Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Not a Happy Post...

A few days ago Bill & I had just had breakfast and we heard a different noise outside.  Just outside our gate a dog was snuffling around, trying to figure out how to get to the other side.   He figured it out and happily introduced himself.

I was happy to see that he was wearing a collar ....  good...  he belongs to someone and they'll be looking for him.

Upon closer inspection I see that there are no tags on his collar...  no identification at all.  He's just a pup...  a big, friendly, half-grown dog who must have wandered away from home.... probably chased a rabbit or something and got lost.

But the thing is, we're located over a mile from the closest house.  About the only traffic on this road is trucks...  lots and lots of big trucks!  Oil rigs, tankers, sand trucks, chemicals!  All driving much faster than the 55 mph limit.  A dog wouldn't stand a chance out there.

We give Dog a pan of water... There is a house about a quarter of a mile down from us, but it doesn't appear to have anyone living there.  I get in the car and drive the mile or so up the road to the ranch on the corner.  The gate is shut and locked...  but there's a sign with a phone number to call in emergency.  Back home I call that number...  it's the caretaker of that ranch.  He'll check to see if a dog of this description belongs there.

From the conversation I don't expect to hear from him again.  But about an hour later a truck pulls up to our gate... and it's Carlos, the caretaker.  I'm overjoyed... just sure that Dog is going back home.  But Carlos has only come to tell us that the dog doesn't belong to his ranch.  He tells us that there are some men working on the land that adjoins our site and he'll stop and see if the dog is theirs. 

The day goes on...  we never do hear back from either Carlo or the men.

Our security company boss stops by in the afternoon.  The dog is happy to see him.  I ask Rick what he'd suggest we do.  He only says "Don't feed him".  He comments that he's a Mexican dog....  of course I have to ask why he'd say that and he answers because he hasn't been neutered.  I'm in no position to make any judgment here, but I thought maybe Dog was just too young.  Rick has no other ideas about our predicament.  But we both know that an oilfield gate is no place for a dog.

Dog is  a happy guy...  he watches our every move, probably hoping for a hand-out.  He takes naps in the shade under our motorhome.  I pick a tick off him.  He comes over and lays down by our feet if we're sitting outside.  A pylon fell off a passing truck and I go out in the road and pick it up.  I put it alongside our entrance thinking someone will stop and pick it up.  Dog wakes from a nap and sees that pylon.  The hair stands up on his back and he starts growling  and posturing.  This cracks me and Bill up...  now we have a big scary watchdog to protect us. 

We don't feed him...  I feel guilty when we have lunch...  and even guiltier when we have dinner in the evening.  I ease my conscience some by the fact that we don't have any meat in the rig since we eat mostly vegetables.  I don't think he'd like a salad.  Dog isn't giving any indication that he'll be heading out.

I peek out several times during the night...  he's curled up asleep on our mat.
The next morning he welcomes me with happy looks and greetings.  I know he hasn't eaten in the last 24 hours, but know that I don't want to encourage him to stay.  Bill goes to the post office to pick up our mail.  He comes back with a phone number - the postal lady gave him the City Hall number to call. 

He also comes back with a bag of McDonald's sausage, egg and cheese biscuits.  Dog has breakfast.

I get on the phone...  I call City Hall.  Now... Asherton is a very small town, and we're located about 5 miles out of the city limits.  I suppose it's incorporated... doesn't matter...  they tell me they can't do anything about a dog outside of the city limits, also, they don't have an animal control office.  They give me the number of the County office.  I call that number...  well, they tell me they don't have an animal control center.  I ask if maybe Carrizo Springs can help...  well, no...  yes, they are in the county... but there is no animal control office.  Okay...  what do I do?  They suggest I call the sheriff office.  It goes like this..  Well, ma'am...  we don't have an animal control office in this county.  I'll give you the number of the Asherton City Hall.  I explain that I've already gone down that path...   After we determine that I've pretty much exhausted my options (which there weren't any) I ask what I should do. 

He says I should take the dog into town and drop him off.  (Yes, this is exactly what he said... I asked him to repeat it)

My first thought is ...  he's such a nice dog... so lovable and sweet.  I look at the size of his feet and know he's still got a lot of growing to do.  I think of our lifestyle...  WHAT am I THINKING!  We can't have a dog.  We leave the  country for months at a time...  when we're volunteering at a refuge we're away from our rig for hours.  Our rig is 27' long...  no slide outs...  and on and on and on.  No, keeping him just isn't an option.  We have no way of finding his owner... we are literally miles from anywhere.

So...  we load him in the car.  He doesn't want to get in, but some peanut butter crackers are incentive enough.  I drive him into town...  wondering where to dump him.  Yeah...  dump him....  I feel like a heel...  like a real low-class person.  I think about the folks living on these streets and what the chances are that they'll take in a stray dog. Maybe they know someone who has lost their dog.   I think about this dog...  young, happy and carefree...  about to get left in an unknown place to fend for himself.  I am not happy...  not with myself, not with the city of Asherton, not with the county...  not with the dog's owner (who I have no idea if they're even looking for him)...  in fact, I am just gritting my teeth and want to get this over with.

I stop in a neighborhood that looks promising...  there are about a half dozen dogs playing in a yard.  None are tied up...  it looks like a pretty laid-back neighborhood.  I stop the car - thinking Dog will come bounding out and happily run over to meet those dogs.

I have to drag him out of the back seat....  he sees the dogs and is terrified.  He cowers down and makes himself look small.  They all come running over to greet him...  no growls, no barks...  all happy-like.  I am such a coward... I get in my car and drive away.  I feel like a criminal and hope nobody got my license plate number.  I look in the rear-view mirror...  Dog is surrounded by his new friends...  they're all doing the sniffing and smelling thing. 

I drive away...  broken hearted.  I say a little prayer that he'll be safe and find a home.

That's All For Today...


  1. What a dreadful position to be in! You tried everything you could under very difficult circumstances and still you feel guilty about it. How sad that the poor little guy has to find his own way, but leaving him in the company of dog lovers was a pretty good decision!

  2. Oh boy. I think you did the best you could in those circumstances. Stray animals are always a concern, but easier to manage if there is some sort of "help", such as animal control. We saw our share of strays in Puerto Rico. Couldn't take any of them in of course. Heartbreaking.

  3. oh complete and total bummer! hate stuff like this.. well? you did what you had to do... I can't imagine your being told to dump him! jeeeeeeeezus

    hopefully he'll find a little boy to be pals with ... that's what we'll go with.

  4. What a heart wrencher for you. A neighborhood was the kindest choice.

  5. Ugh! What a frightful decision to have to make. Very hard thing to do. :(

  6. After reading this post, Sharon, it's very obvious that you tried your best and then some to help this dog find his owners or new owners. Hopefully, the dog will be OK, but you should not feel badly even though it is hard not to.

  7. You did te best you could and he will be surrounded by new friends.

  8. Sad time but you did all you could and you should be proud of the type of person you are since you probably did much more than many others would have...

  9. Sounds like he might do okay. There are the type of people that just dump out their pets once they're tired of them. We've had a couple like that show up in our town.

  10. We lived out in the country for thirty years and dealt with this several times. The best dog I ever had was a mutt who came out and found us, but we quickly learned that you can't keep them all. We had a few stray cats show up, and I got exactly the same answer that you did: "Just take it into town and drop it off somewhere". Ugh.

    It sounds like you did the best that you could. Too many loose dogs in South Texas, for sure...


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  12. I'm so sorry you had to go through this with that dog...It's a cryin' shame that people treat animals as carelessly as a worn out piece of property. The way people are so irresponsible as pet owners makes me sick. You did the very best that you could do for him under the circumstances and I can't think of any other choices that you had left.

  13. Awww, Mom, you did the right thing! We had a dog come by a few days ago, too... not neutered, a collar with no tags... and after an hour and a half of him not leaving, and us hoping someone would come by looking for him, I called the town police who took him to the animal control place at our town hall. (We are so lucky to have one, apparently!) I shuddered at the thought of seeing him hit by a car in front of my house because I didn't do anything. The policeman came immediately, chatted with Glenn for awhile about the dogs we all love, loaded him into his car (without handcuffs), away they went!

    By the way, Megan and Jeff's dog Ryder is a Mexican dog... well, technically, he's American, since he was born on American soil. But his Momma, a Golden Retriever, came across the border to have her puppies... so smart! :-) She was taken in by Labs and More, ( rescue agency that has foster families for the dogs who are then adopted out. Voila, Ryder Davies Macfarland!

    You're a great Mom, and from the early days of rescuing Woody the Woodchuck, to trying to do the right thing for a lost dog, you're our animal hero!

  14. Gosh, what a terrible position to be in. I think what you did is probably the best thing for Dog. Someone will add him to their family and he'll be well taken care of. He's a really good looking dog. :)

  15. What else could you do? Either that or the dog wanders around in the middle of nowhere. I think it was a responsible act. Good on ya!

  16. So sorry that you had to endure such a horrible experience.

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