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Lost pooch connects a neighborhood

“Connections” is the title of an insightful, photo-relational book by my friend and professional photographer Christopher Briscoe.

I wrote a column about him recently. Through images and text, he distills the essence of the people he meets through travel and perceived happenstance. He shares his gift of getting acquainted, layer by layer, thereby earning trust and respectfully revealing their story. He is a great example. Recently, some connections came my way.

I saw her in the middle of the street — a pit bull terrier. I turned to wait until she’d gone. We all know how dangerous “they” are. She looked interested, like she was asking herself if she knew me. I forgot about her until I saw she’d moved to rest her haunches in my yard. I pointed from a safe distance and ordered her to “go home,” wrongly assuming she lived across the street. She tucked her tail and slunk off. She had a beaten down, year 2020 look about her. She was no threat. I felt the lout.

For a few days, this sad pup lounged around my neighbor’s yard, not returning to mine. They were out of town, and she could remain aloof with plenty of scope in case she needed to run. I tried finding her family — posting info on the Facebook Pet Finder for Southern Oregon page. I visited Ryan, the guy behind me, thinking she might be his. Ryan’s a nice man who reminds me so incredibly of my nephew they could be twins. They even talk alike. I learned he manages a nice hotel somewhere in South American. He and his gal, Rebecca, had rescued a dog of their own, but this girl was not theirs.

I’d moved from judging and fearing to worrying. I wasn’t alone. One afternoon a tall, athletic-looking teenager named Maddie knocked on my door, leash in hand. A neighbor up the road, she wanted to come on my property to attempt a roundup. She has dogs, and she feels compassion for the lost ones as well.

Maddie left food by the mailboxes, and I donated two cans of tuna. She couldn’t get near our frightened girl either, but it felt good knowing such a kind and personable young person lived nearby.

I followed advice from online pet-finding groups and called various official numbers, but they couldn’t help on a weekend. Five numbers and most of a fretful weekend later, the dog remained homeless. She had water and a variety of food. Her next course from the pantry was a tin of sardines and some uneaten pate cat food, at which she did not turn up her muzzle. I was about to run to Ray’s for dog food, as I doubted Oliver would approve of me donating his rations.

Then another connection appeared as Dave. He lives on the other side of my neighbor next door. I noticed the dog heading his way and saw his gate open. “Is that your dog that’s been around?” I asked, hopeful. “No, but I’ve been feeding her,” he said. “I’ve gotten within six or seven feet.”

I was impressed, both with Dave’s finesse and the foundling dog’s capacity. Dave also has dogs and said he’d be happy to take this one, as we suspected she’d been ill-treated and deserved better. But Dave was slated for outpatient surgery and might not feel up to further efforts for a time.

Monday, my neighbors returned to find two empty tuna cans and a fork on their back porch, a large water dish, plastic bowl of goldfish crackers we figured Joseph and Honor, the neighbor kids, had left, and a bowl full of Milk Bone dog biscuits. That night, our forlorn but sated girl made connections of her own, running with a heeler and another large nondescript canine. By sunrise, the drama had ended. They were gone. We players returned to our lives, but for a few days, we found camaraderie and purpose in helping the unfortunate. Wonder how Dave’s surgery went.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.