Labor Day week-end of 2014. During an afternoon rain, I was sleeping soundly and dreaming some sort of nonsensical dream when my cell phone rang. I reached for the phone and mumbled something that resembled hello.
“Hey, Yvonne. You sound tired. Were you napping? Are you feeling ok?”
“Well , yes Katey I was asleep. What’s going on?”
” Oh not much. Me and Merlin. came to eat and it’s raining real hard. Do ya think ya could give us a ride home?”
“So, where are you?”
“Oh, not far from the rails, bout maybe two blocks. I think it’s south something.”
Katey, I’m sorry but what do you mean two blocks from the rails?”
” Oh, yea. the rails as in choo-choo, Ya know, train tracks.”
Katey you are feeling your spring oats. I wish you’d get your story and your direction on the right track. And I’m not making a pun. The odd thing is that you have jumped the track somewhere along the way.” What is the landmark nearest you? Are you in a building with a name or at somebody’s house?”
“We’re over here not far from Franklin and the Dr Pepper museum. I think it’s 5th or 6th or something close to that. Maybe Webster. Ain’t no house. It’s sort of like a store but it’s a building.”
“Can you go ask someone where you are. Do you think, with your apparently addled brain today, that you can give me a landmark and then I can find you?”
“Oh, yea, I’ll do that.”
For some strange reason , Katey was so vague I thought she must have been out “to lunch” and had not found her way back. I continued to hold my cell phone and finally she began to speak.
“Oh we’re here at the Salvation Army where we usually eat breakfast and supper.”
“Well Katey that makes sense. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”
“Oh, I never thought about that. I didn’t’ think you’d know the location.”
Salvation Army. Why oh why, did Katey not say that in the first place? This young woman is extremely smart but sometimes common sense is not her forte. The best groomer I’ve seen who can handle just about any cat or dog and never get a scratch.
I drove down town and across the tracks to Salvation Army. As I pulled up to the curb, a skinny, scrawny, mangy, whitish dog ran to the truck and sat down on the curb. Katey and Merlin were standing under an awning and then walked to the truck as the dog continued sitting and looking forlorn and in apparent anticipation. There was still a light rain. And, the dog was wet and she looked more beige than white. And she was not a small dog. In fact the dog was almost as tall as my big lab. Muddy.
“Okay Katey. where did the dog come from and why is it sitting by the truck? Did you tell it that I am the taxi service for humans as well as canines?”
“I’m sorry Yvonne, I don’t think she belongs to anybody and those guys over there said she sometimes follows homeless people around to get fed a meal here. A bunch of people got in a car and the dog is still here. Nobody claims her. I already asked.”
“Oh, that’s great. A homeless dog with mange and soulful eyes to boot, at a homeless shelter for the poor and downtrodden. What a dilemma. Should I leave her here and maybe she’d get run over? I can tell she’s young with very little fur.Maybe about 7-8 months old-just a wild guess.
“Ok Katey, you and Merlin put her in the back seat of the truck. I sure hope she does not throw up. I’ll bet she’s never ridden in a vehicle before.”
Half way to Merlin’s parent’s house there was a big heave and up came turkey, carrots, gravy and, mashed potatoes. The rest of the ride was disgusting but we made it to Merlin’s house and then Katey. and I drove to my house. By the time we made it to my house the rain had stopped.I found an old collar that had belonged to Molly, one of my labs and attached a leash to the collar. We tied her to the back chain link fence. Then we got buckets, Dawn dish detergent and two rolls of paper towels. We both went to work to clean up the sticky, smelly mess from the floor board of my truck. It appeared that she had only been eating human food and it was greasy and disgusting.
We finished cleaning and then it was time to tackle the dog. I had warmed Katey. before hand that she would need to help me with the dog. First order was a bath with as much water on two humans as there was on the errant canine. She jumped and bucked around for a bit but then finally gave in after realizing she was feeling better. Pink skin and some sores showed through sparse hair which had thinned from what appeared to be sarcoptic mange.
Katey. and I toweled her dry and stood in awe of the big dog. She was actually white with a patch of black on one hip and symmetrical markings of black on her head and ears. I also noticed that she had dew claws which meant she was Great Pyrenees mixed with something but at the time I had no idea what kind of mix. Big Dog had short coarse fur and I figured that she was not going to be a long haired fluffy dog- even after her fur would hopefully grow back.
Katey and I had a short discussion about what to do for fleas and mange and we concluded that an application of Revolution that I had on hand, would take care of the fleas and the sarcoptic mange. I decided that all she needed was a bowl of water and then we put her in a large wire cage that I had bought months earlier from Attwoods, a farm and feed store.
Big Dog was not immediately happy in the crate but soon settled down on a bed of clean coastal Bermuda hay. She whined for a bit but soon went to sleep. It was probably the best sleep in her life thus far. Katey. and I stood outside the welding shop where we had placed the cage. I looked at Katey. and said, “you know, I try to give my animals a name that fits them. I think I’ll call her Sally, for Salvation Army.
Note: There is more to the story – much more. I still have Sally and she is a pretty dog, very smart and very head strong. I hope to finish her story at some point. It’s educational because it involves a disease that almost killed Sally. I think a lot can be learned from her symptoms, emergency treatment and the meds that saved her life.
Post and photographs property of Yvonne Daniel
Reblog with permission.