Old-Timer



*****

Wednesday night my husband, daughter and I were less than 2 miles from our rural home when a dog darted from the right in front of our truck. I saw and instantly recognized the panic in her face. She was a good sized mixed-breed, young, black and brown, no collar. The story is familiar. As the adrenaline rush from nearly hitting her subsided! my daughter noticed a nearby red car. It followed us to the crossroad where we live, and turned around in our driveway and left.

I knew immediately by her behavior that the dog had just been dumped off, and it was afraid and confused at her strange surroundings and the abandonment by whoever dumped her. My daughter and I took a leash and went back looking for her, but she wasn’t there where we had seen her.

I went home saying a silent prayer that I was wrong about what had happened, or if I was right that some kind person would help the dog. As I went back and forth by the area on my way the next two days, I kept looking for her, and even checked the next road over to see if she was there.

This morning on my was to grocery shop I saw her body on the highway, less than a quarter mile as the crow flies from where we first saw her. As soon as I could safely turn around I went back to see that she wasn’t suffering, but she was already dead, but had not been there very long - probably killed trying to find a safe place in the horrible thunderstorms we had the last 12 hours. And now I could see how thin she was, and the bare spots on her legs from mange.

What a cruel death she had! Betrayed by the people who had dumped her, that she had trusted. The same story in cities, small towns, rural crossroads in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and across our land.

Maybe the person in the red car believed that we country people welcome the tidal wave of dogs and cats that get dropped off, but believe me, those who care can only take so many, and those who don’t care quickly shoot the rest, or they end up like this one, a pitiful heap on the side of the road.

Over my years here we have picked up or taken in and have arranged to have spayed or neutered at least 16 of such dogs and cats, and my long-suffering husband would probably say “more than that!” I have worked hard to find good people with good homes but most folks prefer strays who are young, small, cute, or a currently preferred breed. The rest, the ones my son calls the “broken ones” stay here for the rest of their lives with us

A few lucky times I was able to find the stray’s owner, and cried at the happy reunions, with the dog’s tail a-wagging. Today after I came back from the grocery, my husband informed me that the cat we’ve seen hanging around our home the last few days was in our garage. I foresee another trip to the vet in the near future.

If you care about this story, don’t take any animal you aren’t ready to love and care for. “Free” animals need the same things as a $1,500 purebred! If you have dogs or cats I implore you to have them spayed or neutered. They’ll live longer, be healthier and happier, and problem free. If you want a dog, consider adopting one. They have a special kind of love for their new families. Our five “broken” pets bring us joy beyond any price and a better reward than anything we could buy in a store.

The dog on the side of the road had just as much love and devotion to share with someone who would give her a chance. Unfortunately she’s just one of a million or more, who die like this every year.


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