Jenna Black's Blog Experiment

Wherein romance author Jenna Black plunges into the terrifying new territory of blogging . . .


Friday, March 03, 2006

I'm a Dog-Magnet!

Or maybe I should say "we" are, since all my dog-attracting abilities seem to have started after I got married.

The first incident happened about five years ago. I was sipping coffee in my living room on a damp, gray Sunday morning. I looked out at our deck, and saw an emaciated Dalmatian eating the bird seed that had spilled from our bird feeder. I immediately went to the sliding glass door that separated our living room from the deck to see if I could help the poor thing. But the moment I opened the door, she bolted in terror.

Dan and I were already dog lovers, and we couldn't leave this dog in distress. So we got dressed and started hunting the neighborhood for her. She'd disappeared like a ghost. Eventually, we had to give up, though we hated to leave her to her fate.

About an hour or so later, I looked up once more, and there she was--on the deck, eating bird seed. Now that I knew she was skittish, I took a different approach. There was a stairway that led up to the deck from a different side. I could actually get out that door without her seeing me, and thereby block her escape.

When she saw me, she gave a yelp of pure terror, and my heart ached for her. She pushed herself into a corner and shivered, looking absolutely pitiful. I cooed at her while Dan fashioned a make-shift gate to keep her on the deck. I then wooed her with dog food, which was definitely the way to her heart.

When she got over that first terror, she was the sweetest dog in the world, and absolutely beautiful, despite her condition. She was wearing a collar, but no tags. Despite the fact that she was at least ten pounds under weight, the collar was on so tightly it was digging into her skin. Dan and I determined that we would take care of her until we could find her a good home--we had no desire to try to find her original family. Not only was her collar on brutally tight, she wasn't spayed, had obviously had at least one litter, and cringed whenever we raised a hand. Also, a trip to the vet showed she had heartworm.

I could tell that Dan loved her at first sight and wanted to keep her, but Dalmatians have a terrible reputation as house dogs, and we didn't have a fenced yard. Also, I didn't know how she'd get along with my Pomeranian.

To make a long story short, she found a good home. With us. She is the anti-Dalmatian--a total couch potato, when they're supposed to be high strung and energetic. She's perfect for us and we love her to death.

Fast forward to last summer. We were in a new house now. My Pom had died of old age, so now Cha-Cha was an only child. And one rainy, chilly spring day, Dan and I looked out our window and saw a beagle wandering around our yard. While he didn't look to be starving, he looked very dispirited and had a bit of a limp. We spent all morning trying to catch him, but though he clearly wanted to come to us, he was far too afraid. We tried to lure him into our garage with food, but he stopped as soon as he got to the threshhold and refused to cross. We had to settle for giving him food and water and hoping he'd be OK.

Days went by, and he was still hanging around the neighborhood. He'd disappear for hours at a time, but he kept coming back. And we kept feeding him, as did our neighbors across the street. Finally, he reluctantly allowed us to touch him, and we brought him in. We were afraid to take him to an animal shelter, because he was so scared of everyone that we were worried he wouldn't find a home and they would destroy him. But we were determined to find him a good home. (He had no collar, no tags, and no microchip, and though we reported him found everywhere we could think of, no one called to claim him.)

I'm sure you can guess where he ended up! There's nothing quite so moving as big, sad hound-dog eyes. He's a damaged little soul, still very shy around people, very reluctant to be touched, but he's getting better, slowly.

So, imagine our sense of deja-vu last night when we looked out our window right around dusk and saw a yellow lab wandering around our neighborhood, looking lost. We knew all the neighborhood dogs, and he wasn't one of them. Being who we are, we couldn't just ignore him, so we went outside to see if we could catch up with him. He came to us eagerly, all sweet lab personality, happy to see us. He was wearing a collar, but we didn't see any tags. I had visions of stray dog rescue # 3, and was thinking "oh no, not again!" I love dogs, but two is enough.

He followed us into our garage, and we looked more closely at his collar. To our relief, we found there was a tag riveted to the collar. Barely readable, but we were able to make out a phone number and contact his folks. So, this once, there's no new addition to our family. But I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to be a continuing pattern.

Is it really unusual for this to happen to the same people three times? Or is it just that we're willing to go out and try to catch the stray, where other people don't? Either way, it's made us feel good about ourselves, both for the two dogs we've taken in and loved, and for the dog we reunited with his family.


At 11:18 AM, Blogger Lady M said...


I thought it was just me.

One summer, my husband and I went out for a midnight smoke on our porch.

All of a sudden... the ugliest creature came scrambling up our stairs and into our house before we could think to even shut the door.

He ran through our house, up and down the stairs at warp speed. We couldn't even see what color he was. We went into the livingroom and sat down, looking in disbelief at each other while this "thing" stormed through our house, faster than a speeding bullet.

Finally he settled when I put down a bowl of water. And he looked like a Jack Russel Terrier head on top of a beagle's body.

He was probably the ugliest thing I'd ever seen and he stole our hearts!

He jumped up on our laps and was rambunctious and silly and so full of vibrant personality. Finally, we decided that he'd let us pet him and unfortunately he had an owner.

All the way on the other side of town! And they were frantic to find him!

So we gave them directions and they came and got the creature.

His name was Taz. (As fast as he was running through our house in search of hidden treasures, I'm sure the name was very fitting.)

We waved goodbye and sighed.

Not more than 5 months later, Taz came back by - ripping through our house again.

We were shocked - the dog had come over several miles just to visit us!

This time we called the owners promptly and advised them where he was. They too, were in awe of this little dog.

He hasn't come by again...

But every once in awhile, when we're out on the porch - we'll look at each other and wonder how the heck that damn dog is doing.


Thanks for letting me share my memories with you.

Lady M

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Jenna Black said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story! I can just picture that creature running around your house. And it sounds like Taz is just the right name for him.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Sonja said...

Aw, dogs with wanderlust. That's how we got our first dog (now passed away). When she was young, we were so afraid she'd run away and someone ELSE would have a new adopted dog!


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