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A new home for Little Dog

A stray Pekingese dubbed "Little Dog" has captured the hearts of an entire neighborhood in east Medford and found himself a new home.

Little Dog set up camp in October in the Sky Lakes Village neighborhood near Cedar Links. He appeared to be looking for companionship and possibly a few scraps of food, but wasn't sure how to ask for either.

The tiny brown and white canine camped out in a handful of vacant lots and side yards. He'd hang out, waiting for neighbors to walk their own dogs, and then tag along. But it took awhile for him warm up to the notion of being treated like a pet.

One by one, neighbors, worried about wind and freezing temperatures, started leaving water bowls out, making available dry spaces and trying to befriend the little dog.

For months, though, Little Dog eluded attempts to catch him by neighbors and even county animal control officers. When he finally connected, it was with three canine friends — a great Dane puppy named Achilles and toy poodles Tino and Bo — owned by resident Valerie Weber.

Weber said she noticed Little Dog's schedule seemed to be coinciding more and more with her dog walks.

"He was pretty wild," she recalled. "The first time I approached him, I never expected him to run but he wasn't letting anyone get near him. He was a little dog so you would expect him to be kind of like ... someone's pet. A house dog."

Weber said she named him Little Dog to help avoid "getting too attached."

"I finally figured I'm just not going to approach him. I just ignored him. The next thing I know he's hanging around waiting for us to come out every day to walk. As long as I ignored him, he would follow us right along for our walks."

Little Dog eventually accepted food offerings, began sniffing Weber's hand and, finally, allowed her to gently pet his head. He learned Weber's work schedule and enthusiastically ran out to greet her when she came home from work.

Little Dog relocated his camping spot, which sometimes included a stray cat for company, to Weber's front porch.

Neighborhood Watch coordinator Eleanor Hammond said the pooch has given the neighborhood a fun focus for the holidays.

"He's such a lovely little dog. He was really adopted by this whole neighborhood," Hammond said.

"We were quite worried about him in the cold and rain, so everybody who lives around here has been trying to help care for him. We're really pleased that he decided to trust Valerie and let her care for him."

Weber put careful thought into a Christmas gift for her newfound friend. 

"We already have three dogs and it didn't work to try and bring him inside. He doesn't seem to want to be alone and we have a full house right now, but I have a friend with a little Maltese and a big backyard who really likes him and wants to adopt him," Weber said.

Little Dog was taken to his new home last Saturday.

"We hope this is going to be his happy ending and it will be a really good place for him. He really deserves to have a place to call home."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Valerie Weber shares a moment with Little Dog, a stray Pekingese who won over the hearts of an east Medford nieghborhood. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch