The Hellhole

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pictures of Lily

Last evening during our commute, we were almost at my house when we passed a stray dog standing in the middle of the other lane. The poor thing was so emaciated that you could clearly see ribs even from a moving vehicle and it looked rather dazed, a bit "out of it". My ride-share buddy Anne and I were nearly in tears. What could we do? Once we got home, only a few yards from the dog, I grabbed a bag of kibble off the shelf in my garage and we walked toward the dog, hoping to at least get some nourishment into the poor thing. Anne whistled, I called, we coaxed; the dog approached hesitantly for a little distance but didn't seem to want to get closer. I walked to the edge of my yard and poured out some kibble, then backed away, hoping the lure of food would win over the fear of humans.

The dog came a step or two closer but no more, standing in a curve in the middle of the road. Then a woman in a white SUV came flying down the road. I cringed and turned away, knowing what was about to happen and powerless to stop it. A squeal of brakes! Sancta Maria Mater Dei, she managed to stop in time. But then the evil skank laid down on her horn, scaring the poor animal senseless and it went running away. Thanks a lot, [word so bad I redacted it].

Anne and I got into her car and headed down the street, hoping we might coax the dog into the car or at least pour out some kibble closer to it. Finally we saw it on this unused turn lane - there are two turn lanes and some partial streets, where construction companies did some paving in preparation for building a subdivision, but then the economy tanked so the subdivision never happened. The dog was easing over from our side of the street to the turn lane on the other side. Cars kept barreling down the road, nearly hitting it and scaring it more. It's not a majorly busy street but this was bad timing, everyone arriving home from work. Some people gave pitying looks when they stopped but no one did anything. At a break in traffic, Anne drove over to the partial street. I got out and poured out some kibble. The dog looked at us but turned around and trotted off into the woods. We called and whistled but finally left, hoping it would at least find the food once we weren't around posing a threat.

After Anne dropped me home, I started thinking that the dog was probably thirsty too, so I grabbed a Tupperware and some bottled water to take back to where I'd left the food. Alan said he'd go too, and after I set out the water he drove as far as he could up and down the non-subdivision street looking for it until the construction debris got too thick for him to proceed. We walked around calling and he jingled his keys- he'd had a dog that would come running at a key jingle. Nothing. We drove up and down the main road searching, but saw nothing. I was in tears by this point - that poor doggy. Alan tried to reassure me, saying I'd done all I could - since the dog was that skittish, how could I hope to get a leash on it? - but I was still upset.

I kept saying things such as, "It'll smell the food, right? It'll have to, dogs have great senses of'll find the nuggets, right? It'll come get the food once we're gone, won't it?"

Alan reassured me repeatedly and finally said (prophetically, it turns out), "Honey, that dog can not only smell the food, it can probably walk up and down the street and tell what house we and the food came from."

I was still upset but could think of nothing more to do so I went home, fixed dinner and we ate. I kept thinking about that poor dog out there, lost and hungry and scared. Alan finished eating and was putting his plate into the dishwasher when a mighty ruckus arose from our next-door neighbor's pack of Chinese Cresteds. He was right in front of the window and saw they were barking at our house. He went into the garage to see what they were on about and right there, just outside our garage door (in front of the giant camellia bush if you've been to my house) sat the dog.

Alan yelled for me and opened the garage door. This frightened the dog but it didn't run far, about halfway down the driveway. I snatched the bag of dog food and dumped some out right on the driveway. We stood quietly and eventually, the dog approached and ate some food. While it was distracted with that, I went back in for a couple more plastic bowls and fixed it some proper food and water.

It took about half an hour, forty-five minutes, but eventually we coaxed her inside our garage, having got a close enough look to determine that she was female. We gave lots of praise and many Pupperonis. She had some training at some point because with one Pupperoni, I held it up and said, "Sit!" and that little butt hit the ground! Somebody loved her once - how could they abandon her? HOW? So anyway when we got her lured further into the garage, we looped a spare leash around her neck and I held on while Alan let the door down. We thought about leaving her outside with food and water, thinking she'd probably stay where the noms were, but I was so worried about her being hit by a car.

The noise bothered her more than being shut inside; once the door was down she calmed and didn't try to escape or claw at the door. I would have gladly brought her inside and not left her in the garage, but our house is not set up in such a way that I could keep her separate from the other pets and not knowing what she might be carrying, when or if she'd last had her shots - I couldn't risk it. I took a toy out to her and an old comforter, which I folded and piled up to make a soft, comfy doggy bed.

She was skittish, but not fearful. When she decided it was okay to get close to us, she had no problem with us touching and petting her. She is very loving and sweet-natured. Weak as she was, that tail would not stop wagging as we gave pets and praise and noms. She will make a wonderful pet for someone, which would absolutely be us if we only had a fenced yard. She drank copious amounts of water and I believe dehydration made her look even more emaciated because she started looking better almost immediately. One day later, her ribs are not nearly so prominent.

She has a lovely brindle coat with what looks like tiger stripes, so that's what we were calling her, "Tiger Stripes". But I phoned some people, among them my BFF Cheryl, to get started putting the word out that a homeless doggy needed a forever home, and she christened our foundling "Tiger Lily" - currently shortened to just Lily. "Good girl, Lily!" - it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

This morning I phoned our vet's office. I told the assistant who answered the phone the basics of the story and asked if they could recommend a mobile vet who'd come to the house. I explained that while I could bring her in Friday (I'm off work) I really felt she'd been through enough trauma without being leashed, stuffed into a car and taken to a new, scary place full of strange, scary animals. The assistant said she didn't know but she'd talk to Dr. Smith and call me back.

Y'all, my TOTALLY AWESOME and COMPLETELY WONDERFUL vet said he'd be out between noon and two. Dr. Michael W. Smith of Evans Mill Animal Hospital: so full of epic win I can't even describe it.

No microchip, not surprisingly. Lily has now had all her shots, she's good for a year. Dr. Smith took blood and fecal samples back to the office to test for heartworms and intestinal parasites, heartworm being the scariest. The assistant had tried to warn me about this and prepare me for the worst, if the heartworms were invasive and the dog wasn't healthy enough to withstand surgery. I got a call around 2:10 PM - heartworm: NEGATIVE, intestinal worms: NEGATIVE.

As devastated as I was not to find her eating the food I'd set out when we returned to leave the water, that's how ecstatic I was this afternoon. But wait there's more. Can you believe it gets even better?

Lily already has a forever home! One of Anne's co-workers wants her and they're planning to pick her up tomorrow so they can have time to bond over the holiday weekend. They're going to pick her up with her new lavender collar, matching lavender leash, giant chewbone, rope toy, tennis ball and bag of 'easy digestive' dog food. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a pretty face.


  • They might not have abandoned her. She might have just gotten lost. I lost a dog once. She was wonderful. I hope someone like you found her. I sure couldn't.

    By Anonymous Lachele, at 10:32 PM  

  • You're right, Lachele - maybe it was just an unfortunate circumstance, though I've seen no 'lost pet' notices. I tend to think the worst of people, which I shouldn't, but it's just that they so often prove me right. The most important thing is that she's healthy and happy and safe, and going to a great home - that's what I'd want if one of my pets escaped or got lost. Lily's really quite a great dog.

    By Blogger Helly, at 10:56 PM  

  • Its soooo nice when everything works out!
    We adopted a street dog when I was younger because she kept coming by the house every night, so we started feeding her. She was the most charismatic and loyal dog ever!

    By Anonymous Inna, at 7:58 AM  

  • That's so heartwarming that it ended well. I'm so glad Lily found a happy home. All animals deserve it.

    I'm getting a puppy myself! A mini Australian Shepherd. June I've marked as the month I return to blogging.

    By Blogger A Margarita, at 8:28 AM  

  • What a wonderful story, Helly. I'm sure you and Alan got some karma points for that. I hope you guys can cash them in next time you go on vacation so nothing breaks.

    -Sandy (lost some points for getting a frog stuck in the pool pump intake pipe)

    By Blogger Sandra, at 8:58 AM  

  • She's beautiful, Helly. I'm so glad that you're the one who found her.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:30 AM  

  • Thanks everyone. I'll post more pictures later - you wouldn't believe how much better she looks after only a day and a half!

    Sandy: what if that wasn't a frog frog? What if it was an enchanted prince? Your karma will be ruined for YEARS!!!

    By Blogger Helly, at 3:56 PM  

  • What a fantastic story! You and Alan have certainly earned major karma points!! I am so glad to hear Lily's tale & know that she has a new forever home. Can't wait to see the follow-up pics.

    Lisa and Kevin

    By Blogger DrL/K, at 3:55 PM  

  • What a great story! I think you guys are heroes. :-) I looked at the Athens adopt-a-dog site tonight and most of the dogs were identified as pit bull mixes, esp boxer/pit - lots of them had brindle coats looked like they could have been Lily's siblings. I wonder why! I'm glad Lily's story had such a happy ending.

    By Blogger Nancy, at 8:45 PM  

  • This is full of win. You win teh internets, fo' life.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:16 PM  

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