The paper attached to the gate of her boarding kennel read: “Lucky Girl, Pointer. DFW Rescue Me.” I peered through the chain-link for a first glance at this “lucky,” young, rescued dog.
With her head hung low to the ground, her entire body cowered against the corner. The poor girl’s emaciated frame shook, and she tucked her tail so far between her legs that it was practically touching her chin. The volunteer with me asked, “Do you think she is going to be okay?”
I carried Lucky in my arms to a quiet grassy area away from the other dogs. After placing her on the sod, we watched as she trembled like a new foal trying to find solid footing. Even with her tail still folded firmly between her hind quarters, it was obvious this unfortunate beauty was a puppy machine in her less fortunate yesteryear.
My heart broke in half when she made eye contact and hesitantly bumped me with her snout. How could she want to be my friend after all the terrible neglect humans have shown her?
It seemed unfair that this was probably the best day Lucky had ever known.
After a while, our girl was able to muster the courage to explore the play yard. She returned, tentatively, to observe what we were doing every minute or so — each time drawing closer, each time ducking in panic when we encouraged her to come nearer. Eventually, bravery triumphed, and she let us cradle her with hugs while she gave us small kisses.
With the dimming sunlight, we returned Lucky to her kennel area. I pushed a rawhide bone — leftover from our last foster dog’s Christmas stocking — through the chain-link and promised we’d be back. It was tough leaving that day, but seeing the look on Lucky’s face when she accepted the bone made it slightly easier.
Looking at the clock later in the evening, I thought about how it’d been a few hours since we last secured Lucky in her temporary home. I hoped she wasn’t scared, but I knew she probably was, and that ate away at my gut all evening. I couldn’t shake the thought of her cowering in that corner all alone…with other dogs around her barking…everybody confused. I hated the whole thing.
Incredibly, the next day Lucky was doing figure eights and galloping around the playground equipment like a puppy. She wanted to be friends with the other dogs for sure and fence-raced Merry Belle, a young pit mix, for about an hour. We sat on the grass and watched most of the sunset again, and I stared at her sweet face, truly happy for her.
My volunteer partner gave her treats as we coaxed her into walking on a leash back to the kennel. I didn’t like leaving Lucky. Again.
The next morning I arrived to check on my new favorite friend at the boarding facility. She was on a leash, making her way slowly along the sidewalk when I saw her. She wagged her tail when she realized I was there. Made my heart wag.
Lucky, a true lady even in the midst of her terrible misfortune, had hit the jackpot. She was leaving to live with a group of other rescued Pointers in a home with plenty of space to run and play in Illinois. The cruel people who left her to breed and suffer were now outweighed by the amount of new people who wanted to make sure she got to watch a lot more of those sunsets she seemed to enjoy. She waited in the transport car while I fished around my truck for extra rawhides for her trip.
I handed her a bone and said goodbye, traded information with the volunteer, and walked away.
Partially down the sidewalk, I turned around to get a last glimpse of Lucky through the car’s window. Our time together was short, but she impacted my life — grandly.
The driver rolled down the window and shouted, “It’s hard. I know, but she’s going to be okay now.” I waved, headed down the path in the opposite direction, trying not to cry.
I called her new “Dad” in Illinois as I sat in the empty play yard overlooking the hills. I wanted him to know all about how Lucky is an all-star, rock star, first class lady and to thank him for taking care of my gal pal.
Today she’ll arrive Home. She’s going to be okay.